Songwriter and engaging performer, Susan Werner brings sassy wit and classic Midwestern charm to Thrasher
On Friday, August 16 at 7:30 p.m., Susan Werner will bring her Midwestern charm and acclaimed live performance to the historic Thrasher Opera House in Green Lake. Werner was raised in rural Iowa but began her professional music career in Philadelphia, after studying classical voice at Temple University. Inspired by a Nanci Griffith concert, Werner left behind her opera training and began performing as a singer-songwriter at coffeehouses throughout the northeast. Now a highly acclaimed singer-songwriter, Werner returns to Thrasher promoting with her 14th cd, Hayseed (2013).
Throughout her expansive career, boundless versatility has emerged as a hallmark of Werner's talent, and has proven to be a quintessential ingredient of her engrossing musical persona. All Music Guide raves that Werner is a "songwriter and musician who is in such complete command of her gifts that it's almost scary."
Hayseed (2013) is another example of that versatility. This kickstarter-funded project and resulting CD are working to preserve and strengthen family size farms in her home state of Iowa, foster organic agriculture and develop new perennial and sustainable crops for the climate and conditions of the future. She again keeps her audiences guessing and laughing simultaneously, lending her wry humor and passionate voice to subjects such as farmer’s markets, agrochemicals, climate change, drought, longing for a sense of place, and the movement towards sustainable agriculture. The characters and perspectives are varied and colorful, the lyrics are prickly as thistles, and all in all Susan Werner's new music is a rollicking hayride of a listen!
Werner is a farmer’s daughter herself and well acquainted with the trials and tribulations of American farm life. Her keen perspective led to the creation of the varied cast of characters that populate the album. "I wanted to show that farmers are just like everyone else,” she says with a laugh, "Honest, hardworking, kind, generous, resentful, and murderous.” Underneath its glib, satirical wash, Hayseed is tender and benevolent, an homage to her upbringing. "Growing up on a farm is part poetry and part child labor,” she jokes - "but it’s the landscape, the land itself, your love for that that stays with you – the fields, the fences, the creek. And I’ve found you can love a place as much as you can love a human being.” After all, it seems a pastoral childhood is what drove Werner to music in the first place. "I started playing guitar when I was little, and everyone in my family can play and sing. Maybe its part genetic – I suspect my family is wired for it. But if you’re alone out there on the prairie – well, playing music is a pretty good way to spend a couple hours. And, if you hit a few wrong notes – well, nobody’s gonna hear you.” For more information about Susan and the Hayseed Project, visit wwwsusanwerner.com.
This project is supported by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts and the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation, with additional sponsorship provided by CHN and CHN Wellness. Accommodations provided by the Heidel House Resort & Spa.