by Robert Bell
8 p.m. Juanita's. $25 adv., $30 day of.
There aren't too many other artists who are still making rewarding, relevant music three decades or more into their careers. But not everyone can be a Leonard Cohen or a Scott Walker or a Suzanne Vega.
Vega's latest album of new material, 2007's "Beauty & Crime," earned glowing reviews, with several critics hailing it as her best work. More recently, Vega revisited her back catalog with the intimate, thematically arranged "Close-Up" series. Over the course of four albums, culminating with last year's "Songs of Family," Vega offered her fans stripped-down versions of her songs.
She told the Kalamazoo Gazette there was another reason for the series, offering an interesting glimpse at business realities for musicians: "The original recordings for those hits belong to A&M Records, and they can do what they want with them, legally. Which means that they're probably not going to reissue them, and that means I have no control over those works," she said. "If I re-record them, then I own these masters, and I can sell them at shows, I can mix them, I can service them to radio, give them to the press. It gives me a way of owning the physical copy of my own life's work."
Nothing against the originals, but to these ears, the songs on the "Close-Up" series are often preferable to the studio versions. Her songs stand on their own very well, and the way they're assembled makes for an enjoyable listening experience. It's probably safe to expect to hear some of Vega's classics at this show.
Conway-based singer/songwriter Treva Blomquist opens.