Singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Sue Menhart was born in St. Louis, Missouri but now calls Connecticut her home. A charismatic live performer, she stages 70 shows a year throughout Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New York.
The band recently opened for Jim Weider's Project Percolator Tour and James Montgomery.
Horn players are former members of, or have toured with - Roomful of Blues, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Etta James, Johnny and the East Coast Rockers, Mystic Horns, and Hope Road.
Sue independently released the album “Torn” in 2008, the EP “Gypsy Soul” in 2009, and the solo R&B EP "Forever" with producer and guitar player Ron Zabrocki in June 2011. The band also appears on the Good Sponge Records compilation CDs volumes I and II. Sue has drawn comparisons to Bonnie Raitt, Susan Tedeschi, Janis Joplin, Lucinda Williams, Diana Krall and Adele.
One key element that I picked up on while listening to this 4-song set was Menhart’s powerful vocals. Menhart sings in a very gruff-style manner that gives her vocal performance a rough/rugged edge. With all that harshness backed behind her pipes, she also digs deep and finds her soulful spirit. The connection between Sue’s rocker side and emotive side has significant relevance here." - Skope Magazine
"All-original, get-off-your-barstool-and-boogie blues-and-soul from one of Connecticut ’s finest female vocalists and her amazing 'million man' band." - New Haven Register
"Today, she has a worldwide fan base and a curriculum vitae that includes two solid albums of her own material, live television and radio appearances and clubs that ask her to come back and play repeatedly." - Indie-Music.com
"One of New England 's finest practitioner's of blues-rock." - The Day
“Menhart has an increasingly high profile, with a reputation for impassioned tunes and a cyclonic voice that summon echoes of Susan Tedeschi, Janis Joplin and Lucinda Williams.” - The Day
"Torn, her debut, is a collection of big-throated blues-rock songs with shades of the Fabulous Thunderbirds.” – Hartford Courant
"Sue Menhart Band nominated in People's Choice category for Best Blues Band in 4th Annual New London Whalie Awards" - Wailingcity.com
Sue Menhart nominated for five 2012 New London Whalie Awards including Record of the Year (Forever), Best Blues Song (18 Again), Best Solo Singer-Songwriter Song (You Can't Tame Me), Best Americana Album of the Year (Good Sponge CD Sampler), and Best Blues / Country Rock Band - Wailingcity.com
Don Bergeron - Lead Guitar
Kevin Clark - Drums
Dave Foret - Bass
Tommy Mahfood - Sax
Dan Spano - keys
Rob Funk - Trombone
Danny Motta - Trumpet
Sue Menhart - Vocals, Guitar
Good Sponge Records Compilation CD, "Vol II", 2013
Good Sponge Records Compilation CD, "Vol. I", 2012
EP "Forever", 2011, Good Sponge Records
EP "Gypsy Soul", 2009, Independent
LP "Torn", 2008, Independent
One of the absolute best tunes on the whole collection is "One Day in New York" by the Sue Menhart Band
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One of the absolute best tunes on the whole collection is "One Day in New York" by the Sue Menhart B...One of the absolute best tunes on the whole collection is "One Day in New York" by the Sue Menhart Band. What a clever collision of styles: a breezy travelogue that would be welcome in disparate catalogs ranging from Irma Thomas to Babs Streisand.
Sue Menhart Band triumphant in the Best Americana Performance category
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New London - At 4 p.m. Saturday, whilst holiday weekenders, early diners and street denizens meander...New London - At 4 p.m. Saturday, whilst holiday weekenders, early diners and street denizens meandered through downtown New London, Rich Martin and Sean Murray unloaded a spooled length of carpet from a truck. It could have been two college dudes moving into an apartment.
But the carpet was Hollywood red and Murray and Martin are arguably the two main batteries of the local music scene, so when they unrolled the narrow rug, fashioning a path from Bank Street all the way to the stage in the friendly confines of the Hygienic Art Park, it was a very cool symbol of an event whose time had come.
