One for the collection!
Review from Blues Bytes:
Vocalist/pianist Susan Wylde is a classically trained artist with influences ranging from Etta James, Mavis Staples, and Billie Holliday to Joni Mitchell, Sting, and Joe Jackson. She’s been nominated for multiple awards on the Canadian music scene and was a finalist in the International Songwriting Contest. Her music straddles the line perfectly between blues and jazz, and that is apparent on her latest release, In The Light (Sun, Moon & Stars Entertainment).
In The Light has a dozen tracks, equally split between originals and covers. Guitarist Jack de Keyser co-produced the disc with Wylde and contributes some sterling guitar work throughout. Wylde touches on a number of blues styles, playing it straight on tunes like “One Real Man,” which features stinging guitar from de Keyser and harmonica from Jerome Godboo, “Love Me All Night Long,” a sizzling slow version of Johnny “Guitar” Watson’s “Three Hours Past Midnight,” and a sweet take on John Loudermilk’s “Turn Me On.”
Other tracks, such as B.B. King’s classic “The Thrill Is Gone” and the somber title track, lean more toward the jazz side of blues, as does the poignant “I Can’t Tell New Orleans Goodbye,” a tribute to the post-Katrina Crescent City. Speaking of Louisiana, there’s also a couple of dashes of Dixieland jazz with tunes like “Lovely Push-Up Bra,” a song Wylde wrote for the late Jeff Healey, a fan of the genre. Bessie Smith’s “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out” also gets the Dixieland treatment, showcasing Wylde’s vocal and keyboards with Paul Reddick’s harmonica.
The disc closes with a trio of cover tunes, Hoagy Carmichael’s “Georgia On My Mind,” “The Thrill Is Gone,” and the Etta James’ R&B standard, “At Last.” Wylde’s relaxed, assured vocal delivery on these tracks is a change from their original versions heard by most, but it gives the songs a renewed energy.
In The Light is a recording that’s perfectly poised between jazz and blues. Fans of both genres will find a lot to enjoy here. There are some wonderfully crafted original tunes here by Ms. Wylde, as well as some unique interpretations of familiar classics.
– Graham Clarke – Blues Bytes
While many blues fans keep their geographic gaze fixed on Chicago and points south, top notch blues have always sprung from points well north of there with countless acts from Canada such as Jeff Healey, the Downchild Blues Band and King Biscuit Boy contributing mightily to the genre. Canadian singer/keyboard player Susan Wylde stakes her claim to a blues legacy on this new disc. Joined by Jack deKeyzer on guitar and a large band including sax, trumpet, harmonica and keys, this diverse collection includes everything from her nod to Healey’s late career side-trips into Dixieland style jazz, Lovely Push-Up Bra and the Bessie Smith staple, Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out, to the jazz/blues showstopper made famous by Etta James, At Last, to jump blues, That’s What You Do To Me and straight blues on the self-penned One Real Man, B.B. King’s The Thrill Is Gone and on Johnny Guitar Watson’s classic, Three Hours Past Midnight. While most of the material moves at a mid to up-tempo pace allowing Wylde to power through the material in the comfortable upper register of her voice, the real nuances in her wondrous voice are revealed on the slower tunes such as the Hoagy Carmichael standard, Georgia on My Mind and the heartfelt homage to the crescent city, I Can’t Tell New Orleans Goodbye. Even though most of the covers are played pretty straight and don’t reinvent the originals in a way to make them her own, Wylde’s self-penned originals and expansive vocals as well as the crack band’s solid charts make this an enjoyable listen.
“When you are in the light, you are standing in a place of contentment and joy,” explains vocalist/pianist Susan Wylde regarding the title of her latest album. Exploding every cliché about the blues, the classically-trained conservatory graduate from Canada understands the true purpose of the music when she declares, “People want us as artists to be as open about ourselves and as vulnerable as we can be. The blues is a perfect genre for me to express myself fully – on both an emotional and soul level.” Citing the diverse influences of Etta James, Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Herbie Hancock, Joni Mitchell, Mavis Staples, Joe Jackson, Dr. John and Sting, among others, she possesses a multi-faceted alto voice that she commands with authority. Wylde has been nominated for a Canadian Independent Music Award, an E World Music Award and a Toronto Independent Music Award and was a finalist in the International Songwriting Contest. She is also the creator, producer and artistic director for Goddess Charity Events that has raised thousands of dollars for women’s and children’s charities.
