A little slow ominous picking of an acoustic guitar here, a little lingering bassline over there. A bit of quaint percussion and some divine vocals that evoke biblical imagery of a simpler kind of man, a people who are only held to the simple standard of love and respect. Fields of tall grass on a hot summer day and sandy beaches that make merry for young lovers lost in each other’s gaze. The loss of that love, the stark reality that is left behind when we pick up the pieces in our consequential fate. These are all segments in the many splendored book of life, but they are also the elements that Suzanne’s Band wants to aggressively explore in the simplest of terms on their gorgeous debut recording, Breathe, a six song extended play from the mind of Texas’ own singer/songwriter Mia Suzanne Walker.
The particular genius of Suzanne’s Band isn’t necessarily the instrumentation of production of this EP, although more than adequately accounted for, but in fact the singular way that Walker commands our focus throughout all six tracks. With gusto that stops short of coming off arrogant, she absolutely dominates the record with her affecting vocals and persuasively catchy songwriting. There is an overwhelming yearning in the piano and guitar throughout the recording that makes me think about one thing more consistently than anything else; how badly we all desire coming full circle in life. To come back to the youthful elegance that was enough to propel us into this scary, unforgiving adult world of relationships and responsibilities. Like the steady drum beat on “Young and Free,” life keeps moving at a steady pace whether we’re ready for the challenges we’re inevitably met with or not. The most profound part of life, as the song reminds us, is that when we get older we get to see things in hindsight, full 20/20 vision, and are met with the juxtaposition of what we would do now and what we did do back then. What a distinction to consider, no? Is that not the driving question of aging pretty much summed up? Were it not for Walker posing the idea, one might think that popular music would be doomed to revisiting the same themes over and over; how much money is there to be made, how much attention can I receive, and on and on with a trite recklessness that threatens the emotional growth of an entire generation.
Anyone who is in search of a deeper connection to life that can only be found through music and the artists who express it with particular grace needs to seek out Suzanne’s Band and Walker’s message of hope in midst of dissonance. She has certainly found a fan in this west coast-living journalist, and I hope to see much more output from her in the years to come.
by Bethany Page