State Theatre of Ithaca - Ithaca, NY
With a heady blend of precision punk and serpentine classic rock (the band has drawn comparisons to everyone from the Pixies and Sonic Youth to Elvis Costello and Tom Petty), enigmatic, Texas-based indie pop outfit Spoon went from underground press darlings to one of the genre's premier commercially and critically acclaimed alternative rock acts. Formed in Austin by singer/guitarist Britt Daniel and drummer Jim Eno, Spoon released its debut EP, Nefarious, on the small Texas imprint Fluffer Records in 1994, eventually re-recording three of the songs for its 1996 full-length debut, Telephono, for Matador. The album was noisy, hook-filled, and generally well-received, but it wasn't until 1997's Soft Effects EP that the group began to hone in on the tight, minimalist pop that would become its forte. A brief and tumultuous affair with Elektra Records began in 1998 with the release of A Series of Sneaks, and quickly ended after the band was dropped in the midst of an internal company shakeup (the record was reissued in 2002 on Merge with two bonus tracks that chronicled the group's disappointment with major-label politics).
Girls Can Tell It was with prominent indie label Merge that the band would go on to carve out its niche in the increasingly widening modern rock mainstream, specifically with Girls Can Tell (2001) and Kill the Moonlight (2002) (the latter spawned the single "The Way We Get By," which appeared on the popular teen drama The O.C.), both of which found the group taking a more adventurous approach with its sound. Released in 2005, Gimme Fiction soared even higher, debuting at number 44 on the Billboard charts and selling over 160,000 copies, while 2007's Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga made it to number ten and sold over 300,000 copies in the U.S., topping nearly every major critic's year-end list. Spoon, who by this time had become a fixture on soundtracks, television programs, and late-night talk shows, released its seventh full-length album, Transference, on January 18, 2010. It debuted at number four on the Billboard 200. The band then took an extended hiatus of nearly four years, before resurfacing in 2014 with the announcement of another new album, Spoon's eighth.
The Dock - Ithaca, NY
"We never really consciously have a plan of action. If you call a plan of action 'just get better,' then that's the plan we went with for this album."
So says The Pack A.D. drummer Maya Miller of the process that led the hard-slogging East Vancouver duo to its fifth album and Nettwerk debut, Do Not Engage. And it's hard to disagree. Long celebrated on the fringes of Canada's endlessly fruitful indie-rock scene as a feral live act non pareil and a band destined to eventually make that one record that finally puts it over the top, The Pack A.D. has delivered the album that should finally, genuinely – yes – put it over the top. The tirelessly hard-working and hard-touring duo of guitarist/vocalist Becky Black and powerhouse drummer Miller doesn't even consider Do Not Engage as a fifth recording, in fact; it's moved so far beyond the primal banshee-blooze of its first two albums, 2007's debut Tintype and 2008's Funeral Mixtape, that they no longer considers them part of their catalogue. "I don't count the first two anymore as they feel so far away from what we do now," Miller told the Vancouver Province earlier this year.
Miller's selling The Pack's past achievements a bit short in that statement, but whatever. Black and Miller have pretty much lived in their van for the past six years – two vans, actually, as the first succumbed to exhaustion on the point of disintegration after steering them to a couple hundred shows within the year between 2010's noticeably focused step up, We Kill Computers, and 2011's exceptional Unpersons (accurately described to the Toronto Star by Miller at the time as "a really loud, fun punk record"). But, with Do Not Engage, The Pack A.D. did indeed get better. Much better. Much harder, much nastier, more versatile and much more confident.
Lead single "Battering Ram" maintains a tether to the stormy alterna-Delta dystopia from whence The Pack first sprang. But the band's repertoire has expanded to take in the churlishly infectious stoner-rock of "Creeping Jenny," the bittersweet pseudo-shoegaze ache of "Airborne" and the post-Pixies retro-grunge fuzz of "Big Shot," which sounds like Weezer being joyously molested back in the day by Babes in Toyland and Hole at the same time. "Rocket," for its part, proffers a concise picture of how far The Pack A.D.'s self-imposed program of conscientious self-betterment has brought them: it announces Black and Miller's arrival as nuanced, pop-savvy arrangers and masters of dark lyrical wit, and also Black's maturity into a heart-tugging emotive singer.
"We've been getting more straight-up rock, I think, and I guess a little weirder," says Miller. "It's sort of a natural evolution, how we've changed," adds Black, crediting some of the new record's advances to a habit shared with Miller of "listening to too much psych-rock and zoning out. I really like that genre of music."
