For an award-winning country star like Suzy Bogguss, a lifelong love affair with American music was just part of growing up.
So when Bogguss was on tour in 2008 with Garrison Keillor and his traveling Prairie Home Companion, she was beyond disappointed with some of the audiences she encountered around the country.
When we sang a lot of the old standards like Red River Valley, everyone over 30 was up and singing along with us, but the under-30s were just staring at us. They had no idea what these wonderful songs were, Boggus said during a telephone interview earlier this week.
Bogguss will play Saturday night at the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College.
Bogguss touring experience prompted her to start a project that culminated with her current release, American Folk Songbook, and its companion hardcover book. The 96-page volume was modeled after Bogguss fifth-grade music textbook and includes the music and lyrics from all of the songs on the new record. Saturdays show will incorporate her own career songbook as well as about half of the 17 selections from the new CD. Some of the standards from the album that should be known to fans of all ages are Swing Low, Sweet Chariot, Froggy Went A-Courtin, Wayfaring Stranger and Git Along Little Dogies.
Ive got a 16-year-old, and he only knew about four of them, she said.
With more than 100 years of American musical history from which to choose, whittling the list would seem a daunting challenge. But Bogguss said it was remarkably easy.
I polled a bunch of my folk-artist friends, like John McCutcheon, and a handful of other great musicians, she said.My own list had 12 of the songs that everyone else had, so it wasnt too hard to finish up the rest.
American Folk Songbook is Bogguss 17th album, so there is a lot of other material to enjoy.The show will feature all the expected country/swing sounds. Shes been splashing hit songs all over the country charts for years, including Cross My Broken Heart, the John Hiatt hit Drive South and Hey Cinderella. Those are all fan favorites, but Bogguss is excited about the new tour.
You get tired of singing the same songs, so its nice to incorporate something else, and these are just some of the most wonderful songs ever sung, Bogguss said.