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Susan Werner

  • Sun Aug 28 2011 - 7:00 pm •
  • $17 advance | $21 door

Singer-songwriter and Iowa native Susan Werner helps us celebrate the re-opening of CSPS with this encore performance. CSPS has been a place of homecoming for Susan since her career began with the unforgettable Midwestern Saturday Night CD in 1993.

A farm girl, Werner studied classical voice at the University of Iowa before heading to Philadelphia where she began a string of songwriting that recently lead No Depression to rave, “When it comes to crafting a song, Ms. Werner’s only peers are Jimmy Webb and Paul Simon.” 

With each release, Susan has reinvented herself, always offering the unexpected, effortlessly sliding between genres: folk, jazz, country, blues and pop…all delivered with a sassy wit and classic Midwestern charm.  In 2005, the she released an album of original songs in the style of George Gershwin and Cole Porter. In 2007, a collection of “agnostic gospel” songs was praised by believers and non-believers alike.

Throughout her career of 10 wildly varied releases, Susan has taken traditional music and fused it with her unmistakable contemporary worldview, challenging listeners to experience music from a fresh perspective.

On her latest release, Kicking the Beehive, Susan ups the ante with 11 new songs exploring the musical history of the South, especially the blues. She traveled the “Blues Highway” (Highway 61) from her home in Chicago to Memphis and Clarksdale, Miss., and then on to New Orleans and east Texas.

Though mixing a variety of styles, the music on Kicking the Beehive is definitely influenced and informed by Werner’s blues pilgrimage. “My Different Son,” is written from a mother’s point of view about a child with autism and evokes the Chicago-style laments of B.B. King and Muddy Waters. On the rocking “I Know What I Want,” Werner calls on the phrasing of the field hollers she studied as part of her blues journey.

It’s in her live shows, though, where Susan brings it all home, switching between piano and guitar, sharing stories and taking audiences on a journey they will never forget.