For more than a decade, Oh Susanna – Suzie Ungerleider – has made critically-acclaimed albums full of contemplative, thoughtful, folk-inspired songs that transport listeners into an imaginary emotional landscape.
Her latest album, 2014’s Namedropper, expands on her already long list of artistic partnerships: The record is a compilation of songs written for her by some of Canada’s best songwriters: Ron Sexsmith, Royal Wood, Jim Cuddy, Joel Plaskett, Luke Doucet, Jay Harris, Rueben deGroot, Melissa McClelland, Amelia Curran, Old Man Luedecke, Keri Latimer of Nathan and The Good Lovelies. Watch this video for highlights from the album launch and a look behind the scenes of that evening.
On December 2, we presented An Evening with Oh Susanna at the Great Hall. As one might imagine, the star of the evening was overjoyed with the task of collecting a cast of special guests for the Evening – which include Sarah Harmer, Andy Maize and Jane Siberry – and she was eager to let us know how it all came together.
“I love putting together a night of music from some of my favourite singers and songwriters…some of whom I have a lot of history with like Sarah Harmer and Andy Maize from the Skydiggers and others I have new friendships with like Colleen Brown or Ben Kunder. Then sometimes I get extra lucky and have a musical guest like Jane Siberry whose music was a soundtrack to my life when I only just dreamed of being a singer. It is a night of communing with friends onstage and off and of course the audience is always a big part of that. I always see these nights as a great big party, rich with music and poignant moments. I just invite the guests, the stellar musicians in the band and get to watch the night unfold.”
And while Oh Susanna isn’t – despite what one might think based on her last album’s title – one to fish for names and compliments, we here at Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall aren’t above making a few calls in the interest of spreading love. We asked some of the evening’s special guests what the Evening means to them.
“I’m really looking forward to singing with Suzie on the 2nd. To hear her voice is to experience everything that is beautiful in this world… joy and sadness, lust and longing, love and death…”
Andy Maize (Skydiggers)
“Suzie is a loving force of nature. She’s a powerhouse who doesn’t need to prove it. It’s a pleasure to play with her, and for me it’s a privilege to be included in this group of incredible musicians.”
“Suzie has a presence like no other, drawing you in with her inviting voice with such a unique and beautiful tone. I knew after first hearing her sing just one verse that I needed Oh Susanna’s music in my life and am lucky to now call her friend. On December 2, I will be exuding gratitude for the opportunity to share in what will surely be a memorable experience for everyone at the Great Hall… on stage, back stage and in the house.”
“I’ve never met Susanna of O but she is from a tribe called ‘musicians’, a friend of animals, lets others choose dessert first, speaks five languages with her hands and has her own power drill. I’m in.”