Various Artists “Songs for Suzy”

QuietSongs Records, 2021

Benefit album of rural blues and mountain folk for rustic folk artist Suzy Smith.

An album raising funds for Georgia based folk artist Suzy Smith, who is currently fighting cancer and autoimmune disorder. Her art, using vibrant colours and found objects, often addresses musical themes: from a wooden Hank Williams or a card Willie Nelson to a coffee table decorated with an accordion player. So, this rustic lo-fi Americana album certainly seems a fitting benefit record.

These are local musicians and bands, many of the one-man variety, who understand the affinity between their music and the traditions of the area in the same way as Suzy’s art does. From the lonesome fiddle tunes of Possessed By Paul James to the fearsome Robert Johnson blues of Lone Wolf OMB to the country blues of Olds Sleeper. Somewhere in here is buried the soul of Charley Patton and the heart of the Carter Family.

And there are some great tunes on the album: there’s no sense that the artists have knocked off something from out of the ‘not good enough yet’ box for this benefit. In fact, I am sure that Possessed By Paul James must have leant one of his best tunes, the fabulous ‘Songs We Used to Sing’, a magical fiddle picked song of nostalgia and melancholy. Including this sort of quality simply demonstrates the importance of this benefit to its contributors.

The three-song cycle which ‘Songs We Used to Sing’ kicks off is worth the cover price alone. It is followed by the spooky Tom Waits, banjo-driven, ‘Lost Love’ from Lone Wolf OMB like music leaking from an ethereal electric mist. Rounded off by Olds Sleeper’s ballad ‘Ease My Soul’, mixing JJ Cale’s back porch country-soul and Townes Van Zandt’s rural folk.

Songs for Suzy by VARIOUS ARTISTS

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About Peter Tomkins 17 Articles
Over the last fifty years I have probably tried to learn most instruments from the guitar to the trumpet, taking in the accordion and mandolin along the way. And failed. But as a music lover I started writing for magazines and websites about music around ten years ago. Personal view: the world would be a better place if we wore more hats.

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