"I guess some bands never change but, I don't know, I think most bands do. You've gotta keep trying new things or it's just boring."
Do Not Engage reunites The Pack A.D. with Detroit producer Jim Diamond (White Stripes, Electric Six, The Mooney Suzuki, Dirtbombs), a friend-turned-collaborator who insisted upon working behind the boards for Unpersons – a record that would go on to earn the band its first Juno Award nomination in 2013 for "Breakthrough Group Of The Year" – and has proven himself something of an ideal "ghost" third member by coaxing Black and Miller to their finest work yet on Do Not Engage. Within the bleak confines of a converted Motor City chicken-processing plant, no less.
"He's very easy to work with," says Miller. "He really gets us. All his instincts are very much anything that we would think of at any given time. We're all sort of organically working together and it's really easy. It's just like friends hanging out. We didn't go out looking for a producer, let's put it that way. That came naturally. We were friends first and it kinda went from there, and that's how we try to approach everything with our music."
"We like the same things, I think," adds Black. "We have the same ideas. He likes to bring out a lot of low end and every choice that he makes, I'm like: 'Yeah, that's a great idea.' There's a good connection there, I guess."
With its most confident and original recorded calling card to date now in hand ("Let's put it this way," says Miller wryly, "I don't hate this album yet, and I usually hate them fairly quickly") The Pack A.D. will continue to do what it has relentlessly done since the beginning – albeit this time on a larger, more international scale.
"We're probably gonna tour this one even harder," says Miller.
"We record an album and then we kinda have nothing to do except tour," affirms Black. "This is our only job. We're itching to tour."
The Haunt - Ithaca, NY
Age policy: 16+ with ID / under 16 with a parent or guardian
For over a decade, Orgone has been steaming up nightclubs and drenching the largest music festivals in the country in sweat. Serving a cold-blooded concoction of deep soul, rare funk, and afro-disco with a raw rock star edge that is uniquely LA, Orgone’s music grabs you by the collar, pulls you to your feet, and shoves you out onto the dance floor. Tough, sexy, and adventurous, this sonic muscle car shifts through multiple gears from slyly slinky to seismically cinematic, while remaining spacious and uncluttered. eMusic says: “Their music is terrifically unfussy, big slabs of grizzled R&B, greasy as fatback, and thick as a very particular kind of smoke.” For their searing live performances and warm, dirty homegrown recordings, Orgone has been called “One of the heaviest acts we’ve heard in years” by Dusty Groove America.
The band is a symbiosis of eight seasoned musicians, at the core of which are keyboardist Dan Hastie and guitarist Sergio Rios who started creating classic sounds as green teens brought together by a mutual affinity for raw soul recordings. Members of Orgone have collaborated/performed with the Roots, Al Green, Gil Scott-Heron, Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, Breakestra, Thievery Corporation, and the Monophonics. As tight in the studio as they are on stage, …as the backing band on Cee Lo Green’s multiple Grammy Award-winning track “Fool for You” and Alicia Keys’ “As I Am” album.
Up front and unmistakable is Adryon de Leon, Orgone’s lightning rod, whose hearty, agile vocals are an intoxicating foil to the gritty intensity of the band. Orgone is currently getting their hands dirty in KillionSound, their Fortress of Soulitude, injecting the pure, passionate heat of their live sound into wax. Throughout this year, the band will maintain a strong touring presence while tantalizing crowds with new material from their upcoming album, which will be released into the wild in the Fall of 2014.
Water Street Music Hall - Rochester, NY
16+ w/ ID
The Haunt - Ithaca, NY
Age policy: 16+ with ID / under 16 with a parent or guardian
There are many kind of stitches: seams to secure sleeves into armholes... sutures closing wounds and deep incisions... loops or crosses of embroidery floss... a sudden pain in the side. Stitches, the new album from Califone, touches on all these definitions, its episodes of discomfort and healing rendered with exquisite beauty and craftsmanship.
Intimate timbres—garage sale drum machines, slack guitar strings, hushed vocals—offset the album's cinematic inclinations. The listener moves through a landscape of Old Testament blood and guts, spaghetti Western deserts and Southwestern horizons, zeroing in on emotions and images that cannot be glanced over. Motes of dust dance briefly in afternoon sunlight.
"This is the only record I've made in my life where none of the work was done in Chicago," says Califone's Tim Rutili. The writing and recording began in Southern California, then continued in Arizona and Texas. "Those dry landscapes and beaches and hills and shopping malls all made it into the music," he acknowledges. Uniquely homespun elements are interwoven into the songs, too, including sounds Rutili recorded in his backyard during rainfall and while driving in his car.
