Renowned American country and folk music singer Suzy Bogguss had a revelation on stage with Garrison Keillor (host of the popular A Prairie Home Companion radio show) in 2008. Everyone loves to sing along on “Red River Valley” – except the children who somehow don’t know the song. Folk songs are the scrapbook of the American experience, but as music education fades from American public schools, she worried; these beautiful melodies are in danger of being overlooked. She resolved to record these timeless songs in an updated but reverent way – so that everyone can sing along on “Red River Valley.”
Suzy Bogguss already has a full bookshelf of Grammy and CMA (Country Music Awards) awards and now with the release of American Folk Songbook she can put her own book up there too. The CD and companion Songbook will be released on July 18, 2011 at all Cracker Barrel Country Stores followed by a wide release to other retail and digital outlets on August 2, 2011.
As Suzy writes in the introduction to the book: “Music has always been my purest joy even as a child. One of my favorite memories is my grade-school music teacher pounding on the piano and leading the class in rousing renditions of folk songs from all around the world.
In the summer of 2008 I toured with the brilliant and engaging Garrison Keillor. The energy that passed between the audience and Garrison was overwhelming at times. Several thousand people standing and singing together—old songs, hymns, the Beatles and the Everly Brothers. People of all ages, sharing music. Ahhh, pure joy.”
But Bogguss was not content to present the songs as dusty museum pieces, instead she chose to breath new life into them with contemporary arrangements and some of Nashville’s finest acoustic musicians. Jerry Douglas, Stuart Duncan, Pat Bergeson, Charlie Chadwick and Jeff Taylor all join the band for Suzy’s self-produced project. Ultimately though it’s the voice that lovingly weaves through the guitars and mandolins to find the new in these old songs. As John Lomax III writes in the forward to the book, ‘Prepare yourself for enchantment! …This work is, in a word, delightful!”
Suzy says she modeled the songbook after her “good old 5th grade songbook.” The hardcover, 96-page book is filled with illustrations, fascinating historical stories about the songs, easy to read sheet music arrangements for piano, voice and guitar as well as personal insights and anecdotes from Bogguss.
Her intent from the beginning was to make the book attractive to music lovers and musicians at every level. Again from her introduction: “that way, younger generations could share these slowly fading gems with their families and tell their stories of how they learned a few chords on the guitar or a couple of favorites to play at family gatherings.”
The Cracker Barrel southern food restaurant chain, with its dedication to families and appreciation for authentic Americana was the obvious choice for the initial release.
American Folk Songbook is the natural progression of an artist who has demonstrated skill and passion for all types of music in her career. Songs like “Aces,” “Drive South,” “Someday Soon,” “Outbound Plane” and “Letting Go” took her to the top of the country music charts. Along the way she won raves from critics and peers including winning a GRAMMY in 2005 for Traditional Folk Album, the Country Music Association’s Horizon Award in 1992 and album of the Year Award in 1994.
2007’s Billboard Jazz Chart topping Sweet Danger, the universally praised album, Swing recorded in 2003 with Ray Benson of Asleep At The Wheel and Simpatico, her beloved collaboration with Chet Atkins showed the world Bogguss was willing to both embrace tradition while continuing to grow and challenge herself as an artist.
However, it is an appreciation for tradition that really shines through on American Folk Songbook. The album is filled with songs that are the very fabric of American musical history and Bogguss reclaims this history and revives it with a fresh and beautiful take on classics like “Shenandoah,” “Wayfaring Stranger,” “Ol’ Dan Tucker,” “Beautiful Dreamer” and of course, “Red River Valley.”
Suzy Bogguss is currently on tour in the UK with Gretchen Peters and Matraca Berg as part of Wine, Women & Song 2011. When you put these three critically acclaimed, award winning singer-songwriters with years of friendship on stage together you can expect an evening of laughter and exceptional music. The ladies will be appearing on BBC 1 Breakfast on June 7 and they will make a special appearance on BBC Radio 2 on June 22.
US Tour Dates:
07/06/2011 – Boothbay Harbor, ME – Opera House at Boothbay Harbor
07/07/2011 – Ogunquit, ME – Jonathan’s
07/08/2011 – White River Junction, VT – Tupelo Music Hall
07/09/2011 – Londonderry, NH – Tupelo Music Hall
07/10/2011 – South Hiram, ME – Ossipee Valley Fair
07/19/2011 – Lake City, CO – Sportsman’s BBQ Station & Backyark
07/22/2011 – Moses Lake, WA – Moses Lake Summer Series
07/29/2011 – Toronto, ON – Hugh’s Room
07/30/2011 – New York, NY – City Winery
07/31/2011 – Norfolk, CT – Infinity Hall
08/13/2011 – Logan, UT – Cache County Fair
08/20/2011 – Dubois, WY – Dubois High Country Cowboy Gathering
08/25/2011 – Kent, OH – The Kent Stage
08/26/2011 – Ann Arbor, MI – The Ark
09/02/2011 – Highlands, NC – Highlands Performing Arts Center
09/03/2011 – Clinton, AR – World Champion Chuck Wagon Races
09/22/2011 – New Hope, PA – New Hope Winery
09/23/2011 – Annapolis, MD – Ram’s Head Tavern
09/24/2011 – Staunton, VA – Fortune Williams Festival