Oh Susanna's "Right by Your Side" has a keyboard-based groove that would've been right at home on an AM radio in 1971. On her slower numbers, she shows off a meaty voice, sounding a bit like a female Mick Jagger in "Wild Horses" mode. And the only cover on her recent eponymous CD is of an obscure Dylan gem called "I'll Keep It with Mine." Her musical moods tend toward the romantic even if she does muse at one point about the possibility of cutting off an IV drug user boyfriend's arms and feeding them to buzzards and her lyrics are focused and full of sharp country turns of phrase ("Her one big love is now a little white lie").
Oh Susanna is at the Ark on Tuesday, August 24, as part of the club's free Take a Chance Tuesday series. She'll share the stage with another Canadian act, Luther Wright and the Wrongs, and they'll be accompanied by a few acoustic instrumentalists. If you've never tried one of these concerts, they've got a great atmosphere, informal yet informed, that showcases up-and-coming musicians at their best. Bring canned goods to donate to Food Gatherers, and you'll get a raffle ticket for a drawing held at the end of the evening that gives away CDs and other worthwhile things.
[Originally published in August, 2004.]