An old time Bluesman once put it this way: “The Blues? The Blues is life.”
Saturday, March 19, at Upper Canada Playhouse, three outstanding women, all award winning and acclaimed singer/songwriters, will bring “life to the Blues” at a 7 p.m. concert with the St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage.
Suzie Vinnick, Irish Mythen and Danielle Miraglia are going to thrill audiences as they present what the SLAS is calling a Women’s Blues Revue. “Any one of these blues musicians would make for a spectacular night of music,” said the chair of the SLAS, Sandra Whitworth. “Together they will be a powerhouse.”
Suzie Vinnick, with her guitar, ‘Mabel’, performed at the Stage a few years ago, and is looking forward to returning to Morrisburg.
“I continue to love performing and meeting people,” said the Juno-nominated musician, who has also won several Maple Blues Awards with her extraordinary voice. “Touring brings me in contact with great folks. Every stop is a window into a new place and a totally new experience. Music gives me variety in life.”
Her experiences colour her approach to the Blues.
“The Blues are life,” Vinnick explained. “I once thought the songs were depressing, but this is music that actually makes you feel better. It’s an outlet for emotions, a chance to let go. There can be such humour in the blues as well – such as in a song like ‘Oreo Cookies’ that I’ve sung in my repertoire for 20 years. It makes an audience smile.”
Establishing a strong rapport with an audience is part of Vinnick’s musical charm.
“We need more sunshine in our world,” she said. “I am not a political person, but I will say that in anything I write, the themes tend to be to help with healing, to keep things positive. Love remains a key theme, still dear to my heart. With Hamilton Bluesman Steve Strongman I collaborated on a song called ‘All I Want to Do /Is Have a Whole Lot of Fun With You’. When I perform, I want to put a smile on people’s faces.”
Currently Suzie is working on a new album. “Gestating?” she laughed. “Ideas bubbling under the surface? However, I look forward to performing with Irish and Danielle. I expect a little ‘spontaneous’ collaboration on the stage.”
Irish Mythen, the 2015 winner of the ECMA Roots Album of the Year, has just returned from an Australian tour that saw her perform 75 shows in 91 days. Part of the appeal of a gypsy troubadour life is the opportunity to establish a strong bond with widely disparate audiences.
“I always allow the audience to talk before one of my concerts. I wander around and listen to see what they hope to hear,” Mythen explained, “and then I perform accordingly. I often start with strong numbers, but I open up the show, reacting to the audience.”
Blessed with an incredibly powerful voice that can move audiences to tears and laughter, Irish left SLAS chair Whitworth “completely moved by her performance.”
“I think that I have songs that are emotional, that can really hit home,” Irish explained. “Some of my musical subject matter relates to death and mental issues. But I am also conscious that people want to feel good when they go to a concert, so I may tell a story, or bring in a bit of comedy. To me, it’s a great compliment when people contact me, sometimes weeks after a show, and say ‘I’m still thinking about your songs.’”
Irish does not read or write music.
“I see music in colour. I see and know what should go with what. There is a strong narrative in my music, and I can retain it in my head. Sometimes I feel the music just pours out.”
To Irish Mythen, “Blues is the music of the people, for the people and by the people. It’s emotional, sometimes sad, and often beautifully happy. Part of the excitement of working with Suzie and Danielle will be the discovery of how we fit together on stage. I expect we’ll play both old and new works in the concert.”
Boston-based artist Danielle Miraglia has a sound that Sandra Whitworth describes as a “bit like Bonnie Raitt and Rory Block. We are completely delighted to have her.” Paul Patchel of the State Street Blues Festival described her as a “dynamic and captivating musician.”
Miraglia, nominated for the 2015 Boston Music Award for singer/songwriter of the year, already has two exceptional albums out. With every tour, her reputation as an artist continues to grow with critics and audiences alike.
Danielle has heard her music described as folk, all-rock, blues, alt-country and “I like all of it. It’s a blend of my influences which range from Prince to the Rolling Stones to Mississippi John Hurt.”
Like both Suzie and Irish, Danielle wants to create that strong connection with the audience. “I try to think of it as a conversation. Granted,” she said, “it’s one where I’m doing most of the talking. But the best shows are when there’s an exchange of energy happening.”
As a song writer, she describes herself as something of a pessimist. “A common recurring theme in my writing is darkness and light. But I also like to challenge myself to find the glimmer of hope or humour in even the most horrific life experiences.”
She has a powerful attraction to the Blues. “The Blues, when it’s truly tapped into, is as real as it gets. It’s raw and from the gut and never overly earnest. It’s not just about expressing sadness, it’s about desire – longing for something – whether it’s social justice, love, sex food…all human necessities.”
Performing with Suzie and Irish at the St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage?
“It’ll be a high energy, good time for all.”
Tickets for the Women’s Blues Revue with Suzie Vinnick, Irish Mythen and Danielle Miraglia on Saturday, March 19, 7 p.m, are $20 in advance, $25 at the door. Contact http://www.st-lawrencestage.com/shows.html#WomensBluesRevue for tickets.