Two hours later, praying that a modest rainstorm would abate, the finest and most popular musicians in this area trod the dampening carpet in a processional. The first annual Whalies, an admittedly self-congratulatory but well-deserved and crazy-fun awards show honoring a long-fertile scene renowned from Boston to New York City, was under way.
"The last we heard was there was an 80 percent chance of heavy rain at 8 p.m. - for 15 minutes. We're on a pretty tight schedule, but we can deal with that," Martin said.
As it was, the showers turned the preliminaries into an umbrella'd cocktail party as organizers delayed the start. Being an awards ceremony celebrating music, the sartorial mix was what you'd expect when quasi-ironic hipsters decide to mix formality with thrift-store lunacy.
Matt Gouette, a multi-nominee who won Song of the Year and Best Solo Artist, pranced the carpet in parody, wearing what appeared to be Kevin Barnes' clothes from an Of Montreal yard sale.
Meanwhile, the Sue Menhart Band, triumphant in the Best Americana Performance category, arrived in a stretch white limo. They were just behind drummer Bobby Crash of the Lo-Fi RadioStars, who emerged from the sort of Lincoln that Kennedy was shot in. Except there was a roof.
A terrific and poignant moment marked the start of the show when Gone for Good, performing for the first time since drummer Joshe Lecce died in a car accident a year ago, took the stage. Joined by an all-star horn section, the band was an inspired choice and performed wonderfully.
As the show got going, in the crowd, more than one artist acknowledged the Whalies had a bit of a self-congratulatory atmosphere - who, exactly, wasn't nominated? - but, actually, that's OK. And they all knew it was OK.
In the more than a year it's taken for Murray and Martin and the musical community to put this all together, the crossover of the original indie-rock scene with the mostly separate Americana bands - not to mention the infusion of burgeoning hip-hop, punk and metal niches - has been inspired and gratifying to see.
So by the time the rain stopped and the twilight sky took on the tone of shredded lilacs, the Whalies were rolling. I suspect even those artists who, on the surface, considered the event a sort of modestly goofy parody might have been astonished at how justifiably proud they felt at what an amazing scene and community they are part of.
10 bands from the very fertile New London scene to be on the lookout for in 2010
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Sue Menhart Band — All-original, get-off-your-barstool-and-boogie blues-and-soul from one of Connect...Sue Menhart Band — All-original, get-off-your-barstool-and-boogie blues-and-soul from one of Connecticut’s finest female vocalists and her amazing “million man” band. These guys get all sorts of recognition, deservedly so, and are in the running to play at the Lilith Fair locally this summer.
Sue Menhart Band awarded Top 25 for 2010 by Indie-Music.com
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Indie-Music.com's prestigious Top 25 is presented each year in January to honor excellence and achie...Indie-Music.com's prestigious Top 25 is presented each year in January to honor excellence and achievement in independent music. The very best song entries will receive Top 25 Nominations during 3 rounds of competition throughout the year, with Finalist Nominations officially announced in November. Top 25 winners are chosen the old school way - industry professionals on our staff and beyond carefully listen to each song with an ear towards great songwriting and performance. Winners receive premium front page exposure on Indie-Music.com a complete media campaign promoting the winners.
Montville’s Sue Menhart gets discovered
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Indie-ManiaPosted by Interactive Desk on Sep 09 2009, 03:05 PM | Montville’s Sue Menhart gets disc...Indie-ManiaPosted by Interactive Desk on Sep 09 2009, 03:05 PM
| Montville’s Sue Menhart gets discovered |
Suzanne Thompson, Special to the Times:
Montville's blues-singing diva Sue Menhart has hit the big time—in Poughkeepsie. The lead singer of the Sue Menhart Band, recognized for her big-throated blues-rock style and songs about real life, isn’t joking when she says the band’s first live TV performance there could lead to a future spot on the David Letterman show.
The Sue Menhart Band, formed in late 2007, is made up of Sue on vocals and guitar, David Foret on bass, John Jeff on guitar, new addition Bill Quinn on keyboard, and Kevin Clark, Sue’s husband, on drums.
