Suzy Bogguss Doesn’t Really Listen to Her Old Records — With a Few Exceptions
It's been 30 years since Suzy Bogguss released her major-label debut album, Somewhere Between, but the country singer admits she doesn't often get sentimental about celebrating milestones. As a touring musician who has enough to keep track of in remembering where she's headed for the next week, it's difficult for Bogguss to comprehend the full weight of her 30-year career.
"I mean, I thought I was still 30 myself!" she tells The Boot. "I'm more of a -- I don't look too far in the future. I'm one of those, I guess. I try to live day by day."
With that mantra in mind, Bogguss doesn't go back and listen to her old records very often, although there are a few exceptions. For example, in 2016, she revisited her third studio album, 1991's Aces, in order to release a re-imagined version of the project.
"When I got ready to re-record Aces, it had been a long time since I had listened to that album," she reflects. "But I haven't listened to the whole Somewhere Between album all the way through, I don't think."
There are, however, parts of the project that Bogguss has revisited: "For some reason, I pulled out the old Hank Williams tune I did [on that album], called "My Sweet Love Ain't Around,"" she continues. "Just 'cause I was curious about how we did that. Because that's one of the first ones I ever remember hearing myself sing on the radio.
"And I was thinking, 'Wow, that's a really earthy rendition!' I mean, it was really stripped down, with acoustic bass, and Mark O'Connor was playing fiddle on it, but it wasn't a drum song," Bogguss adds. "I can't believe they played it on the radio."
Listening back, Bogguss is surprised by the variance and experimentation she hears on that song. However, when she recorded it, she points out, she was still in the early stages of figuring out who she was as an artist "because this was back in the day when we had development deals."
"A lot of us, even Garth [Brooks] and people like that, we didn't have our style completely worked through. We'd been playing in places where you had to sing a little bit of everything to make a living," Bogguss explains. "That was a different time. Now, it seems like folks have to come in with their whole act together ... I'm very grateful that, back in the day, they would give us time to work through some stuff."
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When she set about making Somewhere Between, Bogguss worked with producer Wendy Waldman, who had a background with artists such as Linda Ronstadt and the Forester Sisters. "She had all these great country-rock chops," Bogguss recalls. "We melded these things together, and she and I tried some really edgy pop stuff. It didn't ever come out, but it was actually more like what I ended up doing with [songs like] "Hey Cinderella" and "Drive South," things like that, later on."
For Somewhere Between, however, Bogguss ultimately decided on the rootsier, more-country style that she had been listening to and performing for years. "Really, when you listen to that album, it's really a mixture of folk, country, bluegrass, cowboy, pop, all mixed together," she reflects. "It was me trying to really discover who I was gonna be."
With that in mind, Bogguss continues, maybe it is time to go back and listen to the project after all.
"It is kind of weird -- I never think of the numbers, but gosh, '89 seems like such a long time ago," she adds. "I might go back and listen to that record.
"I do remember that it's a little scattered," she says "but other than that, it did its job. It helped me figure out who I am."
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