By Cassie Jones
Photo courtesy of Amy Dickerson
Suzy Bogguss, a Country Music Association (CMA), Academy of Country Music (ACM) and Grammy Award-winning vocalist is set to release her latest album, “Lucky” featuring 12 songs written by Merle Haggard.
One of the things that makes a great songwriter is their ability to be a great storyteller.
Suzy Bogguss, a Country Music Association (CMA), Academy of Country Music (ACM) and Grammy Award-winning vocalist, has proven herself to be just that.
So, it is no surprise that her latest project, “Lucky” features 12 songs written by Merle Haggard, one of the greatest storytellers in country music history. He is also someone who has had an impact on Bogguss from early on in her career.
“Somewhere Between”, released in 1989, was the name of Bogguss’ first album, and was also her first chart-topping single. It was written by, none other than, Merle Haggard.
“The last few years I feel like everything has kind of come full circle,” Bogguss said during an interview this week. She has been getting requests from fans over the years wanting a copy of “Somewhere Between.”
Bogguss said she thought about doing a live version of the song but did not want to take away from the original.
When considering what material to use on her new album Bogguss kept thinking about “how many amazing songs” Merle Haggard has written over the years.
“I just wanted to sing his songs,” said Bogguss.
She and the band started working on a cover of “The Bottle Let Me Down”, weaving it in to some of their sets. They were surprised about how well that song was received by the audience.
When Bogguss and her husband, Doug Crider, began talking about her next project they started contemplating how many Haggard songs to include. Finally Doug asked, “Why not do a whole album of Merle songs?”
When asked if it was a lot of pressure to make these songs her own, Bogguss replied, “I wish I could say I worked really hard but Merle’s melodies are really smooth -like ‘butter’. I combed through a lot of material when I was trying to choose which songs to use.”
The two that were most difficult for her to cut were “The Bottle Let me Down” and “You Don’t Have Very Far to Go”, predominantly because a female artist had already cut each of these songs.
“Emmylou (Harris) did a beautiful version of “The Bottle Let Me Down” and I did not want to take away from that version.”
Of Bogguss’ interpretation of the song, “You Don’t Have Very Far to Go”, she said, “I just wanted this track to be tender and harsh at the same time. I wanted the acoustics to be softer and the steel guitar to show the vulnerability in the lyrics.”
Obviously, there was a fair amount of pressure to do the songs on this album justice. “But I just did not want to play into that,” Bogguss said. “I did not want to over think it.”
Instead, she and her band sat down at her home studio and they cut this album like a family.
“I would cook for them and we would cut tracks for awhile. Then we would take a break and eat together, and then go back to work.”
As for the name of the album—”Lucky”— Bogguss says the name literally jumped out at her.
Haggard had two songs with the name lucky in the title. “I Always Get Lucky With You” and “Twinkle Twinkle Lucky Star”.
Both of these were written in more of the swingy style she likes.
“I was sitting at the table reading the paper and the word ‘lucky’ seemed to jump right off the page. I went upstairs and told Doug, ‘Lucky’ is going to be the name of my new album.”
Boggus has several performances lined up here at home to promote “Lucky” just released Tuesday. This Friday she will be playing at 3rd & Lindsley at 8 p.m.
“I am excited to play 3rd & Lindsley with the new configuration and remodel. I think it will be like a “this is your life” party and I look forward to seeing old friends and people I haven’t gotten to work with in awhile.”
Bogguss has called Williamson County home for the last 25 years.
As a mom, she has been able to create balance over the years between family and career.
“I slowed down for a long time”, she said. “First Ben, (her son) was on the road with us. Then once school started I took it a little easier, doing a few less shows. I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t just making him fit into my life.”
“He shunned music for a long time and now that he has gone off to college, he has started picking up instruments. I think he is figuring out that the musicians get the girls.”
Posted on: 2/6/2014