Oh Susanna – “My Boyfriend” (Stella Records): Toronto-based roots music singer/songwriter Suzie Ungerleider (aka Oh Susanna) has long enjoyed serious peer respect and critical support, without ever receiving the wider success she has richly deserved.
It’s very heartening then to see that this focus track from her upcoming album A Girl In Teen City (out May 26) is nestling alongside the likes of Sheryl Crow and Ron Sexsmith on CBC Radio 2’s current Top 20.
The track and album represent a fascinating lyrical conceit, as Oh Susanna transports herself back to her earlier life as a punk rock fan in Vancouver in the ‘80s.
In a press release, Ungerleider explains that “My Boyfriend” “is about the time in grade 10 when my gorgeous boyfriend tried out for a band but failed miserably because he was tone-deaf. It is seen from the eyes of a teenage girl who bemusedly watches the posturing of the young men around her. Meanwhile she secretly knows she could kick their asses if she just had the guts to sing in front of them. The song makes fun but also talks about how girls can be pushed to the side, or perhaps push themselves to the side, because of lack of confidence.”
The song itself is a lively roots-rock meets pop romp that is certainly a departure from Ungerleider’s signature slow and melancholy material, while her skills as a lyricist remain on vivid display.
A Girl In Teen City is produced by Jim Bryson, who also helmed Oh Susanna’s previous album, Namedropper. He plays alongside Eli Abrams, Cam Giroux, and Gord Tough (Sarah Harmer). We’ve heard the rest of the album and can confirm it’s a winner richly worthy of your ears.
Oh Susanna is currently touring the UK, where she has a faithful following. From May 11-13, she performs in The Art of Time Ensemble's tribute to Steve Earle, Doghouse Roses, at Toronto's Harbourfront Centre.