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Oh Susanna - Sleepy Little Sailor (Deluxe edition)

Oh Susanna

Sleepy Little Sailor (Deluxe edition) (2xLP)

Release date: September 18, 2020
Deluxe edition 2lp
Label: Mvka
Americana singer-songwriter Oh Susanna announces the deluxe edition of her stunning critically acclaimed album Sleepy Little Sailor on MVKA. Released on September 4th 2020, the album will be available on CD, Digital and, for the first time, on vinyl. The original 11 songs are accompanied by acoustic recordings of 5 of the songs from the album including the title track, which is shared today. Born in Massachusetts, America, and raised in Western Canada, Suzie Ungerleider began performing under the name Oh Susanna in the mid-1990s, winning instant praise for her debut album Johnstown in 1999, which she remastered and reissued last year to mark its 20th anniversary. Suzie had been quietly working as a clerk at a Vancouver library when in 1996 she self-released a cassette tape of seven songs recorded for just $200, and found herself besieged by music industry executives and agents after performing a tiny set at a local club. With her gloriously emotive, crystalline voice and folk-noir balladry that have drawn comparisons with Gillian Welch, Neko Case, Sarah McLachlan and Tori Amos, Suzie drew support from “Whispering” Bob Harris who championed her on BBC Radio after receiving Johnstown in the post. “I immediately loved it,” he said later, raving about the “heart-tugging emotive quality” of her voice. Van Dyke Parks, Jim White and Booker Prize-winning author Michael Ondaatje have all declared themselves fans; Suzie has supported White as well as Wilco and Whiskeytown. Sleepy Little Sailor brought her considerable critical acclaim in the UK two years later, in 2001. After her intense, concept-style debut album – inspired by the 1889 flood that ravaged the steel city of Johnstown, and redolent of old Appalachian ballads – her captivating follow-up bared all in dreamy late-night rootsy songs showing off a voice that was alternately gutsy and fragile. For every track belted out with gusto, such as “Ted’s So Wasted”, or her heartfelt country-soul version of Otis Redding’s “I’ve Got Dreams to Remember”, there were yet more vulnerable songs telling of obsessive love and loss: “Forever at Your Feet”, “Sacrifice”, “Beauty Boy” and “River Blue”. Some of these songs are given a beautiful reworking on the reissue which contains six previously unreleased acoustic recordings alongside the original album. “River Blue” and “Kings Road” are newly recorded, with producer Jim Bryson, while “Sleepy Little Sailor”, “Sacrifice” and “Beauty Boy” are taken from the original demo sessions with her producer Colin Cripps (Kathleen Edwards). These pared-back acoustic versions highlight both the effortless strength of her bewitching voice and her immense songwriting talent, bringing their haunting power to the fore. Confessional songs such as “Beauty Boy” and “Sacrifice” burn with pure intensity. “The idea of violence and hate being intertwined with passionate love was something that I was experiencing so much in my late teens and twenties,” she reflects on the former. “It is hard to love someone and be loved by someone who wants to hurt you. I needed to sing about that to get through the pain and leave it behind.” On the latter, she recalls being chastised by a lover for not making sacrifices for him. “This declaration scared me because it made me feel like I was supposed to martyr myself in order to keep his love. I wrote the song to express those passionate feelings of wanting someone and longing for them, all the while knowing that you have to give them up for your self-preservation.” Stripping away the electric guitar and Hammond organ, “Kings Road” is imbued with lovelorn tenderness. This reissue shines a light, too, on her compelling storytelling of rich characters, and the finely told darkness within. “River Blue” tells of the long-lasting effect of child abuse on close relationships. “The song is a plea for reconciliation an...
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