OH SUSANNA - NAMEDROPPER
Namedropper: Someone who tries to impress others by casually mentioning the names of illustrious people she knows or may have met.
Namedropper: Oh Susanna's new album: A killer collection of songs written for her by some of Canada's best songwriters.
Namedropper marks a place in Oh Susanna’s journey…one where she has proven herself as songwriter and is now paying tribute to her comrades. Many times Oh Susanna, aka Suzie Ungerleider, has been a lone woman on stage, singing songs about personal journeys and crossroads. But this singing of songs, this sharing of stories, has brought her friendship and connection into a community of fellow misfits and renegades.
“When I first started singing and performing, I was completely alone onstage. The characters in my songs reflected that loneliness. But music has brought me so much connection: to myself and to other people. It even brought me to my husband. So music, which was an expression of loneliness and individual struggle, has brought me out of loneliness and made me a part of a community. So it made sense to make a record that was symbolic of that transition from loneliness to communion.”
"Namedropper is an album that pays tributes to her many friends in the close singer-songwriter community. Initially, Suzie imagined it would be simply an ordinary covers record. But when she approached her old friend Jim Bryson to produce the album, he hatched a new idea. He decided they should ask artists to write brand new songs specifically for the album. Suzie agreed and much to their delight, their friends were more than happy to oblige.
It made perfect sense that the catalyst for this new approach was Jim Bryson, Suzie's chief collaborator on Namedropper. Being old friends, Suzie instinctively knew he would want to explore different musical possibilities with her relatively straightforward concept. “Jim is always subverting,” she says. “That’s not my tendency as a musician, I’m usually more classic in my approach but I wanted to be brought into this other space and that’s why I asked him to work with me on this record. I also wanted to sing other people’s songs in order to do music in a way I hadn’t done before. Jim thought that made total sense, but he immediately had the idea of asking people we knew to write something new for me.”
Jim explains, “Suzie pitched me on doing a record of covers from people she knew, but I just heard ‘covers’ and immediately thought, ‘That sounds okay, but I’m not sure.’ Then on the spot I suggested having people write the songs. It was honestly just a random thought I vocalized, and dang me if it didn’t work out great!”
Suzie continues, “We were able to jump onto the songs when they were still in a fragile, untested state. Then we watched them become three-dimensional and I got to inhabit the character of the song. I got to be an actor bringing the script to life while Jim got to be the director of this movie.”
“I like to think that Suzie and I have a mutual crush,” Jim concludes. “Professionally, it’s like a marriage of sorts. We respect each other and maybe push each other’s buttons a bit because of the familiarity. Honestly, her voice always stops me dead in my tracks.”
The process of making Namedropper went smoothly from its beginnings in 2012 up to its near-completion in the spring of 2013. It was then that Suzie received the difficult news that she had breast cancer. Her initial reaction was actually a sense of guilt that her ensuing treatment would put the brakes on what had become a highly anticipated musical project for her, her collaborators and fans. But the love and support from fans and friends only intensified over the next year as Suzie recovered. That support and anticipation now culminates with Suzie and her label, Sonic Unyon, proudly releasing Namedropper in fall 2014.
1. Oregon (Jim Bryson)
2. Into My Arms (Joel Plaskett)
3. Goodnight (Royal Wood)
4. Cottonseed (Keri Latimer)
5. Wait Until The Sun Comes Up (Ron Sexsmith)
6. Mozart For The Cat (Melissa McClelland)
7. Provincial Parks (Old Man Luedecke)
8. Letterbomb (Luke Doucet)
9. Loved You More (Amelia Curran)
10.1955 (Jay Harris)
11. Savings And Loan (Reuben deGroot)
12. This Guy (The Good Lovlies)
13. Dying Light (Jim Cuddy)
14. I Love The Way She Dresses (Ron Sexsmith / Angaleena Presley)