Local vocalist/pianist Susan Wylde has released great CDs in the jazz/pop vein. Now with her latest collection, In the Light, she is delving more into her bluesey side. Thanks to the talent of Susan and her band, you can tell it’s a side worth exploring.
The disc has high energy, soulful, infectious, funky music. The opening track, One Real Man, gets things off to a swinging start. Other highlights include Lovely Push-Up Bra (an old-timey, jazzy piece dedicated to the late Jeff Healey), the emotional Turn Me On, and the boogie woogie soul of the title track.
Susan also lends her amazing, expressive voice to such classics as Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out, Georgia on My Mind, The Thrill is Gone, and At Last.
Accompanying her on the disc is a treasuer trove of Canadian Blues talent. There’s local guitarist, Jack deKeyzer (who also co-produces), Jerome Godboo, Paul Reddick, Alec Fraser, Denis Keldie, and many more.
-Hamilton Blues Lovers-
Torontonian Susan Wylde aims to explode blues myths and by starting with conservatory training she explodes one immediately. If that led to her choosing Jack de Keyzer as her co-producer and lead guitarist plus the A-List of the community in the other positions, then she’s off to a very good start. Her attractive alto voice would normally be where the conservatory training would be noticeable but on the opening “One Real Man”, she acquits herself very well. Pete Schmidt is on the other guitar, Alec Fraser on bass & Rick Donaldson on drums. Wylde plays piano but Dave McMorrow, Denis Keldie & Martin Aucoin are also on board. Colleen Allen adds tenor sax where needed. “Love Me All Night Long” continues the theme, with some fine piano from McMorrow and a display of vocalizing from Wylde. A harmony vocal by Jasmine Bailey is a nice touch. “Lovely Push-Up Bra” is dedicated to Jeff Healey, but seemingly for its prewar jazz style rather than for its subject matter. She has fun with the vocal, something she could do more often, and Dave Dunlop has the cornet solo. Johnny ‘Guitar’ Watson’s “Three Hours Past Midnight” is a treat. It opens with slashing guitar from Jack and Wylde offers her most involved vocal. Bessie Smith’s “Nobody Knows When You’re Down And Out” returns to the prewar sound but with some fine harmonica from Paul Reddick. Wylde’s rollicking piano is mixed forward and her vocal shows she’s lived with this song for some time. When you’re “In The Light”, you’re in a place of contentment & joy, so says the press kit and the song expresses that feeling very well. The minor key song features a delightful sax solo from Colleen Allen. Back to the blues with “That’s What You Do To Me’, a song she got from Colin James, driven by Dave McMorrow on organ. “Turn Me On” is a John D. Loudermilk song done as a very nice slow blues with Pete Schmidt on lead guitar for this one. These originals and well-chosen covers are succeeded by some songs that didn’t really need re-doing. “Georgia On My Mind”, “The Thrill Is Gone” & “At Last” get performances that unfortunately don’t add much to the recorded history. Those earlier songs, though, show much promise and with Buddy Guy’s management team behind her, we’ll be hearing a lot more from Susan Wylde.
‘Blues In Britain’ review Magazine Issue #116.
