Oh Susanna bringing new material to Crazyweed
Thursday, Mar 16, 2017 06:00 am
Canadian singer-songwriter Oh Susanna (aka Suzie Ungerleider) will play an intimate show at Canmore’s Crazyweed Kitchen, March 21.
Frequent collaborators Jim Bryson and Ungerleider, both on stage and in studio, launched a Kickstarter campaign in 2016 to support the production of the new Oh Susanna album called A Girl in Teen City, described as, “an album of new songs set in the 1980s, starring a teenage punk girl named Suzie.” The independent project was made without any big corporate sponsorship or advances.
“Even small records cost about $30,000 because no one should work for free. Musicians, producers, engineers, studios, photographers, designers, manufacturers were paid with the money raised for this project,” Ungerleider said.
“It’s 12 tracks, they’re all set in Vancouver; there is a bit of a narrative in the way the songs are organized on the record, and it is a love story, a few love songs. I tend to go towards darker stories, but this one is really about this kind of longing and love.”
Most of the tracking for the album was at North of Princess Studio in Kingston, where Ungerleider recorded her previous album, 2014’s highly acclaimed Namedropper.
“It’s kind of a different project for me because a lot of times I’ll be writing in character and trying to imagine what it’s like to be somebody else. But this time it was more about remembering what it was like to be me as a teenager and the interesting and fun things that happened,” Ungerleider said.
“When you’re a teenager you think that you’re really bored, but actually you realize the boredom makes you do all kinds of interesting things.”
Ungerleider grew up knowing and following bands that would never get played on the radio, never get played in a regular club date; it was all about renegade shows in warehouses or occasionally a promoter selling an official ticket sale. But mostly it was go to a show for $5 and have beer pulled by friends.
“That’s what I grew up knowing as a teenager. If you want to make a record you do it yourself because no one else is going to fund it, so we’re just going to make our own,” Ungerleider said.
Things are different now, where there are different levels of what artists can do to get an album off the ground, but even when she started making music and making CDs Ungerleider did a crowd-funding campaign.
“I did it by mail, I sent out postcards that I photocopied,” Ungerleider said.
Now she realizes social media is just an extension of what she does after a show, talking to people, enjoying that two-way conversation instead of just one way.
“You can find out what’s making sense to other people, because when you’re writing you’re just paying attention to what you want to say and express yourself and you don’t know how anyone is going to receive this. But it’s cool because people can give you direct feedback,” Ungerleider said.
Does she miss the west coast, port city of her youth?
“I think it helps to feel that nostalgia if you leave it and go away,” Ungerleider said. “Also I’ve been coming back to visit in the summers; I walk around and, of course, cities change constantly, especially Vancouver.
“But what I find amazing is how similar it is ... everywhere I go there’s some kind of memory, so when I show my son, it’s like these layers of memory.”
Oh Susanna, March 21, doors at 6 p.m., show at 8 p.m. All ages, $20 – tickets available at Crazyweed, call 402-609-2530.