My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Tag Archives: Charlie Chadwick

Concert Review: Suzy Bogguss in Natick, Massachusetts

IMG_0899Towards the end of her majestic set at the Center For The Arts (TCAN) in Natick, MA April 16, Suzy Bogguss declared her Midwestern roots have led to a life of running, always heading somewhere. It’s been a subtle thematic presence in her music since the beginning, only growing stronger the more fully realized her catalog becomes.

Flying by the seam of her skirt, Bogguss and her band mates (which included Charlie Chadwick on upright bass) let inspiration guide the evening and erase the fourth wall, gifting the audience a rare intimacy. We were as much a part of the show as the trio on stage, proving the essential need to help tiny venues (TCAN, housed in a firehouse built in 1875, has just 270 seats in its performance room) prosper for the sake of feeding hungry souls craving the authenticity of genuine performers singing and playing real music.

Bogguss ran through her hits, opening with the one-two-punch of “Outbound Plane” and “Aces,” the latter of which she admits is so open to interpretation she doesn’t try and explain its meaning anymore. She gave an all-to-brief shout out to her friend and co-writer Matraca Berg before “Hey Cinderella” and spiritedly performed “Drive South.”

She spent the majority of the evening reflecting on Merle Haggard and Garrison Keillor, the separate inspirations behind her two most recent projects. It was those Haggard and folk tunes that stole the show, from the angelic “Today I Started Loving You Again” to the playfully wordy “Froggy Went A ‘Courtin.'” Bogguss stunned with “Shenandoah” and turned in a masterful rendition of “Wayfaring Stranger.”

She referenced hallowed company before “I Always Get Lucky With You,” which had George Jones covering Haggard before he then recorded the ballad himself. When talking about Haggard, she reminisced about wanting to return to country, looking for a Haggard song to include on the album and choosing to end up with a whole record of his songs.

Bogguss grew emotional talking about her 20-year-old son Ben, a college sophomore, and the empty nest he left behind. She celebrated the highs of reconnecting with her husband Doug through her tantalizing version of “Let’s Chase Each Other ‘Round The Room” and the lows with her own “Letting Go,” one of the greatest off-to-adulthood songs in country music history.

“The Night Rider’s Lament” kicked off a detour into her penchant for Western themed songs and displayed how much she’s grown as a storyteller since first recording that track twenty-five years ago. “Someday Soon” fit in nicely, too, with Bogguss encouraging the audience to sing along. Bogguss opened the encore yodeling away on “I Want to be a Cowboy’s Sweetheart,” a 90 year old tune that sounds as at home in her hands as it did when Patsy Montana took it up the charts in the 1930s.

Bogguss and her band relied on the power of their voices for “Red River Valley,” coming off their microphones to give an already intimate performance another level of closeness between singer and audience. She came full circle with the theme of escape through Haggard’s “The Running Kind” and confessed she isn’t confrontational; she just wants people to like her.

IMG_0898If anything, Suzy Bogguss doesn’t have to worry about being liked. She’s easily one of the warmest artists I’ve ever seen live, a homey presence on and off the stage. By leading with her heart, she rewards her audiences with a transparency that once defined the essence of a country singer. She’s a mother and a wife who just so happens to spend her life making records and singing live. She shares her emotions and leaves us feeling like we’re friends gathering in a coffee shop to catch up. In addition, she’s genuinely grateful whenever someone comes through the meet-and-greet line with a bunch of her records to sign.

As if that isn’t enough, what makes Bogguss truly special is her innate ability to separate from the big machine and create passion projects that allow her to further the legacy she’s been cultivating since the beginning. That enthusiasm for her work allowed her to effortlessly glide between the Merle Haggard Songbook, timeless folk tunes, the Wild West and distinct nods to her hit making heyday with confident ease and sophistication. Bogguss may be a woman on the run, but she’s found a home at every pit stop along the way.

Concert Review: An Unexpected Visitor from Nashville

suzyinconcertLongtime MKOC reader and commenter Tom had the good fortune to see our spotlight artist Suzy Bogguss in concert in Switzerland recently. He wrote the following review for the German magazine Country Style,and has graciously allowed us to reprint it, for the first time in English.

I almost did not trust my eyes: Suzy Bogguss in concert in Laufen, Switzerland. This was almost too good to be true and Laufen too small a place off the beaten track to believe it right away. But as it turned out, Suzy Bogguss, Pat Bergeson and Charlie Chadwick had been on their way to the Salerno Guitar Festival in Italy and someone with good enough connections got them to stop over in this small town in Switzerland for a gig – and what fine concert it turned out to be.

All 400 or so eyes in the small auditorium of Laufen’s beautifully restored Culture & Arts Center “The Old Slaughterhouse” checked out the big bass that was lying quite lost on the dimley lit stage, just waiting to be picked up by the right kind of arms. Then the promotor, Martin Meier, entered the stage and introduced Suzy and her fellow musicians. No sooner had he ended his laid back speech, they stepped out of the dark and kicked things off with “Outbound Plane” followed by “Aces” – still one of the most difficult country hits to understand. Then again, three-way ties have never been an easy thing to understand in the first place. If that was a beautiful start, it surely got even better when she made a real little vocal gem out of Johnny Cash’s “I Still Miss Someone”. In between the songs, she had a blast interacting with the audience and her companions – Pat Bergeson playing acoustic lead guitar and Charlie Chadwick being eventually reunited with his bass. Both of them are excellent musicans and witty entertainers.

After that, Suzy Bogguss, dressed in simple blue jeans and blouse, started to play songs from her latest album American Folk Songbook. “Shenandoah” was the closing title before the mid-session interval. Her superb voice, her sincere delivery and Pat Bergeson’s lonesome harmonica made the audience in that small venue almost believe that they found themselves at a confederate camp fire at the eve of a civil war battle. For a few minutes, it felt as one had been traveling back in time to a far away place.

After the interval classics like “Wayfaring Stranger” and a bunch of cowboy and rodeo tunes were played, before the bluesey “Eat at Joe’s” led on to some of her jazzy material. Rounding off the show were her big chart-hits “Letting go”, which she introduced from a mothers point of view, whose son had left home not too long ago to go to college. “Drive South” and “Hey Cinderella” were the closing numbers before they disappeared into the dark again, receiving a big hand of applause before a series of encores and more applause finished off a nothing less than most excellent and very charming gig out in the sticks of Switzerland.