“Susan Werner is that rarest of things – a composer who not only adheres to the traditions of the Great American Songbook, but also who adds great new songs to that Songbook with each project she writes. She’s one of the most exciting talents in the country.” – Michael Feinstein
Saturday, August 11: 8P | Tickets: $75/$65/$55/$45/$25*
SophistiTIX Members (Ages 21-35) receive a 25% discount (limited to 2 tickets per performance). More details here!
Back by popular demand! Dubbed the "Empress of the Unexpected" by NPR, this feisty and perceptive singer-songwriter has captured audiences with a surprising acoustic mix of folk, jazz, gospel, and pop, that beautifully melds wry observations, insightful storytelling, and soulful delivery. Werner—who says that you can find her "at the intersection of the Indigo Girls and Marlene Dietrich"—is as comfortable placing her own stamp on classics across genres as she is expertly composing her own signature numbers that seem destined for a home in the American Songbook. She is the composer and lyricist for the forthcoming Broadway show, Bull Durham: The Musical, based on the popular MGM motion picture.
Werner’s latest concept album, An American In Havana, is a collection of original songs inspired by Werner’s recent travels to Cuba. The EP features performances and arrangements by legendary Cuban percussionist Mayra Casales, who has worked with Dizzy Gillespie, Tito Puente, and Regina Carter, paired with Werner’s trademark songcraft and wry poetic lyrics.
After writing twelve albums of songs in styles ranging from folk/rock to Tin Pan Alley to gospel, country and chamber music, what might a woman deemed by National Public Radio as “The Empress of the Unexpected” try next?
Well, go to Cuba, of course!
Which is what Chicago-based (and native Iowan) singer-songwriter, Susan Werner, has done, resulting in the Cuban-influenced songs of “An American In Havana,” her new EP. The album features performances and arrangements by Cuban-born percussionist, Mayra Casales, (Dizzy Gillespie, Celia Cruz, Regina Carter.)
And as audiences will testify again and again, Werner’s been reaching new heights in concert halls all around the US for twenty years. Renowned as a charismatic performer, she’s known above all for challenging herself to conquer new styles, almost like mountaintops, every few years. From her 1995 major label debut on BMG/Private Music, the folk/rock gem “Last of the Good Straight Girls,” to her 2004 Koch Records collection of Tin Pan Alley styled originals “I Can’t Be New,” to her 2007 “agnostic gospel” hymnal “The Gospel Truth,” to 2013’s tribute to agriculture and her Iowa farm roots “Hayseed,” Werner’s creative restlessness has become her defining characteristic. “I like concept albums, because they provide a place for the audience and the artist to meet. You may not know me and I may not know you, but we both know something about a farmer’s market, about what it is to sit in a pew at church and wonder what life means, we both know something about falling in love and maybe falling back out again. I like to have a starting point for an evening’s conversation with an audience – it’s a great icebreaker.”
She first arrived on the national stage when her 1995 BMG/Private Music debut earned her national concert tours with Joan Armatrading and Richard Thompson. In 1996 Werner was featured as part of the “next generation” in Peter Paul and Mary’s PBS special LifeLines. She has performed on NPR’s World Café three times, NPR’s Mountain Stage nine times, and in August 2016 Nebraska Educational Television will broadcast “The Land Will Outlive Us All,” a one hour special on Werner, agriculture, and her 2015 concert tour across the state.
Her songs have been recorded by Tom Jones and Michael Feinstein, Broadway stars Betty Buckley and Christine Ebersole, and countless individuals and ensembles. But Werner says she’s just getting started: "And I’ve always wanted to go to Scotland – hey, maybe I could learn the bagpipes. It’s not impossible….is it?”
"One of the best environments for serious music fans in town!"