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Oh Susanna : Maze, Nottingham, 4/12/2012
Author: Dave Goodwin
Published: 06/12/2012

Once again we tread the cold, dark streets of Nottingham. As we tootle up the Mansfield Road on a really bitter and frosty evening, there is a different atmosphere in the air. It is Sunday night. and it is very, very cold. So what you might ask brings us out to an unlikely venue for tonight's trip, and something away from the norm for us?

We've come to The Maze, just a stone's throw north up the A60 from the world's best city. Now, I'm pretty used to The Maze.I have spent a lot of nights photographing bands here for festival auditions and the like, but I must admit that this one has intrigued me. We've come out to see Canadian singer-songwriter Suzie Ungerleider, who is otherwise known as Oh Susanna.

The Maze is usually home to absolutely anything from ska to heavy rock to thrash and punk, but tonight I hardly recognise the place as it laid out with tables and chairs. No sooner have we taken our seats than the music is under way. With just the lady herself and her guitar, she seems a little bare on the Maze's somewhat small and stark stage, but as soon as she starts singing not only the stage but the whole of the Maze is full.

Suzie has a hell of a voice for such a small lady. She has a warm and beautiful country-folk style. Her acoustic set is split into two halves, and during it she treats the small but attentive crowd to most of the tracks from her sixth and latest album, 'Soon the Birds'. With the voice of an angel, she glides through the first set in a laidback style that might mislead you into thinking that butter wouldn't melt in her mouth. But, like all things, there is another side to this lady as she herself exclaims a little way in, "So, what are we going to do? Okay, I thought I would start you off with something easy before we get to the darker stuff."

We didn't have to wait long. Just as she brings the first set to a close Oh! Susanna leads us into one of the new songs, 'By Rope', in which she tells the tale of a young man forced by starvation to turn to a life of crime robbing stagecoaches and trains. The trouble was that his family in the end had " come much too late for by rope I am hanged". And then as she closes the first set with 'See What Promises Can Bring', she leads us further into the murk with the line "And you're carrying his baby/But you don't give a shit what they say." It is intriguing stuff for a Sunday night.

The second set gets a little darker still, but also has the odd lighter moment to prove that she is not all doom and gloom. Each song has a story to tell and she usually introduces it with a little anecdote, a little insight into how the track and the lyrics come about, which is, if I dare say, something to do with Suzie's lively past.

All in all, a night to warm the cockles on. Tales were told. Confessions given. There was a laugh here and there with a pint or in Oh! Susanna's case a tipple of red. The only thing missing was the burning log fire.

Set List:

Millions of Rivers
Back Dirt Road
Pretty Face
Sleepy Little Sailor
River Blue
By Rope
Little White Lies
Greyhound Bus
See What Promises Can Bring

Pretty Penny
Your Town
Miss Liberty
Lucky Ones
Long Black Train
You'll always Be
Right By Your Side
Down By the Quarry
Drunk as a Sailor

Thanks to Rebecca for the information.

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