Saturday, January 9, 2016

Susie Burke & David Surette – Waiting for the Sun

Waiting for the Sun
Madrina Music

Susie Burke, a soprano who sounds great whether she’s singing quietly or powerfully, has been on my list of favorite singers for many years while her husband, David Surette, is a sublime master of the guitar and mandolin. They’ve worked together as a duo for more than 25 years and released several fine recordings, including the excellent Sometimes in the Evening, which I reviewed in Sing Out! Magazine back in 2000.

Susie and David’s latest album, Waiting for the Sun, is a fine effort combining four of Susie’s songs with two of David’s – one of them a nifty instrumental – and four well-chosen covers. The 11th track is an alternate version of Susie’s “Give Me Some Hope.”

The album opens with “Give Me Some Hope,” a slightly jazzy blues song that gives Susie an opportunity to belt with the best of them on top of a swinging arrangement featuring some great picking. The alternate take that ends the album is almost two minutes longer giving David, bassist Steve Roy and drummer PJ Donahue even more room to stretch out.

Among the other highlights is Susie’s “April with the Flying Bow,” a joyous tribute to music making and contra dancing that is one of several songs featuring harmonies by daughters Isa Burke and Juliana Burke. Isa’s fiddle playing is also featured on the song. Another is “Like I Used to Do,” a perceptive piece written by Tim O’Brien and Pat Alger about how life changes as we move into and through middle age.

But my absolutely favorite track is the stunning version of “I Turn to My Guitar,” written by my late friend Jesse Winchester. As I noted in my Montreal Gazette review of Jesse’s album, Love Filling Station, the song “captures the feelings that have led to the creation of so much music by so many people over so many years.” Susie’s singing and David’s instrumental work on the song are simply gorgeous.

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--Mike Regenstreif

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