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Oh Susanna to showcase new album at the fair

Oh Susanna will play a mix of old and new songs at the fair.

Oh Susanna returns to South Country Fair on Saturday fresh off a tour to promote her new album, “Soon the Birds.”
Suzie Ungerleider, who goes by the stage name Oh Susanna, is looking forward to her third visit to Fort Macleod and South Country Fair.
“I think it’s great,” Ungerleider said of South Country Fair. “I really love it. I love that landscape. It lends itself to the songs I sing.”
South Country Fair celebrates its 25th anniversary July 15-17 at Fort Macleod Fish and Game Park.
The fair’s eclectic mix of music on two stages creates an atmosphere Ungerleider finds hard to resist.
“It’s really fun and kind of edgy,” Ungerleider said. “I like that.”
Ungerleider just completed her “He Said, She Said” tour with Matthew Barber, with both musicians promoting their new albums.
Ungerleider will perform songs from her previous five albums, but she’s anxious to introduce fans to the music on “Soon the Birds,” which was produced by David Travers-Smith.
“I’m happy with it,” Ungerleider said, noting when she wrote the songs she was listening to Levon Helm solo albums and music by Montana performer Martha Scanlon. “I was listening a lot to that and I wanted to make a record that was somewhat like that. In the end, I don’t think I did but that’s okay. If you start out with a goal it will find its own way.”
Ungerleider, who will be accompanied by pedal steel player Burke Carrol, gets ideas for her songs by observing life, listening to other people’s stories and even clipping items from the newspaper.
“Generally it’s something that kind of puzzles me or intrigues me and makes me ask why,” she explained. “sometimes it’s just an image, an image I come up with just by listening to the melody.”
The singer-songwriter’s music is labelled alt country folk, which Ungerleider finds an apt description.
“It does have a certain twang to it and I am influenced by various forms of country, folk and blues,” Ungerleider said. “I kind of started out that way. I just loved that music.”
Ungerleider lists as early influences singers such as Hank Williams, Patsy Kline, Pete Seeger, Tom Waite and early Bob Dylan.
“I listen to lots of other stuff like he Rolling Stones and punk music but for some reason those hard luck, twangy songs stuck with me.”
Ungerleider admits her chosen style is not necessarily conducive to air time on top 40 stations, but fame and commercial success was not on her mind when she started her career.
“It was more the music and following what I was drawn to than following commercial aspirations,” she explained. “When I was growing up commercial success wasn’t the aim. It was to make songs that you love.”
Ungerleider, who lives in Toronto, was selective about the songs she wrote and chose for “Soon the Birds.”
“They have to mean something to me,” Ungerleider said. “I try to figure out if the songs mean something to me. Otherwise I can’t put myself into them and sing them.”