PO Box 6605
Evanston, IL 60204
A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Rick Russell
With her second album, Book Of Days, Susan Shore has taken another step toward establishing herself as one of Iowa's hidden treasures. To do this, she has surrounded herself with several of the Midwest's best folk/blues musicians including John Lake on guitars, Al Murphy and Don Stiernberg on mandolins and fiddles, and Al Day and James McCandless helping out with harmony vocals. Her own vocals are remarkable and her tasty guitar playing compliments her voice and songs well.
Some people would call this a country album, but you won't find yourself line dancing to anything on it. Much of Book Of Days has an Appalachian hill country feel to it, sometimes reminiscent of early EmmyLou Harris or Dolly Parton. Seven of the twelve songs were written by Susan and with them she shows her love and respect for the old hill country music. She has managed to fuse her love for this music with modern day sensibilities on two of the strongest songs on the album, "My Old Man" and "Safe Among The Family", which address the age old themes of love and loss. I can close my eyes and hear the ghost of Kate Wolf, on "Across the Great Divide/The Little Waltz", an almost haunting close to the album.
In addition to the self-penned songs, she has managed to collect five fine songs from James McCandless, Al Day, and Nathan Bell. Being an incurable romantic, I especially liked the Al Day song, "Frank & Red" which features beautiful harmonies between Susan and Al Day, and has an almost orchestral feel with a great mandolin and accordion duet by Bob Long and Don Stiernberg.
Susan Shore has created a very pleasant, listenable album that is strong on songwriting, musicianship, and heart; Waterbug Records has proven once again that it is the home for some of the finest singer/songwriters of this generation.
The musicians: Susan (guitar, vocals), Sarah Allen (drums), Marty Christianson (electric bass), Al Day (vocals and guitar), Marc Edelstein (string bass), John Lake (guitars), Bob Long (accordion, organ), James McCandless (vocals), Al Murphy (fiddle, mandolin), Don Stiernberg (mandolin, fiddle).
Edited by Paula Gregorowicz