Canadian singer and pianist Susan Wylde has a strong, slightly formal voice that is extremely well suited to the vaudeville-blues approach of some of her material – try the classic ‘Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out’ or the ever-so slightly risqué ‘Lovely Push-Up Bra’ – (dedicated to Jeff Healey – something we don’t know here?) It also adds an individual flavour to the post-Katrina blues-ballad ‘I Can’t Tell New Orleans Goodbye’; – as does the beautiful, lilting sax playing of Colleen Allen. On guitar is Jack DeKeyzer, who has his own successful solo career, and who gets his initial opportunity to shine on the pop-flavoured funky blues of ‘Love Me All Night Long’, but is even more impressive on the slow cover of Johnny ‘Guitar’ Watson’s ‘Three Hours Past Midnight’. ‘In The Light’ has a bluesy, soulful, Ray Charles feel; so too of course does ‘Georgia On My Mind’, and ‘At Last’ is another ballad, recalling Etta James this time. The remaining tracks are all reasonably straight blues items, even the cover of John D. Loudermilk’s ‘Turn Me On’, making this an interesting, entertaining and worthwhile release.
Rating: 8 – Norman Darwen -Blues In Britain-
Satellite Times in Spain review of “In The Light”
This is the first that I’ve heard of Canadian songstress Susan Wylde, although this is not her first album.
Wylde mixes jazz and blues together to create a unique style of music, and she has some great backing musians to help her out.
This lady has a voice that fits the music that she’s chosen and this CD gives her a great opportunity to show what she can do.
This CD has an equal mix of original songs and covers and there’s nothing to choose between them when it comes to quality, although the covers are more blues than jazz, and the originals are the reverse.
Tracks like the Johnny Watson number “Three Hours Past Midnight”, “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out” and the song that B.B.King made famous, “The Thrill Has Gone”, really show that this lady can sing the blues when she wants to, and tracks like “Georgia On My Mind” showcase her voice perfectly.
A great mix of jazz and blues – have a listen and see what you think!
Terry Clear -Satellite Times in Spain-
Jazz Quadrat Magazine CD Review
Perhaps soon the answer to crossword question, “a popular Canadian vocalist and pianist of five letters, “no longer seem unequivocal. Susan Wilde is still less known than her compatriot Diana Krall, but in the future – who knows … Moreover, Susan can already boast of nominations in several awards, both Canadian and international. The main difference between the two performers that when Kroll was based on a solid support and label talent experienced producer, the Wild is a freelance artist and her nomination – also mainly in the field of Independent Awards. In The Light – is not the first album, Suzanne, the previous disc Shambhala was a great success, especially in Asia (not otherwise, because of the address of the legendary country). The singer sees the album as a mostly jazz, but the current job, she believes entirely dedicated to their favorite music – the blues. Home author’s composition One Real Man this certification entirely justified, and in the future sounds so much blues, for example, sung with great feeling, Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out from the repertoire of Bessie Smith, but in general I would still not named this album is pure blues. “blame” to the beautiful instrumental jazz improvisation, primarily a guitarist and trumpeter Jack DeKeyzera Dave Dunlop, and the ability to navigate perfectly Susan in the different materials. Some of the tracks I would call a high-quality pop music, and the standard Georgia On My Mind performed in classic jazz style. Susan in general seems to be indifferent to the swing jazz before the war – in this way sounds and composition Lovely Push – Up Bra, dedicated to the recently departed the Canadian musician Jeff Healey-retro-styling with a subtle line between blues and jazz. In total, the album included five Susan own compositions, testifying to her talent not only a singer and pianist, and songwriter. A new style of work … God be with her! Bessie Smith and Billie Holiday sang the blues, too, but try to find at least one jazz encyclopedia without these names! Creativity Susan Wilde, in my view, lies in the same vein.
Leonid Auskern -Jazz Quadrat Magazine Review-
NASHVILLE BLUES SOCIETY REVIEW
IN THE LIGHT
(SUN, MOON, AND STARS ENTERTAINMENT)
Canadian native Susan Wylde possesses a brilliant, classically-trained alto voice that makes her latest offering, “In The Light,” all the more enjoyable. She uses her voice to convey all the emotions one associates with the blues, allowing the pain of loss and the joys of redemption and recovery to shine through.
Equally split between covers and very clever originals, this set has something for everyone. She has tremendous command of her vocals, and, you simply HAVE to love a woman who can take a Dixieland arrangement of a song about the “decided advantages” of wearing a “Lovely Push-Up Bra,” then soulfully seduce you to “come on home and Turn Me On,” and then boldly beckon you to the boudoir to “Love Me Baby All Night Long!”