Brass, pedal steel, and strings color in the edges and outlines songs like "Frosted Tips," "We Are A Payphone," "Moonbath.brainsalt.a.holy.fool" and "Moses," yet Stitches is no Ennio Morricone-meets-Cecil B. DeMille pastiche. Gritty electronics, the mesmerizing thrumming of tablas, and eerie keyboards also pepper these ten new selections. A cartographer could spend lifetimes mapping the terrain of Stitches.
Archetypes and mythological figures rub shoulders with bruised civilians throughout this odyssey. Though Rutili is not a religious man, episodes from the Bible in particular kept entering his psyche as he wrote. "I'm fascinated with why some stories and characters resonate and last for thousands of years, and are so easily transposed onto all our lives and rites of passage, no matter how absurd or surreal they are."
Rutili has not been idle in the years since the release of Califone's critically acclaimed 2009 album All of My Friends Are Funeral Singers. He wrote scripts and painted and collaborated on the music for several films, including the score for the 2012 documentary Beauty Is Embarrassing and the Starz TV series BOSS. He lost a few band members and stopped all Califone activity for about a year. "Then one day I woke up and started writing songs again."
At first he churned out a lot of songs that didn't make the cut. He kept moving. The larger themes that would eventually reach fruition on Stitches began to emerge. "During this process, I started to really look at myself and find a clearer, more honest voice," he reveals. "I forced myself to write as much as possible. I allowed myself to be crabby and vulnerable as much as I could stand it... and slowly the songs got better."
Eventually Rutili commenced recording with Griffin Rodriguez in Los Angeles, Michael Krassner in Phoenix, and Craig Ross in Austin, along with a raft of guest musicians. "We treated each song as its own particular planet. Bringing in different people and recording in different places helped bring some tension to the whole thing. I wanted this to be a more schizophrenic record, stitching together conflicting textures and feels." Rutili's old Red Red Meat colleague Tim Hurley stayed with him for a few months and they recorded together for the first time since Califone's eponymous 1998 debut EP.
In some regards, Stitches harks back to those earliest days of Califone. There was more home recording, and musicians came and went as the songs dictated. "It was a much more solitary process, and that freed me up to feel less self-conscious about singing and writing more personal lyrics." Yet the ultimate outcome sounds like the work of an artist reborn. "I tried to keep the songs visual and poetic, but it was more important to allow myself to feel and be vulnerable and not hide in the music," Rutili says. "Instead of writing from my balls and brain, this time I wrote from the nerves, skin, and heart."
Stitches—the word and the album—can mean different things to many people. Your own interpretations are welcomed and encouraged.
The Haunt - Ithaca, NY
with Big Mean Sound Machine
Age policy: 16+ with ID / under 16 with a parent or guardian
As practitioners of a “non-traditional” interpretation of afrobeat for more than a decade, Chicago Afrobeat Project frequently reinvents itself within a genre first pioneered by Fela Kuti. The group’s latest release Nyash Up!” shows the group redefining their signature version of afrobeat by incorporating elements of hip-hop, orchestra-like musical arrangement, and stylistic explorations of rock, jazz and funk.
In 2014, the group ups the ante by collaborating with master afrobeat drummer Tony Allen on a studio release slotted for late in the year. The two artists first collaborated in 2013 on a series of Midwest summer concerts and plan to work together in the U.S. in summer 2014 as well.
As a genre, the success of the Broadway musical Fela! and a growing interest in the music has made afrobeat a widely-known sound around the world. Elements of the music are pushing their way further into more diverse and mainstream outlets with a widening array of successful artists such as The Roots, Janelle Monae, Vampire Weekend and drawing influence from the sound.
Chicago Afrobeat Project embarked as one of the first nationally touring American bands to take the sound to the masses. The band has mastered a sound that weaves the uniqueness of the Chicago music scene with a distinct western-influenced Nigerian style of music. The group performed with Seun Kuti (son of the late Fela Kuti) and featured Sahr (the original actor portraying Fela in the Broadway musical) as a part of the official Fela! musical kick off party in Chicago. In the past with artists the group has performed with notables such as Bill Kreutzman of the Grateful Dead, Jeff Parker of Tortoise, Paul Wertico, Steve Kimmock, Sugar Blue, Howard Levy, and many others.
Chicago Afrobeat Project channels this immense momentum to every performance. The band’s reputation as delivering a stellar live performance translates to group’s new “Nyash Up!” album as well, with critics clamoring that it’s the groups best studio record to date.
