Santa Cruz Good Times

Monday
Jan 26th
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

 

Force of Nature

Santa Cruz’s Carlie Statsky brings her love of the natural world to the hyper-personal art of wedding photography

 

Mercury Retrograde in Aquarius

The magical time of Mercury’s retrograde cycle is here once again, until Feb. 11, and then some. The Mercury retro cycle actually lasts eight weeks when we consider its retrograde shadow, giving us six months a year for review. We know the rules of Mercury retro: Be careful with everything; cars, driving, money, resources, friends, friendships, groups, interactions, thinking, talking, communications. Avoid big purchases, important meetings and important repairs. Mercury retrograde times are for review, reassessment and rest. Our minds are overloaded from the last Mercury retro. Our minds need to assess what we’ve done since October—eliminating what is not needed, keeping what’s important, preparing for new information in the next three months (till mid-May). Mercury in Aquarius retrograde … we reinvent ourselves, seek the unusual, we don’t hide, we’re just careful. We live in two worlds; outer appearances and inner reckonings, with both sides of our brain activated. Yet, like the light of the Gemini twins, one light waxes (inner world), the other (outer realities) wanes. Like Virgo, we see what’s been overlooked—assessing, ordering and organizing information. It’s an entirely inner process. When speaking we may utter only half of the sentence. We’re in the underworld, closer to Spirit, eyes unseeing, senses alerted, re-doing things over and over till we sometimes collapse. Because we’re in other realms, we’re wobbly, make mistakes, and don’t really know what we want. It’s not a time for decisions. Not yet. It’s a time of review. And completing things. Mercury retro: integration, slowing down, resolution, rapprochement.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of January 23

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Bye Bye Benten!

Benten closing, plus Award-winning gin, a massive burrito and chocolate review

 

Trout Gulch Vineyards

Scanning the shelves of Deluxe Foods of Aptos, which carries an impressive selection of local and imported wines, I picked up a bottle of Trout Gulch Vineyards Chardonnay 2012, described as “a local favorite” by the busy market.

 

Cremer House

What’s old is cutting-edge again in Felton

 

How are you going to make a tangible difference in your community this year?

Spread more kindness and compassion.