The set kicks off with a swingin’ message to all pretenders and “playas”–this lady’s lookin’ for “One Real Man to keep me warm!” The title cut finds her in a comfortable place within a relationship, basking in “the freedom of you and me.” She turns in a jazzy read of “The Thrill Is Gone,” featuring a sweet sax break from Colleen Allen, then uses the Dixieland style again, including harp from Paul Reddick, to give a rather upbeat take on “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out.”
We had two favorites, too. Susan’s so in love she puts her “shoes on backwards” in a sweet version of fellow countryman Colin Linden’s “That’s What You Do to Me.” And, the powerfully-poignant story of the aftermath of Katrina is “I Can’t ell New Orleans Goodbye,” where she sings that even tho “the birds and fish have left,” and a “wall of water” took her lover away, her spirit and the spirit of the city itself, will never die.
Susan Wylde deftly uses her voice to convey her emotions to the listeners, and to allow them to identify with her thru good times and bad. That’s the secret that makes “In The Light” such a cool listen! Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.
THE MIDWEST RECORD
SUSAN WYLDE/In the Light: The latest spark plug to fire on the Canadian adult music scene is a zesty gal in the blues rock mode that’s not really a blues rocker, or at least doesn’t cover herself in the Janis clichés. Proving her mettle time and again north of the border, Wylde has the right stuff and knows how to use it. Fun stuff with that certain snap that really makes it stand out, no matter how far she’s traveling down memory lane, this is well worth seeking out for a treat you didn’t expect.
This is mostly original material, but there are a few covers of classic songs that have a deep rooted place for music lovers. Susan starts with “One Real Man”. It has a Dixie feel to it from beginning to end. The guitar bridge though is all Blues, and damn good. “I Can’t Tell New Orleans Goodbye” is that slow, lamenting song that is about a city instead of a man. It’s a love song to New Orleans without a doubt, and it’s the first tenor sax solo on the album. “Love Me All Night Long” picks up the pace followed by “Lovely Push Up Bra”. I dig the trumpet in this one.
“Three Hours Past Midnight” is the first song that immediately made me think “Blues”. From the sound to the lyrics it’s a classic sounding Blues song that you can get into. “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out” is the first of the covers. I like the harp in the intro, and it’s a decent interpretation. For my taste though it’s a little to “pretty”. “In The Light” is more Jazz than Blues, although there are some Bluesy elements to it. “That’s What You Do To Me” brings some Funk to the table. Probably my favorite song on the disc. “Turn Me On” reminds me of a cabaret 50 years ago. The vixen singing that slow song with the band setting the pace.
By David McGee
With a classic pop singer’s voice informed by a blues babe’s sensibility, Canada’s Susan Wylde presents intriguing musical possibilities and no small number of persuasive performances of her original songs and well-chosen covers on In The Light. The past couple of years have seen the emergence of big-voiced blues women, but Wylde has a lighter, airier tone with a wistful shadow about it; though she works in a blues style, you can easily here some of her songs reconfigured as cabaret tunes. Or, if you’ve heard her two previous albums (Shambhala and Evolution), you can hear them as jazz or, indeed, pop numbers. This is an artist who works the blues from many sides.
On the other hand, you wouldn’t want to lose the frisky vibe, pungent, crying blues guitar and blurting horns from her inviting entreaty, “Love Me All Night Long,” now would you? No, not anymore than you would want to recast the touching love letter to the Crescent City, “I Can’t Tell New Orleans Goodbye,” without Wylde’s own rippling piano, the intermittent cry of the horns leading to Colleen Allen’s evocative tenor sax solo, and the arrangement’s easygoing, seductive sway in support of Wylde’s tempered, touching vocal. Which is maybe to point out that however much her tunes might lend themselves to other styles, as blues-based numbers they hit the mark pretty well. Arguably the best of these is the self-affirming “In the Light,” with its carpe diem message of rising above despair to engage the moment fully, to live and love without fear, set to a cool, swaying R&B groove propelled by Dave McMorrow’s tinkling piano and Allen’s pumping tenor sax.