The band performed a handful of songs on “Poughkeepsie Live,” the town’s Time Warner station, on July 23. Hosts of the weekly half-hour music show, which bills itself as a professional forum for musicians in the Hudson Valley and beyond to show their talent, also interviewed Sue.
“It’s very serious, very professional; they had a ton of camera people all over the place, they treat you like stars,” she notes. “They call the show ‘practice for David Letterman’ because that’s how some bands got their start. The band Collective Soul was on Poughkeepsie Live and on David Letterman, and are still going strong today.”
The songs and interview, posted on YouTube, are generating more online sales of Sue’s two albums, “Torn” and “Gypsy Soul,” and drawing new fans to the band’s Web site, which has a growing list of accolades from music critics, reviews, and articles from music media and an ever-expanding schedule of upcoming gigs.
The artist also has been discovered this summer by Indie-Music.com, a Web site, database, directory, news source, and e-magazine that caters to the independent music industry, artists, and listeners.
“Menhart is a wonderful, natural singer, and the band is tight and equally robust,” wrote Dan MacIntosh, Indie-Music reviewer, in June.
Indie-Music also selected Menhart’s band as one of its Choice Cuts for August, followed up by an in-depth interview and feature.
“That was a huge deal, to be their Choice Cut for the month. They choose 12 cuts for each month, but only one gets to be the featured interview,” she explains. “It think that was pure luck—the editors just happened to like our CD, out of all of the thousands they receive.”
An IT professional by day, Menhart also relies on social networking and online outlets to get in touch with fans, talk with them, and let them know where she’s playing next.
“We do a lot of Facebook, MySpace, Twitter,” she says.
It’s been a busy season, with 83 performances, mostly in New England. The band has played at Stash’s Café and Bank Street Café in New London; it’s a regular at Legend’s Rock Bar in Gales Ferry; and has booked three performances at Toad’s Place in New Haven.
“It’s not necessarily playing more,” Menhart says, “but it is being more selective and playing at more strategic places, where you have to be selected to play. We don’t want to over-saturate any one area.”
The band also performed at the Knickerbocker Café in Westerly, R.I., Riverwalk in Mystic, New London’s Sailfest, and Montville’s summer picnic concerts. In June, Sue performed at a strawberry festival and 40th celebration of Woodstock at a church benefit in Woodstock, N.Y.
Menhart, who never goes anywhere without her guitar, has also performed in Georgia.
“I happened to be on vacation there, and they want me to perform again next time I’m down there,” she says.
She has several upcoming solo acoustic gigs, including Riverwalk on Sept. 17 and in the “Sinner’s Circle” at the Bean and Leaf in New London on Oct. 2.
“It’s four songwriters who sit in a circle, and really get down and dirty and do their songs acoustically,” she said. “It will be a lot of fun.”
The band members are all getting their passports in order to do some shows overseas.
“As soon as we figure it out,” she said.
And yes, Menhart, who gets a lot of her inspiration, or angst, from balancing a day job in the corporate world, family, and a passion for the blues, is working on a third album.
“It’s more adventurous and edgier,” she said. “All of the band members are collaborating, writing it together. It’s not going to be like the first two CDs. We’re taking more chances, being riskier with the way it sounds, a bit of shock value. But there’s still going to be songs you can sing to when you’re doing your laundry.”
See upcoming schedule and show times at www.suemenhart.com.
Today, she has a worldwide fan base and a curriculum vitae that includes two solid albums of her own material, live television and radio appearances and clubs that ask her to come back and play repeatedly.
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Sue Menhart has an ample portion of that indie wonderment at her success. A mere three years ago, th...Sue Menhart has an ample portion of that indie wonderment at her success. A mere three years ago, the Connecticut-based singer-guitarist was a computer analyst moonlighting in cover bands. Today, she has a worldwide fan base and a curriculum vitae that includes two solid albums of her own material, live television and radio appearances and clubs that ask her to come back and play repeatedly.
By Barney Quick
"The first order of business when I wanted to take this to the career level was to write a song," she says in that husky, slightly rowdy voice that is the signature of her sound. "Everything else has been a shock to me. I don't understand it, but I'm just gonna roll with it." (She still plies the computer-analyst trade, but now sees herself as mainly a professional blues-rock performer.)
