One of contemporary music's most iconic singer/songwriters, Suzanne Vega, celebrates the remarkable life of another distinguished writer, Carson McCullers, with the release of a new studio album inspired by the novelist entitled 'Lover, Beloved: Songs from an Evening with Carson McCullers" – out now on Cooking Vinyl Australia.
Having long admired McCullers' work since first reading a short story of hers as a teenager, Vega already made the determination at a young age that 'If I ever want to play a character at any point in the future, I could play this woman." On her new album, Vega inhabits McCullers' extraordinary character and renders the life of a woman who, revolted by the politics and racism of her upbringing in the American South, arrived in New York in her early twenties and became one of the literary lights of the 20th century.
'Lover, Beloved" is a collection of ten songs from the musical 'Lover, Beloved: An Evening With Carson McCullers". In the play McCullers is shown at two historical moments that bookend her career: the first, set in 1941, when The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter propelled her to literary fame, and the second shortly before her death, as she movingly reflects on her life and work. The songs, which she co-wrote with longtime friend and theatrical collaborator Duncan Sheik, richly capture the essence of McCuller's insightful words and forward-thinking philosophies on gender and love. 'I feel that McCullers' ideas and thoughts are very modern," Vega says, 'and she incarnates them in a way that other authors don't. She tried to live them and paid a price for it."
The recordings on 'Lover, Beloved"which feature Gerry Leonard's evocative, atmospheric electric guitar playing are set on a beautiful bed of acoustic, piano, bass, drums, accordion, trombone and clarinet. That McCullers herself was an accomplished, classically trained pianist and that the lyricism of her writing reflects that innate musicality – only further enhances the shivery dynamic between words and music on the album.
'Lover, Beloved: Songs from an Evening with Carson McCullers" out now on Cooking Vinyl Australia