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Little Sue

Crow – 1998 (Cravedog)

Reviewed by Eric Zehnbauer

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CDs by Little Sue

Not all newcomers in the female segment of country music are belly-button ring-wearing, pop-rock wolves in country sheep's clothing. Little Sue, the namesake band of singer/songwriter Susannah Weaver, has released a gem of a sophomore effort. Little Sue owes a large debt to Emmylou Harris. A legitimate criticism could be that the album tries to be a sound-alike to Harris' earlier "Wrecking Ball" release (not that that's a bad thing!). Weaver also draws heavily on her West Virginia roots to develop her old-time country/bluegrass sound.

Weaver is a talented songwriter, writing all the tracks and sharing production duties with Gregg Williams (Sheryl Crow's drummer). The songs feature a variety of creative arrangements with contributions from two dozen musicians and vocalists, primarily from the Portland, Ore. musical community, utilizing everything from mandolin, fiddle, and banjo to tuba and trumpet to Hammond organ. There's not a single weak song among the 10 tracks, with "Sweetie" and "Warning Trains" especially standing out. The closing "These Days" throws the listener for a loop by doing an excellent take on the ragtime sound.

So, if you like your country women in the same vein as Emmylou Harris or Lucinda Williams instead of country-pop bimbos, you're gonna love Little Sue.