The Haunt - Ithaca, NY
with Body Language & 2001
Age policy: 16+ with ID / under 16 with a parent or guardian
RUBBLEBUCKET: A BIOGRAPHICAL SOMETHING
Rub-ble-buck-et [ru-bul-buck-it] Noun 1. A vessel in which workers collect waste materials on a construction site; We need a rubblebucket for all this rubble. 2. A wild art-pop band from Brooklyn, NY; I'm jonesing for the new Rubblebucket album ‘Survival Sounds’. 3. The condition of having hard nipples, or riding a mean yes wave; He has great Rubblebucket. Verb 4. The act of uncrossing one’s arms and letting loose, while strange, new feelings and sounds flood mind and body, leading to uncontrollable dancing, possible injury and definite sweat; Man, we really put the rubble in the bucket last night.
My experience with Rubblebucket goes way back – to the summer of 1987, when I was born and first met lead singer and baritone saxist Kalmia Traver, then four. Kalmia was already well on her way to being a multi-instrument prodigy (penny whistle, recorder, alphabet burping), and I was already drowning in the ginormous shadow that she cast just by breathing. When she put our brother in a dress, blonde wig and heels, let me put on his lipstick, then forced his elastic micro-limbs into a diva pose, I knew she was a natural performer. Kalmia met Alex Toth (band leader, trumpeter, guy, brother-from-another-mother, Jersey) in a latin jazz combo in Burlington, VT. I’m assuming she also dressed him in drag, because he liked her and they became friends, painting the town with their loud horn playing. In 2006, they moved to Boston, where they did respectable things for money. Kalmia nude modeled for art classes, and Alex was hustling marching band gigs at $50 a pop, for which he was required to wear a black shirt and march around for six hours at a time OR NO PAY NO WATER NO DINNER. It was like that scene in Oliver Twist. Naturally, out of this hot, tarry, magical, broke-ass time, Rubblebucket emerged like a huge, slippery, post-afrobeat baby. Alex had met trombonist Adam Dotson at one of these marching gigs, and the three began composing and playing the first songs in Rubblebucket’s repertoire. Soon, they were joined by three more friends – guitarist Ian Hersey, drummer Dave Cole, and 15-seater van Puppy – and started taking the Rubblebucket show on the road. The first time I heard Rubblebucket perform live, two things happened: I realized this was the coolest thing on earth, like the lovechild of a unicorn and the Tom Tom Club, and I asked them if I could sell their merchandise at shows. You know what they say – those who can't do, sell merch. Night after night, standing behind that table of CDs, thongs and beer cozies, while Rubblebucket transformed the crowd from a skeptical wall of people into one big, happy, silly, jiving, open-hearted mass was an unforgettable experience. Their music does that – it just does. You can’t know it until you see it. And everyone who sees it, knows it. Like Paste, who said it best: “music that will make anyone with a pulse dance.” (I’ll annotate this by extending it to you pulse-less readers. You, zombie. I know you’re out there.) The Rubblebucket condition has spread, melting cares in its way. It barges in like an escaped rhino and triggers everyone, everywhere, to let loose and feel. Arm-crossing be damned! I’ve been to many Rubblebucket shows. But it wasn’t until I was mid-crowd in NYC’s Bowery Ballroom and heard a guy in front of me say to his friend “the singer looks so hot tonight” (but? Gross? That’s my sister?) that I knew Rubblebucket had made it. The experts will tell you that, actually, this was when they released their 2011 album Omega La La, with its headlining tracks “Came Out of Lady” and “Silly Fathers,” and reached a whole new, larger audience. Or, when they flew out to LA to play on Jimmy Kimmel Live, and got free pizza and Alex almost puked backstage. Or, when their song “Came out of a Lady” appeared in the movie Drinking Buddies, and I was suddenly one giant leap closer to meeting Anna Kendrick (that’s when I knew I had made it). Or, when their green rooms started stocking guacamole. Or, when their 2012 and 2013 EPs Oversaturated and Save Charlie introduced fans to the next and the next evolution of Rubblebucket, and more and more people fell in love. Now, much to my drool and dire impatience, the band is hovering on the knife’s edge of their next highly anticipated album release, Survival Sounds (Communion Records, Aug. 2014). Prepare yourself, universe.
