Search
  • The Sound Cafe

Ken Wallis Chats with Suzie Vinnick


By Ken Wallis. Photo Credit: Kevin Kelly Photography.



Suzie Vinnick is a singer-songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist who sports a voice that soars, soothes, and thrills at the same time. Suzie has won 10 Maple Blues Awards, 1 Canadian Folk Music Award and is a 3X Juno Nominee. She has also twice won the International Songwriting Competition in the Blues Category. Originally from Saskatchewan, she now resides in the Niagara region of Ontario. She has just released her seventh solo album.


Ken Wallis interviewed Suzie Vinnick for the radio show BluesSource Canada. The following is an edited transcript of that interview.



Ken Wallis

Suzie Vinnick has a new album out, it’s called Fall Back Home, and we're thrilled to have Suzie join us. Suzie thanks for coming on the show.


Suzie Vinnick

Thanks for having me Ken, great to be here.


Ken Wallis

Tell us the significance of the album title Fall Back Home.


Suzie Vinnick

It comes back to the lyric that was in the song I co-wrote with Matt Andersen. The song's called Talk To Me. When I was kind of deciding to do a new album and the bits and pieces, I wanted to put into it, I mean it was sort of conceived during the pandemic. There are some songs that are older but generally the whole concept for it was during the pandemic. I was home a lot and walking a lot, and I live in the country. I live out in Wainfleet so it's a little more isolated. It was nice and a good place to be in a world pandemic. It sort of has a bit of a double meaning as the title and by that, I mean I spent a lot of time at home, so Fall Back Home. Musically, the album, I've kind of revisited musical styles that I've been doing over the years, but I guess it's just a little more experience that's been injected into them having been in the business for a little while now.

I worked with Danny Greenspoon as a producer. So that's another fall back home thing, Danny produced my 2002 album called 33 Stars and he produced my album Me And Mabel, which was very bluesy. During the pandemic I revisited those albums a bunch, they're so comfortable, such a cozy place. So, I thought wouldn't it be nice to just go back there and put together a nice little collection of music. It's making me feel good, so hopefully it’ll make others feel good.


Ken Wallis

The very first cut on the album really sets the tone.


Suzie Vinnick

I wrote that with a Windsor-based songwriter named Karen Morand. I had the idea, just watching and spending too much time online and seeing the conflict between people who are from different places in their belief systems. I just wanted to put something out there. We're all humans and we maybe believe different things, but it doesn't mean we have to hate each other about it and just try to support each other and be kind. I came up with a chorus and some verses and then Karen took it basically overnight and ran with it and came up with some great verses as well and changed some of the stuff. I love it.


Ken Wallis

And you've got some very special guests on this album.


Suzie Vinnick

I'm so spoiled it was wonderful.


Ken Wallis

It's a who's who of the music industry.


Suzie Vinnick

I don't want to forget anybody. My core band, I had two rhythm sections going into it. The folks that did the bulk of the playing on the album were Davide Di Renzo on drums, and Gary Craig played drums on it on a couple tracks. Bass players, I had Russ Boswell and Alec Fraser, sometimes it was just availability. The bulk of the guitars were Kevin Breit, who is my favourite guitar player in the world. A couple of keyboard players, Jessie O'Brien, Hamilton's own, and Marc Lalama. Special guests, we had Samantha Martin and Delta Sugar for some backup vocals, Gwen Swick, who I play in a band with. She's from Elora. And Mike Biggar, who I co-wrote a song with, called Salt And Pepper. Harmonica players, we had Roly Platt and Carlos del Junco on a couple tracks. Matt Anderson on backup vocals. Guitar players Colin Linden, Steve Dawson. Paul Pigat. I covered Chilliwack’s old tune Raino and Danny had an idea to reach out to Bill Henderson to see if he wanted to do some backup vocals on. Bill said I don't really do vocals but how's about some guitar, so he played guitar on it. He and Paul shared guitar duties on Raino. Danny Greenspoon plays on it, and I sing and play acoustic guitar in a bunch of tracks. It's just really sweet having all these wonderful musical voices on the album.


Ken Wallis

Well, I really think it's a testament to you that they all really wanted to be on it.


