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Live At the Stephen Talkhouse

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Album Review

Recorded at the influential Greenwich Village club The Speakeasy, this live set from Suzanne Vega is a rare snapshot of an artist just coming into her own. Captured in April 1985 during the same week her self-titled debut album was released, it has the feeling of a hometown record release party as Vega, accompanied only by her guitar, runs through a sharply-honed set list of early material like "Some Journey," "Marlene on the Wall," and "The Queen and the Soldier." At a time when mainstream music was often a highly processed product, both her subtle delivery and thoughtful acoustic songwriting set her apart as she opens this show with the a cappella "Tom's Diner," a signature track that wouldn't appear on record until her 1987 breakthrough Solitude Standing. Originally heard as a radio broadcast, Live at the Speakeasy is intimate and engaging, much like that artist herself.


Born: July 11, 1959 in Santa Monica, CA

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Suzanne Vega was the first major figure in the bumper crop of female singer/songwriters who rose to prominence during the late '80s and '90s. Her hushed, restrained folk-pop and highly literate lyrics (inspired chiefly by Leonard Cohen, as well as Lou Reed and Bob Dylan) laid the initial musical groundwork for what later became the trademark sound of Lilith Fair (a tour on which she was a regular). Moreover, her left-field hit single "Luka" helped convince record companies that folk-styled singer/songwriters...
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