Rubblebucket is many things and nothing at all; it’s a mindset, a legend, a feeling, a mystery; a mischievous, playful, boundary-smashing blast of sound that you can sit still and wonder at, or turn off your mind and move wildly to. Or both at the same time. As Kalmia said, when she handed me one of her now-famous peanut butter, cheddar cheese, cabbage, honey tacos, “This is the weirdest, most delicious thing you will ever taste.” And if you won’t take it on my authority, take it on the authority of a small, but reputable publication called Rolling Stone, reporting from Bonnaroo: “Rubblebucket revved up like an indie-rock Miami Sound Machine, dancers, horns and all.” And if you won’t take it on Rolling Stone’s authority, cleave to the words of guitarist Ian: “Our music is like being at a raging party, but in the center of it, there’s this beautiful painting that you’re staring at, trying to wrap your mind around.” Or the words of our dad, Tim Traver: “Kids these days.”
- Mollie Traver
State Theatre of Ithaca - Ithaca, NY
Using their jazz backgrounds, Lake Street Dive combines improv and indie-rock in their original tunes and exuberant live shows. The Boston-based band recently completed their debut album "in this episode..." featuring "Sometimes When I'm Drunk and You're Wearing My Favorite Shirt," Grand Prize winner in the 2005 John Lennon Songwriting Contest. When not performing, Lake Street Dive enjoys badminton and snackfoodery.
The Hangar Theatre - Ithaca, NY
Widely regarded as one of the most brilliant songwriters of her generation, Suzanne Vega emerged as a leading figure of the folk-music revival of the early 1980s when, accompanying herself on acoustic guitar, she sang what has been labeled contemporary folk or neo-folk songs of her own creation in Greenwich Village clubs. Since the release of her self-titled, critically acclaimed 1985 debut album, she has given sold-out concerts in many of the world’s best-known halls. In performances devoid of outward drama that nevertheless convey deep emotion, Vega sings in a distinctive, clear vibrato-less voice that has been described as “a cool, dry sandpaper- brushed near-whisper” and as “plaintive but disarmingly powerful.”
Bearing the stamp of a masterful storyteller who "observed the world with a clinically poetic eye," Suzanne’s songs have always tended to focus on city life, ordinary people and real world subjects. Notably succinct and understated, often cerebral but also streetwise, her lyrics invite multiple interpretations. In short, Suzanne Vega’s work is immediately recognizable, as utterly distinct and thoughtful, and as creative and musical now, as it was when her voice was first heard on the radio over 20 years ago.
Suzanne was born in Santa Monica, CA, but grew up in Spanish Harlem and the Upper West Side of New York City. She was influenced by her mother, a computer systems analyst and her stepfather, the Puerto Rican writer Egardo Vega Yunque. There was a heady mix of multicultural music playing at home: Motown, bossa nova, jazz and folk. At age 11 she picked up a guitar and as a teenager she started to write songs.
Suzanne studied dance at the High School for the Performing Arts and later attended Barnard College where she majored in English Literature. It was in 1979 when Suzanne attended a concert by Lou Reed and began to find her true artistic voice and distinctive vision for contemporary folk. Receptionist by day, Suzanne was hanging out at the Greenwich Village Songwriter’s Exchange by night. Soon she was playing iconic venues like The Bottom Line and Folk City. The word was out and audiences were catching on.
At first, record companies saw little prospect of commercial success. Suzanne’s demo tape was rejected by every major record company—and twice by the very label that eventually signed her: A&M Records. Her self-titled debut album was finally released in 1985, co-produced by Steve Addabbo and Lenny Kaye, the former guitarist for Patti Smith. The skeptical executives at A & M were expecting to sell 30,000 LP’s. 1,000,000 records later, it was clear that Suzanne’s voice was resonating around the world. Marlene on the Wall was a surprise hit in the U.K and Rolling Stone eventually included the record in their “100 Greatest Recordings of the 1980’s.” 1987’s follow up, Solitude Standing, again co-produced by Addabbo and Kaye, elevated her to star status. The album hit #2 in the UK and #11 in the States, was nominated for three Grammys including Record of the Year and went platinum. “Luka” is a song that has entered the cultural vernacular; certainly the only hit song ever written from the perspective of an abused boy.
