Self-Release – 2014
11 tracks; 43 minutes
Shoestring Sue is from Redwood City, California and is a solo performer who plays acoustic guitar and ukulele. On this CD the emphasis is on blues guitar tunes, in a style which Sue herself calls ‘all original hillbilly acoustic country blues comedy.
With a voice that recalls Joni Mitchell Sue sings of relationships that have gone wrong, strange characters and desperate relationships, mostly imbued with a strongly humorous tone. A good example of the humour is “Take Me Back” in which Sue half sings, half talks about rekindling her relationship – tricky when she also declares “Guess I should have mentioned my commitment to Satanism earlier, it just didn’t seem such a big deal at the time”, “I’m not a kleptomaniac, I just like to steal things” and later mentions that her kids may come to live with them too: “Remember the twins, Tom and Dave, their meth lab burnt down. They’re getting out of prison soon and want to come live with us – won’t that be fun!”
“Dog Food Stew” is almost the reverse scenario as HER ex is back in touch and wants to get back together so she confesses that after he smashed her guitar and treated her badly she gave him dog food stew – “forgiveness is sweet, revenge is cold”. The title track places Sue in a desperate search: “I don’t care what you look like, I’ll take you anyhow, I’m not looking for Mr Right, I need Mr Right Now.”
One can imagine that in concert Sue must put on an entertaining show with her tales of low life relationships but on a recording the limited musical palette does not make for an easy listen. Lyrically there is plenty of dark humour here and Sue’s vocals are clear. Musically there is just the single guitar though Sue can clearly play as she proves in some of the short breaks in the vocal tracks and with the closing “Guitar Doodle” instrumental.
This is certainly a very different CD from much of what we hear at Blues Blast and may well appeal to those whose tastes include a strong sense of humour and acoustic blues.