Suzanne Vega at the Queen’s Hall was a rare chance in Edinburgh to catch up with one of the most gifted songwriters of the past 30 years or so, and a chance to catch up with old songs, not so old songs and brand new material from the soon to be released “Lover Beloved – Songs From An Evening With Carson McCullers” album.
With opening support from “My Girl The River” (more information on that set below) this 90 minute or so set from Suzanne gave us well loved classics like “Marlene On The Wall”, “Luka”, “Left of Centre”, “Small Blue Thing” and a wonderful re-working of “Tom’s Diner” to the obvious delight of a packed out Queen’s Hall audience.
As these songs show, Suzanne Vega is a master story teller who notices, like all the great writers, those little things that we all do in our daily lives but rarely pay much attention to, remembers them, and re-weaves them into pictures in music. “Gypsy” and “The Queen and The Soldier” were other great examples of this almost magical ability to tell a story in words and song.
Some newer songs here too, the retelling of the story of “Jacob and The Angel” and the very spiritual in essence “Crack in the Wall”.
This tour is called “Lover Beloved”, and the new album out October 14th features 10 songs about the life of Southern Gothic writer Carson McCullers who wrote amongst other works, “The Member of The Wedding”, “The Ballad of The Sad Café”, “The Heart is The Lonely Hunter” and “Reflections in A Golden Eye”. 8 out of 10 of these new songs have been written with writer Duncan Sheik (Spring Awakening), and they form part of a larger project for 2017 about Carson McCullers. Tonight, we got to hear some of these songs, and “New York Is My Destination, “Harper Lee”, “We of Me”, “Annemarie”, and the title track “Lover Beloved” show just how inventive and rewarding the partnership of David Sheik’s music with Suzanne Vega’s lyrics has been. Other songs on the album were written with Michael Jefry Stevens.
The range of musical styles and skillful use of lyrics of the new material continue to show that Suzanne Vega is simply one of the very best writers around at the moment with an incredibly delicate touch to her work.
On stage with Suzanne was Gerry Leonard, a Dublin born guitarist whose warm and skillful playing added greatly to the sound of the evening.
Suzanne Vega was kind enough to do a short telephone interview recently with us about the new album and tour. You can read it at
For more information on the album and tour visit
Opening the show was the duo of Kris Wilkinson Hughes (vocals) from Louisiana and Joe Hughes (bassist – originally from England). Kris Wilkinson is a writer whose work is very much rooted in her Southern roots and her stories and music make her a perfect opening act to Suzanne Vega - particularly as we are exploring in songs on this tour Southern writer Carson McCullers.
My Girl The River have their debut album out now “This Ain’t No Fairy Tale”, and this title track about the 10th anniversary of the Hurricane Katrina hitting Louisiana shows what skillful writers and musicians Kris and Joe are.
Other songs like “American Bride” the story of a family wedding and a treasured family heirloom wedding dress and “The Last Song” are just great examples of how a well crafted song can pull you into a little picture that its creators are letting you see. Also, Kris is a singer with an impressive vocal range and richness of tone.
To find out more visit
Review by Tom King