Thursday, April 18, 2024

Susan Werner releases 14th studio album ‘Flyover Country’

The subject of Susan Werner’s latest album Flyover Country is, as the title suggests, all those places we fly over in airplanes — and possibly in politics. And down there, in the middle and in the south, on the farms and in the barns, folks are getting on with their lives, whether you like it or not.

Musician Susan Werner repurposes folk and country to comment on political division

But “Flyover Country” is also a place of memory. Even if you left your embarrassingly small hometown because of its limitations, you probably still love it. Just a little.

People always ask me why I’m in America, especially now. My stock answer is: I don’t live in America, I live in New York. 

But the truth is I’ve traveled and lived between the coasts and I still own a cowboy hat I bought somewhere in Texas. I don’t know why, but I hang onto that hat as a reminder that the world is bigger than my Manhattan bubble.

Every track on this alt-folk album is a pleasure. The journey kicks off with the anthemic “Long Live (My Hometown),” which hopes a forgotten frontier blip “lives another hundred years.” The sly, uptempo “Snake Oil” satirizes today’s politicians (and boasts some excellent fiddle). “Why Why Why” made me go ‘ugh’ — the ballad of anyone who’s been betrayed by a partner. And “Wine Bottles” might have come straight out of Patsy Cline’s back catalogue. 

There’s even a tune about the pandemic, “To Be There”…because if anyone understands the losses incurred by lockdown, it’s live musicians.

But my favorite track is probably “Barn Radio.” Werner seems to have tapped into my subconscious here with a vision I’ve always had of playing blues and roots music in a barn somewhere.

My ancestors on my mother’s side were ranchers from Montana. They left the frontier for reasons I don’t know and pursued an ‘easier’ life in Australia. But if they had stayed, then I might’ve grown up in the world Werner describes.

Join Susan Werner online for #susieonsundays

And Flyover Country is some of the most pleasurable land to visit sonically, even if you wouldn’t want to live there. This, her 14th studio album, taps into time-honored, distinctly American music genres: traditional country and bluegrass with ten original songs that are honest, heartfelt, and humorous.

For more on Werner, tune in to #SUSIEONSUNDAYS livestream and YouTube series.

Listen to Susan Werner’s Flyover Country on Spotify.

Merryn Johns

Merryn Johns is the Editor-in-Chief of Queer Forty. She is an award-winning journalist, as well as a broadcaster and public speaker. Originally from Sydney, Australia where she began her career in journalism in the 1990s, she is based in New York City where she became the editor-in-chief of Curve Magazine and wrote for a variety of publications including Vanity Fair, Vogue, Slate, and more. Follow on Twitter at @Merryn1

Merryn Johns has 140 posts and counting. See all posts by Merryn Johns

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