The opening song on Solitude Standing was a strange little a cappella piece, “Tom’s Diner” about a non-descript restaurant near Columbia University uptown. Without Suzanne’s permission, it was remixed by U.K. electronic dance duo “DNA” and bootlegged as “Oh Susanne.” Suddenly her voice on this obscure tune was showing up in the most unlikely setting of all: the club. Suzanne permitted an official release of the remix of “Tom’s Diner” under its original title which reached #5 on the Billboard pop chart and went gold. In 1991 a compilation, Tom’s Album, brought together the remix and other unsolicited versions of the song. Meanwhile, Karlheinz Brandenburg, the German computer programmer was busy developing the technology that would come to be known as the MP3. He found that Vega’s voice was the perfect template with which to test the purity of the audio compression that he was aiming to perfect. Thus Suzanne earned the nickname “The Mother of the MP3.”
Suzanne co-produced the follow-up album with Anton Sanko, 1990’s Days Of Open Hand, which won a Grammy for Best Album Package. The album also featured a string arrangement by minimalist composer Philip Glass. Years earlier she had penned lyrics for his song cycle “Songs From Liquid Days.” Continuing to battle preconceptions, she teamed with producer Mitchell Froom for 1992’s 99.9F. The album’s sound instigated descriptions such as “industrial folk” and “technofolk.” Certified gold, 99.9F won a New York Music Award as Best Rock Album. Suzanne’s neo-folk style has ushered in a new female, acoustic, folk-pop singer-songwriter movement that would include the likes of Tracy Chapman, Shawn Colvin, and Indigo Girls. In 1997, Suzanne joined Sarah McLachlan on her Lilith Fair tour which celebrated the female voice in rock and pop. She was one of the few artists invited back every year. Suzanne was also the host of the public radio series “American Mavericks,” thirteen hour-long programs featuring the histories and the music of the iconoclastic, contemporary classical composers who revolutionized the possibilities of new music. The show won the Peabody Award for Excellence in Broadcasting.
In 1996, Vega returned with the similarly audacious Nine Objects Of Desire, also produced by Mitchell Froom, who by then was her husband. “Woman On The Tier (I’ll See You Through)” was released on the Dead Man Walking soundtrack. Over the years, she has also been heard on the soundtracks to Pretty In Pink (“Left Of Center” with Joe Jackson) and The Truth About Cats & Dogs, and contributed to such diverse projects as the Disney compilation Stay Awake, Grateful Dead tribute Deadicated, Leonard Cohen tribute Tower Of Song, and Pavarotti & Friends. In 1999, The Passionate Eye: The Collected Writings Of Suzanne Vega, a volume of poems, lyrics, essays and journalistic pieces was published by Spike/ Avon Books. In 2001, she returned to her acoustic roots for her first new album in five years, the critics favorite, Songs In Red And Gray.
In 2007, Suzanne released Beauty & Crime on Blue Note Records, a deeply personal reflection of her native New York City in the wake of the loss of her brother Tim and the tragedy of 9/11. But the record is not a sad one, per se, as her love for the city shines through as both its subject and its setting. In it, Suzanne mixes the past and present, the public with the private, and familiar sounds with the utterly new, just like the city itself. “Anniversary,” which concludes Beauty & Crime, is an understated evocation of that time in the fall of 2002, when New Yorkers first commemorated the Twin Towers tragedy and when Suzanne recalls her brother’s passing. It’s more inspiration than elegy, though: “Make time for all your possibilities,” Vega sings at the end in that beautiful, hushed voice. “They live on every street.” Produced by the Scotsman, Jimmy Hogarth and featuring songs such as “New York is a Woman” and “Ludlow Street,” Beauty & Crime is that rare album by an artist in her third decade; an album that is as original and startling as her first. Beauty & Crime won a Grammy for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical.
In 2006, she became the first major recording artist to perform live in avatar form within the virtual world Second Life. She has dedicated much of her time and energy to charitable causes, notably Amnesty International, Casa Alianza, and the Save Darfur Coalition. Suzanne has a daughter, Ruby, by first husband Mitchell Froom. Ruby, like Suzanne before her, attends the High School for the Performing Arts. Suzanne is married to lawyer/poet Paul Mills who proposed to her originally in 1983. Suzanne accepted his proposal on Christmas Day 2005, twenty two years later.
Suzanne Vega is an artist that continues to surprise. In 2011 in New York City she premiered Carson McCullers Talks About Love, an original play written and performed by Ms. Vega with songs she wrote with Tony Award-winner Duncan Sheik (Spring Awakening) A pioneer among singer-songwriters. Suzanne has also embarked on a project to re-imagine her own songbook in a stripped down and intimate manner, creating 4 new thematic albums that will be released over the course of 2010-2012 called the Close-Up series.
Ms. Vega continues to tour constantly, having just played dates with artists as diverse as Moby and Bob Dylan. Suzanne is planning US and European dates this spring and summer.