Suzie Vinnick

I've been really lucky Ken over the years. I've gotten to work with most of them in various musical contexts and it's nice just calling on friends to see if I can get them to do stuff. The thing that also helped is that with the pandemic, a lot of folks stepped up their home recording studios. So, like getting Steve Dawson was great, though he's Canadian, but he's based in Nashville. In between whatever he was working on at the time, he was able to send us some tracks and Colin Linden was bopping between Canada and Nashville as well and did his tracks and sent them to us. It was kind of a hybrid process the way the album was recorded. We did a bunch of the beds in Toronto at Canterbury Music. There's a Kevin Breit song I did, Hurt By Luck. Kevin and I had been talking one afternoon and then at midnight that night I got this email, hey Suzie, I just wrote this song today, and I get this beautiful like fully produced song from him. I loved it, so Kevin played a bunch of the tracks at home, and it even has a timpani sample on it. It's kind of fun, he wanted to do a Roy Orbison kind of vibe.


Ken Wallis

Anytime I see you perform, you can really tell that you love being up on stage, and even during the pandemic you were streaming concerts.


Suzie Vinnick

I’m still streaming concerts as frequently as I can in between travels and shows and things. Wednesday nights, I go on this little mom and pop website out of Tennessee. it's called StreetJelly. Everyone was trying to stream and I'm living in the country where internet is a little more challenging. Their site was able to handle my pokey, I call it horse and buggy internet. I have a sweet collection of folks who tune in from pretty much across North America and then some tune in from far away as Australia, the UK, Netherlands, Germany, India. There's a 24-hour replay and streaming shows is great to play songs for people and get feedback from the. It was kind of cool and helpful and then there's a couple songs like Big Train From Memphis, was a song that one of my online streaming fans requested. I learned it and I kind of went oh, this is fun then came up with my own little bit. It's more of a rockabilly arrangement. John Fogerty's and the other versions I've heard are a little bit more on the country side, but we got Paul Pigat, he's a killer guitar player that really specializes in rockabilly.

Ken Wallis

Another song that really sticks out for me is, It Doesn't Feel Like Spring.

Suzie Vinnick

My dad passed away in 2000 from cancer and Dad loved to garden and that spring, I normally get this little light in my chest and excited about spring and I was totally devoid of that. I was really sad and missing dad, and I wrote this journal entry. I went for a hike somewhere and just sat in the middle of the forest, there was nobody around and wrote this journal entry. This was in 2000 and then in 2009 I went to do some writing in Nashville at a wonderful workshop and I brought the journal entry with me. I always thought this could be a song, and before I even had my head off the pillow, I had this whole little guitar melody. I wasn't even playing guitar but it's just like the muse came to visit and those waking lucid hours and said okay, here's a melody for your song. I didn’t have my glasses on, and I was fussing around, I'm blind as a bat trying to find my guitar and pick it up. I found this beautiful little melody and so it's taken a little while for it to all come together, but that's what happens sometimes.


Ken Wallis

I've noticed you've got an awful lot of gigs coming up in the spring, you're even playing with Aussie blues man, Lloyd Spiegel.


Suzie Vinnick

I know it's gonna be crazy, it'll be fun, I'm excited and scared, he's so good. We've got 25 double bills that we're doing together, that'll be mostly BC and Ontario shows with Lloyd. So, I'll do a set with Lloyd, Lloyd will do a set, and I'll do a set. It'll vary. The first half takes place mid-January to middle of February and then back out end of March to middle of May. And that's a triple bill, with Lloyd and Charlie A’Court, who's an East Coaster. Charlie's great, super soulful singer, killer guitar player and really funny. That's going to be fun because the three of us will be on stage at the same time and they're both very funny guys, so it's gonna be interesting.


Ken Wallis

Again, the album is called Fall Back Home and where can music fans get it?


Suzie Vinnick

Visit Suzievinnick.com and I will send it to you. Otherwise, if you want a digital download, you can go to Suzievinick.bandcamp.com and Bandcamp’s great because so much of the purchase goes to the artists.

Ken Wallis

Well Suzie, it's really been great chatting with you and I really thank you for coming on the show.


Suzie Vinnick

Hey Ken, thanks for having me on the show, great to talk to you.




Website: www.suzievinnick.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/suzievinnickmusic

Twitter: twitter.com/suzievinnick

Instagram: www.instagram.com/suzievinnick