Suzie Cue is a tiny lady, but don’t let appearances fool you. It would be easy to expect some softly strummed major chords and a mere whisper of a voice, politely asking you to love her. You’d be disappointed. Sure, she seems to practically disappear behind her acoustic guitar before she gets going—just skinny arms and a bubbly yet sarcastic demeanor--but then she begins to play, and it becomes very clear that whatever you were expecting was most definitely wrong. What you get is a thick guitar sound reminiscent of Ani DiFranco’s mid-‘90s heyday mixed with a voice that moves between solid and huge. “Yeah, the most common feedback I get after a gig is ‘I kept trying to figure out where that voice was coming from. Where you hiding that thing, little girl?’ It’s fun—I enjoy the contrast of sounding like a Doberman and looking like a Chihuahua, figuratively speaking, of course,” says Cue.
Cue’s earlier work is a bit dark and heartbroken. Her debut album, 11 Years of Lo-Fi, was independently released in September 2012 and was named one of the Top 50 STL Albums of 2012 by the Riverfront Times. It maintains the size of her more current work sonically, but the newer tunes vary more in their mood. Her sound spans from the older, “sad folk” to the more recent, sassier “mean girl blues” style that she’s moved toward in songs like “Karma Is A Bitch (And So Am I).”
Cue is working on her second album in 2013, tentatively titled Mean Girl Blues. In the meantime, you can catch her around her hometown of Saint Louis, Missouri frequently—hosting a bi-monthly open microphone night and playing music solo, with a back-up band (The Terrible 2s; bass and drums) or with her other band, Drown Fish. If you get the chance to see her live, you should—she’s best known for her between-song live banter. You can get a glimpse of the fun on the last track of her debut album, a live 3-song track. Leicester Bangs describes the set as “a taster of Cue in her natural habitat, charming a crowd and singing her songs.”
Ani DiFranco, Cat Power, Anais Mitchell, Neko Case, Liz Phair, Aimee Mann