NEWS: Oh Susanna @ The Cluny 2, Newcastle | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Oh Susanna is singer-songwriter Suzie Ungerleider, an American-born performer who has adopted Canada as both her home and her inspiration.Choosing to perform under the name Oh Susanna rather than her own name (in order to keep her professional and private lives separate), Ungerleider was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013, and has only returned to touring this year after treatment.

I first saw Ungerleider play on a rainy night in Sydney, at the cavernous Bondi Pavilion, as the weather turned torrential. At the time she was pushing her 2003 release, Oh Susanna, but featured material from Johnstown, her debut EP (about the flood of the same name, which claimed two thousand lives). It seemed rather apt as the torrent slammed against the roof of the pavilion.

Ungerleider is a mesmerising performer, an under-rated storyteller, and technically a great singer. She’s one of the few alt-country performers I’ve seen who really knows how to get the best from a microphone, leaning in for volume or whispers, and moving away at full bellow.

As a Canadian, she seems to have soaked up the landscapes of the borderlands, and worked out how to evoke that topography without ever losing track of human emotion.

Ungerleider rarely makes it across the Atlantic, so try and catch her if you can. She’s rather special.

Oh Susanna plays The Cluny 2, Newcastle, on Sunday 25th January.

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