Suzie Vinnick

Suzie Vinnick
Me ‘N’ Mabel

By David Wilson
February 2013

An Introduction to Suzie Vinnick:

I first heard Suzie late one Saturday night a few years ago as I lay in a tent during a camping trip to Nova Scotia. The CBC has been broadcasting a Saturday night blues show for as many years as I can remember and while I don’t always get to listen to it when there, I tune in if able. The catch was I missed hearing Suzie’s name and had only two clues which I dutifully wrote down the next morning fully intending to follow up. One clue was that her CD had “Mabel” in its name and the second was she had been nominated for a Juno, Canada’s equivalent of our Grammy awards. When the trip ended and I came back home the note was shuffled into a bunch of other papers and never surfaced. Last fall I heard Suzie live at the Greenfield Blues and BBQ festival in a full 90 minute set and I was hooked. I set about acquiring copies of her two latest CDs, one of which was …

Me ‘N’ Mabel

This was of course the CD I heard played over CBC and Me 'n’ Mabel was a nominee for Blues Album of the Year at the 2012 Juno Awards. While it was not the winner there, it did win the award for Contemporary Singer of the Year at the 2011 Canadian Folk Music Awards. The cut that first got me excited was her take on Percy Mayfield’s “Send Me Someone To Love,” but on listening to the CD, I can not pick a favorite that stays my favorite. I really like the way she handles Dylan’s “Quit Your Lowdown Ways” and Hoyt Axton’s “Never Been To Spain.” Then again I am partial to her own tune, “The Honey I Want.” Of course her songwriting is one of her strong points. Any doubt of that ability is refuted by her twice winning the Maple Blues Award for Best Songwriter and another win in the blues category of The International Songwriting Competition.

All of which makes me wonder why she has not garnered a wider audience here in the states. Her voice is versatile, liquid and smooth one moment, gliding into barbed wire the next, sometimes all in the course of a single verse. Her guitar playing is strong, sophisticated and her incorporation of percussive slaps doubtless evolved from her grounding as a bass player.

She succeeds when singing her own material or covers, which make up most of: Live At Bluesville (SV005)

Although this is a brief program, only eight tunes, her interpretations are fresh, her phrasing is right on and her guitar lines are driving …

From the beginning of Willie Dixon’s “You’ll Be Mine” all the way to the wrap-up on her own unique and moving, “All Night, All Day,” this live studio performance broadcast on B. B. Kings’s Bluesville at Sirius Radio is an intense and stellar solo performance. Suzie often plays as a duo with Rick Fines and there are two of their joint compositions presented here. Add to that Stevie Winwood’s “Can’t Find My Way Home” and you have an effective and satisfying if not extensive set.

CD’s, sample tracks and the latest awards and news are available through Suzies site (below)

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