The Irish-born singer, who spent half her life in the States, has finally come home with an exploration of American roots-derived music that delves deeply into matters of the heart.
Belong debuted on the American Folk Chart with #1 Song (‘Everything We Had Was Good’) and #11 album. Opening with ‘On the Bridge to Williamsburg,’ a duet with Irish singer-songwriter Declan O’Rourke, ‘Belong’ is Susan at her most personal, charting intimate details of relationships, plotting their trajectories, examining the shards and remnants as though on an archaeological excavation. James Maddock (from Wood) and banjo and accordion player Dirk Powell (Irma Thomas, The Raconteurs, Joan Baez) join Susan for ‘Everything We Had Was Good,’ a break-up song about ending well. ‘The Cure for Me’ was in part inspired by lines from ‘Night Ferry,’ Seamus Heaney’s elegy for poet Robert Lowell. Erin McKeown guests on ‘Fallen Angel.’
In a distinguished career, McKeown has performed with Pete Seeger, Natalie Merchant, Linda Thompson, Billy Bragg, Arlo Guthrie and The Klezmatics. McKeown has recorded mariachi music, klezmer music, African music, Celtic music, and contemporary songwriting. She won a GRAMMY for ‘Wonder Wheel,’ in collaboration with the Klezmatics on lyrics by Woody Guthrie. In 2010, she made ‘Singing in the Dark,’ a fascinating exploration of creativity and madness.
She has performed throughout Europe and North America including Glastonbury, The Edinburgh Festival, Carnegie Hall and Disney Hall. In a concert review, Rolling Stone said, “McKeown grabbed both song and audience by the throat, dragged them through heaven and hell and back again, and left the stage to the loudest applause heard all evening.”
‘On The Bridge To Williamsburg’:
“Absorbing from beginning to end, ‘Belong’ is a trans-Atlantic marvel… Sublime… enchanting… rich sonic diversity… smart lyrics.” –Scripps Howard News Service/Knoxville News-Sentinel
“I just love this woman’s work. I really believe ‘Delph’ is one of the best songs written in the last ten years, truly amazing.” Mike Harding, The Folk Show, UK
“A great songwriter.” Mark Radcliffe, The Folk Show, BBC