LIVE: Suzy Bogguss @ Caffe Lena, 5/6/12

Suzy Bogguss
Suzy Bogguss

Review and photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Singer-songwriter Suzy Bogguss has always straddled the musical fence between country and folk music. She had performed at Caffe Lena back in the 1980s as an “emerging” artist, and a decade later she was playing at the Grand Ole Opry.

And that says it all – headlining at two of the most distinctive, legendary and hallowed performance halls in America, representing those two distinct musical categories, folk and country. Not too shabby for a great lady of song who continually defies musical categorization.

Throughout her musical career, Bogguss has recorded one platinum and three gold albums; charted six Top 10 country hits; performed at the White House; and won a truckload of awards, including a Grammy in 2005 for Best Traditional Folk Album, “Beautiful Dreamer, The Songs Of Stephen Foster.”

Last month she brought it all full circle, returning to Caffe Lena to spotlight her newest outing (in both book and CD form), “American Folk Songbook.”

With acoustic guitarist Pat Bergson and bassist Charlie Chadwick in tow, the incomparable Suzy Bogguss wowed the audience, with her lovely and dynamic voice leading the charge.

Ending her generous, nearly two-hour-long set with the title tune from the decades-old John Wayne western classic, “Red River Valley,” Bogguss was truly in her element. Her crystalline, you-can-understand-every-word voice had the whole room singing along in accompaniment.

And if it’s any indication of a musician’s true eternal star power: when Bogguss’ show ended, it seemed as though almost everyone one in the house that Sunday night – including some of the Caffe’s volunteers – lined up at the merch table to buy a CD or book and meet Suzy for an autograph, a hug, a laugh or just a warm hello!

Suzy Bogguss
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