Seven of the 12 tunes are covers, including some evergreens Wylde tackles with winning conviction and–true to the message of “In the Light”–without fear. “Georgia On My Mind” is one of these, which she approaches somewhere between a hymn and its original incarnation as a pop song. Wylde delivers a warm, thoughtful vocal, unembellished and focused on the soul of the lyrics, as a stately organ underpins an easygoing arrangement flecked with warm tenor sax fills, moody piano and Pete Schmidt’s ruminative, lovingly rendered guitar solo. She follows “Georgia” with an interesting take on “The Thrill Is Gone” that supplants the original’s sense of regret with a more measured acceptance of and moving on from love having fled the scene. Jack deKyzer’s guitar pays homage to B.B.’s rich tone, McMorrow’s organ adds a lush sheen, and Allen’s tenor sax provides a little extra bluesy oomph to buttress Wylde’s cool, dispassionate vocal–if you could say B.B. was deep inside the song when he cut, it would be fair to say Wylde is on the other side of it; if B.B.’s pain was palpable, Wylde’s hurt has evolved into a benign, somewhat detached dismissiveness–when she sings “I can wish you well” at the end, it’s almost an afterthought. Closing out the album and a potent trifecta of classic covers, Wylde assays Etta James’s “At Last” in a sensuous arrangement leaning on subdued organ, piano and tenor sax to fashion a dreamy mood for her satiny, pop-styled vocal. Ray Charles (okay, and Willie, too), B.B. and Etta will always own these songs but hats off to Susan Wylde for finding her own way into them while honoring the timeless versions in spirit. Her original songs show the same respect for their influences, with the end result being a big win of a third album for this much-honored Canadian artist as she makes a play for wider recognition of her work in the States.
I just got done listening to the new Susan Wylde release “In The Light”. The recording is very tight and although bluesy more constructed like a modern “jazz” cd. What I mean by that is it’s isn’t raw or wild but very refined and smooth. There are some very hot guitar and instrumental riffs throughout an otherwise calming recording.
-American Blues Blog-
Susan Wylde – In The Light
Classically-trained conservatory graduate Susan Wylde understands that Blues is the perfect genre for her to express herself. Her multi-faceted alto voice takes command as she swings her way into slow blues and funk with compassion and enthusiasm that is undeniably heart-felt. Co-produced by Jack deKeyzer Susan splits the songs halfway between covers and originals. A huge plateful of musicians like Jack deKeyzer, Alec Fraser, Paul Reddick, Pete Schmidt and the list goes on add some even more diversity to an album that is already a full plate of assorted Blues. – EB – Bluesday CKUW –
Susan Wylde, In The Light (Sun, Moon & Stars)
From Canada comes this blue lady Susan Wylde, who ‘In the light’ on her third CD under her own name is. Susan on this CD especially the music of BB King as a source of inspiration. The 12 songs in 48 minutes playing on the CD are some of her own hand (five) and some covers of more or less known blues standards. So pass the well known ‘Nobody knows you when you’re down and out “and perhaps even more famous” Georgia on My Mind “, actually a nice version of John D. Loudermilk’s “Turn Me On” and a nice version of the BB King classic “The Thrill Is Gone” (written by Lew Brown and Ray Henderson) alongside a separate unique number like “Lovely Push-up bra” (dedicated to Jeff Healey, no idea why) and a gorgeous ballad “I can not tell Goodbye New Orleans” (Susan dedicated to the people of this city). Susan sings beautifully and plays the piano (her third, she had piano lessons), the brilliant guitar solos are co-producer (Susan), Jack Dekeyzer (Dutch roots again I detect?) And Pete Schmidt. Organ, sax, trumpet play an important role in guiding, as well of course we hear bass and drums. Background Vocals are provided by Jasmine Bailey. “In the Light” is a surprisingly nice soft blues CD of a good singer. Making music is fantastic, Susan’s voice is quite good for this genre. No idealistic modernism, but just right-by-Sea. A CD at all times of the day can be played and always sound good. (Fred Schmale) -Real Roots Cafe-
Another review, this one from Blues Blast Magazine
Susan Wylde is a Canadian singer and pianist and this is her first album that is being promoted as blues, the previous one being more pop, with one song selected for a compilation CD entitled “Absolute Voices II”, alongside well known artists such as Sade, Norah Jones and Alison Krauss. This CD includes five songs written by Susan and a selection of covers. Something of the feel of the album can be gleaned from the fact that the covers include Hoagy Carmichael’s “Georgia On My Mind” and Harry Warren’s “At Last”, both more jazz than blues. On the other hand there are covers of Johnny ‘Guitar’ Watson’s “Three Hours Past Midnight” and Jimmie Cox’s “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out”, so there is a blues element here too.