In conversation, she is given to waxing enthusiastic about the rest of the Sue Menhart band. There's drummer Kevin "Octopus" Clark, who doubles as Menhart's husband, and bassist Dave Foret, whom Menhart enlisted based on what he'd been doing around the New London County area since picking up his axe after a twenty-year hiatus. Then there's multi-instrumentalist Bill Quinn. "He's a phenomenal musician," exclaims Menhart. "He also writes his own stuff. He had his own albums in the 1980s. He's brought a whole other level of influences." Menhart particularly likes to tell the story of guitarist John Jeff. "He's one of those guys who sat in his bedroom all his life," she says. "He'd never played professionally. Now he's creating a buzz around here. Other guitarists come to hear him and are blown away."
So the group has become a noteworthy presence in a scene already brimming with fine, active musicians. "New London County has a wonderful network of players who leave for various projects but always come back to the area," she notes. For an upcoming show at Sneakers in Groton, CT, a sax player from Boston will sit in with the band.
The camaraderie among the SMB's members when performing is palpable and is a major aspect of their draw. "We have a blast onstage," says Menhart. "We're always tellin' jokes." She notes that her favorite type of gig is playing outside for bikers. She and her husband are both bikers so they know how to stoke the vibe in that environment.
She does sense that it's time to look at larger venues. "We're getting really loud," she notes.
Fans are becoming familiar enough with her songs that they often sing along at shows. In particular, two anthem-type tunes, "Torn," about the chasm between one's dreams and vision and one's immediate circumstances, and "Coming Home," a tribute to U.S. service men and women, elicit this response. (The band once performed "Coming Home" on the back of a float in a veterans' parade.)
She practices the songwriting craft daily. "People are always giving me ideas," she says. "The song 'If Only' came from a conversation with a woman outside a bar."
Soon after embarking on her songwriting pursuits, she consulted with Eugene Foley of Foley Entertainment in New Jersey. "He taught me a lot about approaching it structurally," she says. "I could write essays up the ying-yang, but at first I didn't know how to write a song." She also credits her master's degree in journalism with teaching her how to "take observations and put them into words."
She credits new-media outlets such as MySpace and Facebook with allowing her to go "automatically global. We have fans in Sweden and Australia, among other places."
So there are two levels of her fan base, in a sense. Among people who come to see her live, "they're very proud to wear the tee shirt with our logo on it," she beams.
While it's obvious from her conversational tone that she is having immense fun with the professional musical life, she confides that "it's not easier now. The more I learn about what it's gonna take, the harder it feels. Also, luck definitely enters into it."
It's as if she still needs some kind of irrefutable convincing that it's all really happening. "People like these songs," she observes, "but in the end, all I have to put into them is me."
The connection between Sue’s rocker side and emotive side has significant relevance here
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This record is so quick and punchy; seems it’s over before it’s even begun! Not necessarily a bad a...This record is so quick and punchy; seems it’s over before it’s even begun! Not necessarily a bad approach for The Sue Menhart Band as they show a quick pace can actually work sometimes. The end result is just a fun/rockin’ EP that can relate to many people as well as offer a healthy outlet.
The SMB is made up of Sue Menhart as the lead singer/songwriter while also throwing in some guitar, her husband, Kevin Clark, on drums, Dave Foret on bass, John Jeff on lead guitar and Bill Quinn on the keys/guitar. These musicians offer up a sound that is rockish yet bluesy with a slice of folky-pop. The concept behind much of the album is to forget about the mundane/humdrum part of life for awhile and to just simply have fun with Gypsy Soul. Even if it is just for a brief & punchy moment, these 9-5 rockers want you to break the monotony of time clocks/time sheets by getting a spoonful of SMB.
