Album Review

Sue Garner - Shadyside

Sue Garner - Shadyside

Sue Garner has quietly built one of the most intriguing catalogs in contemporary music. Fish & Roses and Run On remain two of the most sadly underappreciated bands that toiled their way out of New York City in the 1980s and '90s. Besides working together in those outfits, she and her husband Rick Brown recorded the co-billed album Still in 1998, followed two years later by the first album under just her own name, To Run More Smoothly. The newly released Shadyside, produced by Garner and J.D. Foster (whose credits as a producer and player run the gamut from Marc Ribot to Richard Buckner to the True Believers to Dwight Yoakam), had its impetus in her desire to set some of the poetry of Fay Hart to music; four of Hart's poems appear here. The remaining numbers are originals or co-writes, with the exception of a cover of Michael Hurley's "Paint A Design". Garner's musical vocabulary has always fearlessly and honestly drawn from a diverse range of influences -- from cabaret and art songs to downtown sonic experimentation and front porch sing-alongs -- all held together by her singularly confident vision and identity. Her quiet vocals surprise time and again with their true power and finesse.