Back to You LP by Suzanne’s Band
In the shadow of a ghostly wind, an acoustic guitar begins to play, the voice of one Mia Suzanne Walker not too far behind from its opening salvo of string melodies. This is “Write a Book,” an excerpt from the album Back to You by Suzanne’s Band, and it’s one of the better examples I can point to when talking about the experimentation its lead singer is toying with in her latest release. In her debut EP Breathe, Walker proved she could do some amazing things with the mic in her hand, but here, she takes her craftsmanship to a whole new level of accessibility.
There’s a lot of emphasis on the strings in the songs “Fault in My Stars,” “Passing Me By,” the percussion-powered “Don’t Give Up Yet” and “Wonder When,” and rightly so. There’s really no better compliment to the vocal that Walker is dispensing with ease from the middle of the mix in all four of these tracks, and though she arguably can make just as much magic with a piano melody (check out the harmonies in “Look Up”), she’s smart enough to know exactly which elements to pair with the particular singing styles she’s utilizing in Back to You.
The energy that I get from “Wonder When,” “I Almost Said I Do” and the title track is steeped in an unapologetically live format, leading me to think that these songs were probably created with Suzanne’s Band’s stage show in mind. I haven’t seen her sing in-person for myself yet, but based on the reception she’s got from her performances in the past, I can imagine that these new compositions will do very well with the current setlist she’s been working with on the road. She’s got a great presence, and in this kind of music, that’s as important as having lyrical substance – if not a bit more so, on occasion.
Lyrically speaking, I think that Walker sounds a lot more vulnerable in songs like “Look Up,” “On a Good Day,” “Don’t Give Up Yet” and “I Almost Said I Do” than she ever has in previous recordings. It would be nice to hear her exploit the depth of her songwriting abilities more as the 2020’s press on, because at the end of the day, she has a grasp of melodic composing that is appealing to pop, country and folk listeners alike, which isn’t an easy combination of audiences to win over these days.
Fans new and old alike won’t want to miss out on this latest release from Suzanne’s Band this January, and with any luck, this won’t be the only set of songs that she issues before the year is done. Mia Suzanne Walker is following her heart with her music, and even if she isn’t using the commercial template that so many artists would in a bid to get fame and fortune, my gut tells me that the mainstream spotlight isn’t going to ignore her output for very long. She’s got the chops to do great things in this business, and she’s off to an excellent start in Back to You.