One key element that I picked up on while listening to this 4-song set was Menhart’s powerful vocals. Menhart sings in a very gruff-style manner that gives her vocal performance a rough/rugged edge. With all that harshness backed behind her pipes, she also digs deep and finds her soulful spirit. The connection between Sue’s rocker side and emotive side has significant relevance here. The main message of having a good old time meets up with a caring person that wants to pour all these feelings onto you. I totally get it!
One other stand-out quality of this EP was the equally impressive guitar playing skills of John Jeff. Nothing to sneeze at by any means as this guy can really PLAY! The guitar riffs and solos freakin’ rocked my brain and made me understand why I love hearing a good guitar part in a song. Jeff’s guitar grinded together with Menhart’s vocals and the rest of the band, which made for a quick but enjoyable listen.
The recording starts up with the title track, “Gypsy Soul”, where you get the best of both worlds: Jeff rockin’ it out on guitar & Sue bringing that Gruff N’ Tuff style to the microphone. Next up is “Coming Home”, which is an upbeat rock tune written for all the brave soldiers that serve this country every day. “Why You Love Me” features a real snappy beat that is emphatically catchy. The last track, “The Choice”, is the most sentimental song on the album with Menhart giving off a wonderful display of emotion. The song is dedicated to her husband and I must say sang quite beautifully. Sue has such a quiet yet potent vocal delivery that really makes you stop and listen.
For more on The Sue Menhart Band and their new release, Gypsy Soul, SKOPE out www.suemenhart.com.
By Jimmy Rae
Sue Menhart has the blues
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There is something damned encouraging about Sue Menhart calling her new EP “Gypsy Soul.” One of New ...There is something damned encouraging about Sue Menhart calling her new EP “Gypsy Soul.” One of New England's finest practitioner's of blues-rock, Menhart probably realizes that Jimi Hendrix had a tune called “Gypsy Eyes” and Tommy Bolin had a song actually called, yes, “Gypsy Soul.”
(It doesn't matter that Cher had “Gypsies, Tramps & Thieves.” Not applicable. Stay on track.)
Menhart, from Uncasville, is a former student at California's Guitar Institute of Technology who later abandoned a job as a computer systems analyst because she bravely and admirably wanted to explore music for its own artistic sake. Now, with “Gypsy Soul” serving as an encore to the earlier, full-length “Torn” album, Menhart has an increasingly high profile, with a reputation for impassioned tunes and a cyclonic voice that summon echoes of Susan Tedeschi, Janis Joplin and Lucinda Williams.
Typically surrounded by her tight longtime band, Menhart throws down yet another dimension when she performs as a solo acoustic act - as with tonight's show at the RiverWalk restaurant in Mystic.
- RICK KOSTER
Sue Menhart, 8-11 tonight, RiverWalk, 14 Holmes St., Mystic; free; 536-5220, suemenhart.com.
This lady has an infectious voice that just guides you in
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CD Review - Gypsy Soul by The Sue Menhart Band Gypsy Soul is the second release by The Sue Menha...CD Review - Gypsy Soul by The Sue Menhart Band
Gypsy Soul is the second release by The Sue Menhart Band; the follow up to their impressive debut full length album Torn last year. This time we get a 4 song EP format.
We kick off with the title track Gypsy Soul - the intro is a Spanish style noodle by guitarist JJ that lulls you into thinking this will be some gentle laid back jazzy number. Oh no - the band kick in with a toe tapping stomper that is a solid foundation for Sue's great blues/rock chic gravely vocal delivery. This lady has an infectious voice that just guides you in. The lyrics are ideal for those of us in the "greying rocker" fraternity, i.e. those of us who didn't drop out and/or make the grade in rock school 20/30 years ago and so do the 9 to 5 thing through the day but have our hidden side in the nighttime... This is a common theme in Ms Menharts lyrics and that is no bad thing.
The band are tight as hell! JJ executes a neat and effective solo, the Hammond organ wails just as it should (Procul Harum memories here) and the rhythm section hold it all down with fine effect.
Coming Home is the second track a happy time sing along that is dedicated to all the serving officers in the USA armed forces and captured I think the spirit of troops who have had to serve overseas in recent years and this is a uplifting song from that point of view of someone looking forward to returning.
