- Jim Musser, Icon
Susan Shore is a New Jersey expatriate (via New England and Iowa) now living in the Arkansas Ozarks. Susan has been playing guitar, singing and writing songs since early adolescence, and her checkerboard life has included stints as artist's model, commercial artist, cheese slinger, record company mail order manager. She wrote the score for the Boston Shakespeare Company's 1977 production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, studied voice and Gaelic in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and went to Ireland in search of music, which inspired her to arrange Celtic songs and ballads for guitar and voice.
In 1983 Susan joined forces with singer/songwriter Nathan Bell and moved to Iowa, where they began to tour as Bell and Shore. She learned mandolin and harmony singing. The duo's musical influences were all over the map: folk, country, rock, swing. They performed nationally and in Canada, in coffeehouses, concert halls, prisons, nursing homes, major music festivals, television, radio. They released "Little Movies" on the Flying Fish label in 1987 and
"L-Ranko Motel" on ROM Records in 1989. Both albums met with critical acclaim, especially the latter, garnering rave reviews in such publications as Rolling Stone, CD Review, and Tower Records' Pulse! The duo's high-octane performances and Nathan Bell's gritty, literate songs became their trademark. In 1990, after seven years of touring, they called it quits and went their separate ways.
In 1990, Susan founded the performance series Wild Women, which she emceed and which featured music, spoken word, visual art, dance, by women performers and artists from southeast Iowa. The series played to packed houses. Susan also continued performing as a solo artist, and took up the pen again. She began writing songs in earnest, and released her first solo album, "Old 218", in 1995. Two years later, "Book of Days" was released on the Waterbug label to critical acclaim.
Susan continues to perform nationally, having added mainstage performances at The Kerrville Folk Festival, The Woody Guthrie Folk Music Festival, and on syndicated radio shows such as River City Folk on National Public Radio.
Susan proudly uses and endorses Elixir guitar strings.
Some quotable quotes:
"Not only one of Iowa's best musicians, but a singer/songwriter whose combination of formidable natural talent and meticulous, diligent dedication to her art places her among the very best in her field anywhere...By turns steely-eyed and sentimental, pessimistic and hopeful, Shore's complex explorations of life, love and family are remarkable exercises in economy, power and compassion."
- Jim Musser, Icon
"One of Iowa's hidden treasures."
- The Folk and Acoustic Music Exchange
"Shore's charming stage presence, smoothly alluring voice and kick back attitude was a treat."
- The River Cities' Reader
Her voice has been described as "a delight" (Option), as "pure and pretty as that of Emmylou Harris" (Music Row, Nashville); she has "a dynamic, passionate voice of enviable color, facility and accuracy" (Icon); she " sings with enviable strength, grace and clarity...outstanding."
- The Twin Cities Reader
"A gifted songwriter."
- Dirty Linen
About her albums:
"Shore's original pieces are exquisite - the work of a songwriter with rare depth and wisdom who can successfully relate her own Midwestern experiences to a wide, diverse audience."
- The Daily Iowan
Book of Days
"One of the finest folk/bluegrass releases of the year."
"As a work of art, it stands alone."
- Sing Out!
"Townes Van Zandt could write some tunes filled with tragic characters, but Shore...could make mascara run on a rock. Shore also crafts tunes that grip."
- San Antonio Express-News
Book of Days is a terrific achievement, a piece of work that effectively presents Susan Shore's complex world view-a peculiar sort of fatalistic optimism-and remarkable voice-bits of Emmylou Harris, the towering Kate Wolf, the least-quirky aspects of Maria Muldaur and even some of the "Jolene" and "Coat of Many Colors"-era Dolly Parton...To my mind, this ranks among the best records ever to come out of Iowa."
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Check out the artist's website:
1. The Devil's Right Hand
2. Corner of the Sky
3. At My Front Door
4. Blue Is The Color of Regret
5. My Old Friend the Blues
7. Dirty Old Town
8. Poor Woman's Epitaph
10. Shouldn't You Know by Now
11. The Song of Wandering Aengus