Suzi Ragsdale Finds Success Forty Years After Her Recording Debut

Best Regards & Less of the SameOnce in awhile, we have trouble determining if an artist can be considered "vintage."  Some are obvious as their first album was recorded before 1986.  Some solo artists need some background research as they don't meet the date alone but had recorded with a group that would be considered vintage.  Even tougher are those that did session work on albums well before they started recording under their own name or recorded on small regional labels.

Such is the case with Suzi Ragsdale.  When she was five years old, she stepped into the studio for the first time as part of the children's chorus on her father, Ray Stevens', number 1 hit Everything is Beautiful.  Five years later, she was recording children's albums of songs she had written.  At 13, she was a demo singer and, at 17, she was appearing in local clubs.

Since that time, she has recorded four albums with Verlon Thompson on their own VNS records and has sung backup for artists like Suzy Boggus, Hank Williams, Jr., Tom Paxton, Guy Clark and Ian Tyson.  As a songwriter, she has had her work recorded by Anne Murray, Mel Tillis, Nelson and others.  Yet, there are sources listing her as "new" or "emerging" since so much of her work has been in the background or for independent labels.

Which brings us to her new 2-CD set, Best Regards & Less of the Same.  Released on her own Stark Raven Records, the album is unique in that it is two-CDs yet each CD only has six songs.  There was a method to the madness in that each disc has a distinct feel.  Ragsdale told the Boot, "We [Suzi and producer Tim Lauer] listened to all the songs I wanted to record and determined that they fell into two categories.  The first six on Best Regards are a little more quirky and they have full, lush string arrangements that give them a kind of circus quality. The second half leans more to rock 'n' roll or pop; we had a full band in the studio."

Also unique is Suzi's wonderfully expressive voice.  Even though she's a lifelong resident of Nashville, the influences of the mainstream country sound is rarely heard.  Rather, the album leans strongly towards a number of facets of Americana, with blues, folk, a touch of traditional country and a bit of rock-and-roll, all handled beautifully by Ragsdale.   Americana radio has taken notice, too.  The album premiered three weeks ago on their chart at 35 and has since jumped to 21 and now 16.

Making Ragsdale an even more interesting artist, her interests don't lie just in music.  If you go to her website, you can also writes about cooking (with recipes and even cooking videos) and yoga.  She is a full renaissance woman.

Here are two videos.  The first is the promotional video for Wishbone from the Best Regards half of the album.  That's followed by an electronic press kit (EPK) for the new album.

Suzi Ragsdale- Full Length EPK Best Regards/ Less of the Same from Suzi Ragsdale on Vimeo.

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