Why You Love Me - hang on was this written in the late 60s? This track has a whole jazzy/funk vibe going on a bit Stax vs English Blues/Rock to my ears. Again great playing from all with a tasteful solo and guitar bits and then one of the best keyboard solos I've heard in a long time... i.e. melodic, thoughtful and fitting.
Lastly The Choice is a love song - and what a song that Sue dedicates to her husband. Call me an old soft romantic but this one brings goosebumps on the neck and a lump to the throat, brilliant lyrics and a soulful rendition that can't hide the true feelings. The sort of song a talent show winner would over do the vibrato and over do the dynamics where here with Sue's slow vibrato and quieter delivery makes for a much more emotional performance. If this was a X Factor/American Idol finalist this would be no 1 in a instant. Sadly though the likes of Sue are overlooked by the business.
So very well worth checking out. This is a great example of bunch of more mature rockers who have broken out from the 9 - 5 rut and show the rest of us what can be done. Production is excellent as well. Just going to say it again - The Choice is just a stunning song and performance.
Go here now and check them out. If you are close to them in Connecticut you can't go wrong getting to one of their shows.
Hey !!! Just found I can post their widget player thingy on the side bar... so EYES RIGHT.... :-)
Sue Menhart Band Goes Digital
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Those tunes comprise "Torn," her debut, a collection of big-throated blues-rock songs with shades of...Those tunes comprise "Torn," her debut, a collection of big-throated blues-rock songs with shades of the Fabulous Thunderbirds.
Sue Menhart Band offers elixir to workweek
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The formula for the Sue Menhart Band is a mix of folkish singer/songwriter lyrics paired with a rock...The formula for the Sue Menhart Band is a mix of folkish singer/songwriter lyrics paired with a rock sound. Think Jackson Browne meets Journey, or Bob Dylan meets Boston.
Sue Menhart Band – Torn
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So my copy of the Sue Menhart Band’s debut CD Torn arrived over the weekend following it’s loving di...So my copy of the Sue Menhart Band’s debut CD Torn arrived over the weekend following it’s loving dispatch from CdBaby.
On their website the band describe their music a “symphonic blues”, which frankly is a pretty good summary. The band play a rock blues style that anyone who likes Robert Cray, Backdoor Slam, John Mayall etc. will instantly relate to.
What does set the band apart is Sue’s lead vocals. If you fancy your blues sung by a blonde rock chick in husky tones then this is the CD for you my friend!
The CD kicks off a couple of uptempo numbers. Working Girl kicking things of with an instant foot tapper that can’t help but draw you in with it’s driving beat, excellent arrangement and overall this band are tight. Somebody Better Than Me continues with the up tempo run with again a neat tight rhythm section holding forth with tasty keys allowing JJ to run out his Buddy Whittington style licks on the lead guitar.
Just Another Man slows things down a bit and shows that the band can cover more bases than just the quicker rocky numbers. By now Sue’s vocal style will have you hooked, as I’ve already said she has a very husky voice but with great versatility as she can soar into the chorus of this number and it does make the hairs on your arm rise as she pours out this ballad of unrequited love.
There are several other highlights on the album but the standout track overall for me is the title track Torn. Sue’s voice on this one is stunning, dripping with emotion and pulling the listener into a story that many of us in the modern world can relate to about the difficulties we all face in balancing all the aspects of our lives successfully and feeling satisfied within it. You could say the album in a concept album as the themes throughout the lyrics deal with this issue of balance in life and keeping yourself sane in the world of work, love, marriage etc. along with the struggle to find the love of your life. All in all - this gets a very highly recommended stamp of approval in Furtheron's book of reviews.
So there you go – another triumph in the world of musical endeavour from a bunch of talent performers who whilst not filling stadiums have more talent than you'll ever see in the majority of The X Factor. I can personally vouch for 40% of the band as I know these folks personally so they are jolly good eggs to boot.
So go here to find out more about the band and the CD.
If any of you are near to Toad’s Place in New Haven CT this Saturday (28th June) go see them... Oh fly by the website and you can print a ticket to get in free!