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Suzy Bogguss

A Conversation with Suzy Bogguss

Puremusic: I love your new CD, Sweet Danger. It's a great piece of work.

Suzy Bogguss: Well, thank you so much. I'm really having a lot of fun with it. I've just been touring it for the last month, and having a blast playing the music. It's such a change from my last project that it's been one of those things where the band, we all kind of had to take on a little different attitude for it. Because we've been doing the swing music that's very upbeat and really happy, and lots of solos. And then this is like much more of a groove kind of thing.

PM: Oh, yeah.

SB: And so there's the whole kind of shifting into hey, we used to be like jazzing out on our swing album, but now we're trying to be real cool cats. [laughs]

PM: Yeah. And I think the transition is well made. I thought the disclaimer sticker on the front was very interesting: "Warning, this music is not what you expect, listen with an open mind."

SB: That was actually sort of a joke when I started it out, but it ended up piquing the publicist's and my husband's imagination. They thought, well, what would it be like if you actually got a disclaimer sticker on it? I was sort of joking. I was over in England playing, and I just said, "Why don't you put a sticker on that to make sure that people give it a couple of listens before they decide what it is." Because it's not really an easy mark for--it certainly doesn't strike you as, oh, boy, this is the most country record she ever made.

PM: And as hard as it is to get somebody's attention in our culture, one thing that for some reason or another does get people's attention is a sticker on the front of something, and any kind of disclaimer.

SB: Yeah, that's kind of true. It's crazy, isn't it? But when you think about how much noise is out there, I can so understand it, because as a consumer, and as a person who gets inundated with news and such myself, there's many places that I've learned to tune out, I just can't hear that anymore.

PM: Yeah, or otherwise your ears would just collapse.

SB: Yeah. You'd have to be the ultimate ADD, I guess, just to be able to--like my child can do three things at once and just be absolutely as happy as a clam. But I didn't grow up that way, so...

PM: Coming off a long country career, and then the swing album, and this, Sweet Danger--what do we call it? It's kind of a jazzy pop record, is it not?

SB: I think I've always had an underlying pop sense to my voice. I'm from Illinois, so it's not a real strong southern accent, and I certainly don't have any of the serious twang. And so much of my music has just been a collage of different influences over the years, that so much of it really has been sort of an evolution for me. Because when I first moved to Nashville, I made the Somewhere Between album, and it was all cowboy swing, and very acoustic and that stuff because that is where I had just come from; I'd just spent five years in a camper truck playing cowboy music in Montana and Wyoming, and taking that around to the folk clubs.

And then after that, Aces got a little bit more sophisticated because I got to experiment with these fabulous musicians in Nashville. And the more power that [Jimmy] Bowen gave me, and more giving me the reins as a producer, the more I got to play with that stuff. So the next few albums I just stretched out along with these great players to sort of make the country music, but still having a lot of different influences that were affecting me and that were things that I was listening to at the time. The song "Eat At Joe's," which was the Matraca Berg and Gary Harrison song that had my back on the record right after Aces, was the beginning of the swing album. I started performing that song live, and people went crazy for it. Even though that was the time period when "Letting Go" and "Aces" and "Cinderella" were out, here was a piece that was just really different and unique and it really shone. It was a lot of fun for me to sing that style.

So later on, that was what I pulled on to get the materials ready to give to Ray Benson, and then said, "You know how to do this thing. So pull my bluesy jazz singer out of me." And he did. Now that's kind of what I did with Jason. When I went to New York, he and I were just having dinner, and I just kind of blurted out that I didn't know what the next record was going to be, and what was he doing. And it was again, just almost sort of a joke, here's a guy who played with Miles Davis, and then producing tracks with Sting and Chaka Khan and all these people. And he's always been like a good friend to me, much more than--musically we've always admired each other's work, but it's never really been like, "What would happen if we collaborated?" So it's almost like when you have a friend, and then one night you're out, and you have a glass of wine, and you go, "What would happen if we fell in love with each other?" It's that night where you just kind of go, "Jeez, we've been friends for a really long time..." It was like a When Harry Met Sally kind of vibe. That was kind of how it was. It was like, "What if we put the chocolate and the peanut butter together?"


SB: "What would it taste like, I wonder?" And so that's what we came out with, was Sweet Danger.

PM: Wow.       continue

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