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Suzy Bogguss

American Folk Songbook

(Loyal Dutchess; US: 2 Aug 2011; UK: Import)

Accompanied by a 96-page hardcover book that provides illustrations and contextual information on its 17 tracks, Suzy Bogguss’s superb new album presents a selection of classic American folk songs. The project was inspired by Bogguss’s sense of younger audiences’ disconnect from the songs of tradition. In concept, the album suggests a companion piece to Bruce Springsteen’s We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions and unsurprisingly there’s some overlap in the choice of material here. But Bogguss’s intimate, lower-keyed approach contrasts with the more rambunctious stylings of Springsteen and his crew. In great, expressive voice, and backed by an excellent group of Nashville’s finest, including Jerry Douglas, Stuart Duncan, and Pat Bergeson, Bogguss breathes new life into the material by treating each song as a highly personal story, with wider resonances. Highlights include the brisk opening take on “Shady Grove,” a stunning “Shenandoah,” which scales Emmylou-worthy heights of loss and longing, a haunting “Red River Valley,” and an achingly tender “All The Pretty Little Horses,” while the lighter, more playful moments are also nicely achieved. A warm and beautiful record; highly recommended.


Alex Ramon lives in London, UK, and teaches English literature and film at Kingston University and the University of Reading. He holds a PhD in English and is the author of the book Liminal Spaces: The Double Art of Carol Shields (2008). In addition to writing for PopMatters, Wears The Trousers and The Public Reviews, he's been known to blog here: And to tweet @BoycottTrends.

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