Santa Cruz Good Times

Thursday
Oct 23rd
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

She’s Got the Blues

event tierneyblueTierney Sutton takes on the Joni Mitchell catalog

Tierney Sutton’s most recent album, After Blue, was a long time coming. Specifically, more than two decades long. But given that the album is Sutton’s take on various songs from the Joni Mitchell catalog, she was not about to rush into anything.

“The moment I began singing professionally, people began suggesting Joni Mitchell's music to me, so this project was brewing on some level for 25 or 30 years,” Sutton says. “But I knew that Joni's music was complex, serious, and not to be approached without some deep knowledge.”

Ironically, the jazz vocalist was not exposed to a lot of Mitchell’s work early on in her life. When she became more serious about jazz in her late teens, most of her familiarity with Mitchell came from jazz-tinged numbers like “Goodbye, Porkpie Hat” and Mitchell’s cover of “Twisted,” in addition to a few of her early hits. But it was her release of Both Sides Now—an album largely comprised of jazz standards—in 2000, that really won Sutton over.

“I listened to that album as much as teenagers in the ’70s listened to her Blue, I'm sure,” says Sutton. “After that, I knew I needed to really spend time with her earlier albums, and so I did, not thinking I would sing any of the songs any time soon, but just because I knew this was education I needed.” 

As time went on, Sutton began to imagine what it would be like to record an album of Mitchell covers.

“I wanted to make sure [the album] represented different eras in her work,” she says. “Yes, her early work is great, but much of the later work is also fantastic, regardless of whether [people] ‘got it.’ I wanted to represent that and avoid songs that have been covered often and well, like ‘A Case of You’ or ‘The River.’ I was committed, for example, to recording ‘Little Green,’ the song she wrote about giving up her daughter for adoption, which is virtually never covered.”

The 12 tracks on After Blue—which was nominated for Best Jazz Vocal Album at the 2014 Grammy Awards—reimagine some of Mitchell’s songs in intriguing ways. “Court and Spark,” for instance, is transformed from a lively acoustic jaunt into more of a romantic, piano jazz ballad, and Sutton’s version of “All I Want” puts more emphasis on percussion and bass than the guitar which leads Mitchell’s version. The addition of strings to “Little Green” also adds some depth to the original track.

It’s an ambitious project, given the highly regarded source material, but Sutton says she had no qualms about making the album.

“Once I fall in love with a song, I forget any fears I might have,” Sutton says. “It's like any kind of ‘falling in love’—you lose your sense of trying to protect yourself and just fall. I heard someone say long ago, ‘Love is not an emotion; it's an action,’ so, if the love is real, I think you try your best to serve the song and work to get inside it. All I can hope is that it's clear that I love this music.” 


Tierney Sutton will perform at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 15, Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. Tickets are $25/adv, $30/door. For more information, call 427-2227.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Santa Cruz Restaurant Week

A huge part of Santa Cruz Restaurant Week has always been about offering a great dining experience for an affordable price. For some locals, the $25 flat-rate cost has provided the opportunity (or the excuse!) to try new spots, and indulge in Santa Cruz fine dining in a way they might have thought too pricey before.

 

Scorpio Sun, New Moon Eclipse, Mercury Direct

The Sun enters Scorpio’s mysteries Thursday under a new moon and partial solar eclipse (something essential has come to an end, its purpose completed). In Scorpio we harbor secrets, are devoted to something deep, dark and hidden. Sometimes it’s ourselves. We can bring great suspect to our assessment of others. Scorpio is the scorpion, the serpent and the eagle—three levels of development. As the serpent we take shelter in our beliefs. Sometimes we bite (or sting). The eagle vanquishes old beliefs through its sharp intellect, soaring high in the air, seeking to understand through perspective. Understanding releases us from the bondage of fear. The eagle is like the mother soothing feelings of mistrust, offering protection. Knowledge does this, too.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Docs Without Borders

United Nations Association Film Festival showcases documentaries from around the globe
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Back Porch

Austin Kaye on backyard dinners and why it’s his favorite time of year to be a chef

 

What’s the most outrageous situation you ever saw at a restaurant?

Damani Thomas, Santa Cruz, Chef/Owner

 

Wine Lust

The Spanish Godello grape, plus arancinis, tender butter lettuce and pork schnitzel at Soif

 

What artist or artists participating in the encore weekend of Open Studios should not be missed?

Santa Cruz | Teacher