Suzy Bogguss is moving back to her country roots on her next record but that doesn’t mean she’s abandoning the folk side of her sound.
Her 2011 release of American Folk Songbook showed a different side of the much-honored singer-songwriter who shares in the Grammy Award nomination for Best Folk Album for This One’s for Him: A Tribute to Guy Clark.
“It’s a really nice, comfortable feeling to play the material for people that don’t necessarily know my music,” said Bogguss of the American Folk Songbook, which was inspired when she found an old songbook from her elementary school days.
“While I plan a sequel, I just feel it will carry on. I am not ruling out a sequel because [researching and rethinking the songs] was fun and interesting. If I did it again, I would do it from the same sort of innocence that I took into this project.”
The project has also given her a chance to tour with a more stripped-down team.
“One of the greatest things that happened is that I’ve been able to get back out there and do these shows with a small unit, so we’ve been going to Canada, we’ll go to Europe in the spring,” she said. “We can do that because we’re so low maintenance and we can just go off and do shows that don’t take months and months of planning with a million people involved. “
It’s also given Bogguss the chance to choose where she wants to play at various times of the year, a nice perk that isn’t often available.
Yet as she continues to tour behind American Folk Songbook, she is moving toward writing and collecting music for her next album. The “sweet” quality of her voice can make song selection a bit of a challenge.
“I don’t have the grit in my voice like Bonnie Raitt,” said the Illinois-born and raised Bogguss. “Plus, I have a midwestern diction so I can’t get away with a lot of sliding around vocally, that others can.”
But unlike others, her pure, clear vocals have allowed her to reinvent and reintroduce traditional folk music to an array of audiences.
“I wasn’t trying to move the world with this album,” she said. “I just really wanted people to hear the songs. It feels good to give back in that way.” — Nancy Dunham