Country star Suzy Bogguss comes to Rifle
If you go...
Who: Suzy Bogguss Trio
When: 7 p.m. on Sunday
Where: Ute Events Center
How Much: $27.50. Tickets can be purchased at area City Markets, www.ticketwest.com, or by calling 970-243-8497.
Before Suzy Bogguss was winning Country Music Association awards, Grammys and Academy of Country Music awards, she was listening to her dad’s Merle Haggard 8-track tapes and catching a glimpse into the otherwise off-limits, adult world that classic country music so rawly illustrates.
“I used to think Merle was telling me stories that were a little taboo for a kid,” Bogguss said. “Country music in general felt that way to me, like I was getting a little vision of what it’s like to be an adult. It was dangerously exciting to me.”
Bogguss, a self-described “over-the-top fan” of Haggard, named her first major label album in 1989 “Somewhere Between” after a Haggard song. But 25 years later, she decided that wasn’t quite enough of a tip of her hat.
In February, Bogguss released her latest album, “Lucky,” a collection of Haggard covers. She’s been on tour in support of the album since January, and at 7 p.m. on Sunday, she’s playing a concert at the Ute Events Center in Rifle.
Bogguss said after her 2011 album, “American Folk Songbook,” she wanted to get back to the country side of her voice — the side that the masses fell in love with in the early ‘90s with such hits as “Outbound Plane,” “Drive South” and “Letting Go.”
“At first I thought, ‘Why would I do this?’” Bogguss said of the covers album. “Merle is doing Merle just fine. But he’s writing songs about the human experience. He just knows how to get to the heart of our relationships. When I’m singing these songs, I feel like I’m doing little plays, and I’m taking on a character. It’s really fun.”
With such a huge catalog of songs to choose from, Bogguss had some criteria to help narrow down her selections for “Lucky.”
“It had to be ones that he had written,” Bogguss said. “And I wanted to have some kind of connection to each song, whether it was the story of the song or that the melody fits me perfectly. I wanted to find the ones I thought I could be most convincing on when I sang.”
She must have succeeded, because the album garnered praise from Haggard himself. Bogguss said she was “hyperventilating” during the phone conversation when Haggard gave his seal of approval, saying he appreciated that she brought her own interpretations to his classics.
Some of the tracks she chose are such favorites as “Silver Wings,” “Tonight The Bottle Let me Down” and “Today I Started Loving You Again,” one of Bogguss’ personal favorites.
“It’s kind of a bittersweet feeling,” she said of the song. “Sometimes we lose touch with each other, and today I started loving you again, so let’s make up.”
While Bogguss was most widely known during the ‘90s when she was signed to Capitol Records, she has been releasing music on her own label, Loyal Dutchess, since 2003 with the help of her husband, Doug Crider, a renowned sound engineer and songwriter.
“Lucky” was recorded in Bogguss’ home studio, but she used Kickstarter to fund a publicity campaign for the record. The project had more than 10,000 backers, allowing Bogguss to pay a public relations firm to help spread the word about her album. She said there were two write-ups in Rolling Stone magazine, and she was able to perform at South by Southwest (SXSW), a music festival in Austin, because of this publicity.
“I had a very positive experience with [Kickstarter],” Bogguss said, adding that she may use the crowd funding service again in the future. “It just depends on who I’m trying to reach for the next project.”
Bogguss said while this was her first time using Kickstarter, she used crowd funding the old-fashioned way when she was trying to release her very first record in 1981. She said she would announce at her shows that she was accepting loans from audience members, and she would pay everyone back when she sold the record.
Bogguss went to Illinois State University to study art, but during her time in college, she would play guitar and sing in coffee shops at night or get hired for weddings. She said one of the turning points in her life actually occurred when she and a friend came to Colorado to busk in the streets of Boulder. When she realized she could make up to $50 an hour just playing music on a corner, she started to take her future as a performer more seriously.
Now, performing is Bogguss’ favorite part of being a musician. Her only son is in college now, so she’s freer to go on long tours. She said she’ll be on the road her whole life.
“That’s me,” Bogguss said. “I’m that person. I just want to play music.”
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