Oh Susanna

Oh Susanna

 Toronto, Ontario, CAN
BandFolkSinger/Songwriter

"That voice really is a marvel, a haunting, expressive instrument that can proudly stand alongside those of Emmylou Harris and Gillian Welch in the roots elite." Exclaim!

Biography

When Oh Susanna first dreamed of making music, she wanted to create songs that would stand the test of time – just like the Stephen Foster classic from which she takes her name. With the release of her sixth album, SOON THE BIRDS, she has again achieved this dream with a collection of enduring songs that resonate deeper and deeper upon each listen. Her voice, always a marvel, is a haunting, expressive instrument that she uses to stunning effect on SOON THE BIRDS, a beautifully rendered album by an artist who has realized the full power of her voice as a narrative songwriter.

In a career spanning just over a decade, Oh Susanna has released five critically acclaimed records noted for their contemplative, thoughtful, folk-inspired songs that transport listeners into an imaginary emotional landscape. Whether applauding a young woman’s need to stand tall in the face of dire circumstances, expressing love and tenderness to a dying loved one or embodying the anger of a soldier’s widow, Oh Susanna’s songs aim straight for the gut. The timeless themes of love, loss and longing are expressed in soaring melodies and vivid lyrics. These songs beg careful listening.

“I like to take people into a dream world and make them reflect on what’s essential,” explains the singer-songwriter, “In this world, the idea of slowing down and looking inward is really important.”

“My songs often are about a crossroads in someone’s life, about someone facing a choice. I love when a song unwraps the layers of a person or situation and makes us look at all the facets and contradictions. We don’t always understand our own desires and motivations and I like songs that ask questions rather than give answers.”

She credits Juno Award winning producer David Travers-Smith (Jane Siberry, Wailin’ Jennys) with the album’s rich, layered sound. With a loose recording schedule, they were able to work on SOON THE BIRDS for more than a year, allowing for a more organic production process and room for experimentation. “It was the first time since JOHNSTOWN (Oh Susanna’s 1999 debut full-length album) that I had the luxury of time. Here we could change things. We could work slowly and get the right feeling and mood.”

The Oh Susanna/Travers-Smith collaboration yielded the integration of the talents of more than 30 musicians. The players, who read like a Who’s Who of the Canadian roots music scene, include Blue Rodeo’s Jim Cuddy (duet on Lucky Ones), renowned guitarist Kevin Breit (Rosanne Cash, Nora Jones), vocalists Ruth Moody (Wailin’ Jennys) and Brenley McEachern (Madison Violet) and members of the Foggy Hogtown Boys. Handpicked to add their unique sounds to SOON THE BIRDS, these artists join longtime band members bassist Bazil Donovan (Blue Rodeo), guitarist Gord Tough (Kathleen Edwards) and drummer Cam Giroux (Weeping Tile, Ron Sexsmith).

A stand-out in terms of feeling and mood is Van Dyke Parks’ arrangement of Oh Susanna’s song 1941 (a bonus track available online). The legendary composer/producer (Beach Boys, Ry Cooder, Rufus Wainwright and Loudon Wainwright III) gives this ode to school friends lost to the Holocaust a truly cinematic orchestral treatment.

With SOON THE BIRDS, Oh Susanna brings her breathtakingly effortless countrified alto into the foreground with a collection of haunting songs that shine light into the darker areas of the human experience.

Visit www.outside-music.ca / www.ohsusanna.com
For more information or to arrange an interview please contact:
Publicist: Joanne Setterington joanne@indoorrecess.com
416.703.5217

Lyrics

Drunk As A Sailor

Written By: Suzie Ungerleider

I’m drunk as a sailor again
But this time I think I can mend.
You turn my heart on its end
And spin it again and again.

I’m rolling the dice once again
But this time I think I can win.
I knew when you took my hand
That old lady luck was my friend.

Oh no, here I go, I’m as high as a kite on a string
Soaring over the tops of the trees.
Oh, wind won’t you blow, up I go, for tonight I have wings
But as sure as you’re born by the morn, I‘ll be back on my knees.

I’m drunk as a sailor again
But this time I think I can mend.
You turn my heart on its end
And spin it again and again.

I’m rolling the dice once again
But this time I think I can win.
I knew when you took my hand
That old lady luck was my friend
Old lady luck was my friend
Old lady luck was my friend.

See What Promises Can Bring

Written By: Suzie Ungerleider

He took everything,
Hocked your little diamond ring,
Took that shiny little stone,
Left you standing all alone,
See what promises can bring.

Grew up in a northern town,
Everything was grey and brown,
So he swept you off your feet,
Got you rolling in the sheets,
And your belly full and round.

In the lightning and the thunder,
You refuse to take cover,
You wanna just walk in the rain.
And you’re carrying his baby,
But you don’t give a shit what they say,
Cause you know she’ll be worth all this pain,
Someday, someday.

He took everything,
Except one little tiny thing,
Now a bouncing baby girl,
Brings joy into this world,
See what promises can bring,
Now a bouncing baby girl,
Brings joy into this world,
See what promises can bring.

Long Black Train

Written By: Suzie Ungerleider

Always said to leave the light on,
Always said you would come home,
Now it’s just me and our little baby,
And this heart cold as a stone.
When I saw the officers coming,
Then I knew you were gone,
Then I saw nothing but that long black train rolling home.

When we first met we were in high school,
Your eyes they burned into my soul,
You placed your ring on my little finger,
Then we both knew you had to go.
When you flew into the mountains,
Did you look into the sun?
Did you know you’d be riding on that long black train rolling home?

When you flew into the night, I felt her kicking inside of me,
But now she’s here and you are gone I’m as lonesome as somebody could be.

But now I look at our baby daughter,
Does she know there’s something wrong?
Does she know that she has no father?
Does she know that it’s you that I mourn?
Will she miss her sisters that never were born?
Did you see them riding on that long black train rolling home?
Did you see them riding on that long black train rolling home?
On that long black train rolling home,
On that long black train rolling home.

Discography

Soon The Birds (2011)
Short Stories (2007)
Oh Susanna (2003)
Sleep Little Sailor (2001)
Johnstown (1999)
Oh Susanna EP (1997)