Susan sings in a classically trained alto voice and all lyrics can be made out clearly. The musicians on the CD are all Canadian, with the best known names being Paul Reddick on harp and Jack de Keyser who plays guitar and co-produced the CD with Susan. Particular mention must be made of the horns on the CD which are excellent: saxes, Colleen Allen and Turner King; trumpet and cornet, Dave Dunlop.
Taking the covers first “Three Hours Past Midnight” has a late night, slow blues feel, with some nice piano and sympathetic horns in the background. De Keyser’s guitar solo is also a strong feature, making this one of the most bluesy tracks on the album. I liked this one a lot. “Nobody Knows You” is the next track on the CD, with harp strongly featured over a rolling piano intro. The song is sung in a jazzy manner by Susan. The last four tracks on the CD are all covers and all take a relaxed approach. JD Loudermilk’s “Turn Me On” is played quietly with gentle, jazzy chords on guitar and Susan’s wistful vocal. “Georgia” is played straight, a classic song which we all know very well. The organ backing here gives a feel of the church to this interpretation and the sax is played beautifully. However, does the world need another version of this song? The same can certainly be said of “The Thrill Is Gone” which is attributed to Lew Brown and Ray Henderson here, whereas I have always understood the song to have been written by Rick Darnell and Roy Hawkins. The sax is again excellent but I did not feel that the song suited Susan’s voice as well as some of the material on the CD. “At Last” closes the CD, a song inevitably associated with early period Etta James. Susan’s classically trained voice is far more precise than Etta’s and, for me, does not convey as much of the passion we remember from Etta.
The originals are an interesting set that demonstrate a literate writer at work. “Lovely Push-Up Bra” is a comic tale of a girl working in a seedy bar. “Some lace and some wire strategically placed, it feels good if you like that look on his face” is the opening line of the song. The track is dedicated to the late Jeff Healey who was not only a fine blues guitarist but also a trumpet player, so it is appropriate that cornet and piano provide a 20s feel to the music so you might well feel like you are in that bar yourself! In contrast “I Can’t Tell New Orleans Goodbye” is dedicated to the people of NO, a ballad that recounts the tragedy of Katrina and the unbroken spirit of the city in the face of adversity. This is another highlight of the album.
Album opener “One Real Man” opens with some strong harp and guitar work in a rocker that extols the virtues of a good man – “one real man to keep me warm”. It’s a strong opener to the album and lyrically makes a good pair with “Love Me All Night Long”, a song with an attractive stop-start Latin rhythm and fine horn backing. The middle eight is graced with fine piano and guitar solos. Title track “In The Light” is a song about achieving peace after difficult times, love having conquered fear. A pleasing plucked guitar and an ecstatic sax provide the solo features.
The numerate readers will have spotted that we have one more track to discuss! That track is “That’s What You Do To Me” which is credited as ‘Unknown’. This is a song which appeared on Colin James’ “Little Big Band” CD, the version here is up-tempo with well-crafted guitar and organ solos.
Overall this is a varied CD with a mix of blues and other styles of music. I found quite a lot to enjoy here.
Reviewer John Mitchell is a blues enthusiast based in the UK. He also travels to the States most years to see live blues music.