After nearly six months without music it finally made a joyous return to the Stag last night. Pre-lockdown the Stag has been having a series of Audiences with local musicians where they talk about their life and their music and then play some of their songs. Last night it returned with a bang, in front of about a dozen socially distanced in-house invited guests and the world at large on the internet, as the charming and vivacious Sister Suzie took centre stage supported by her guitarist from The Right Band, Matt Jackson.
The evening was expertly compared by landlord Nick Holt who interviewed Suzie and led her through some very interesting and amusing stories about her life up in the North East of England and how she eventually came to call Hastings her home. She was also very honest about how Covid-19 and lockdown had, for a time, robbed her of her musical interest. During that time she was neither able to write or even listen to music, but it has now come surging back following her appearance at Live and Unlocked on Hastings Pier recently.
It became clear that Suzie is a sort of musical sponge absorbing all types of music and trying them out before eventually settling on blues and soul. She makes it clear that she has taken her inspiration from the city of New Orleans, The Big Easy and her setlist and it’s nod to the legendary Memphis Minnie certainly shows that.
During the course of the evening Suzie delivered some early twentieth century blues numbers along with tracks from her own latest album Ain’t No Lady (which incidentally I highly recommend having been playing tracks on the radio over recent months). Her second set culminated in what for me was a surprise, a stunning version of John Prine’s Angel From Montgomery. I was lucky to get a quick word with Suzie who has agreed to come into the Hastings Rock Radio Studio when things allow to do a live session for me.
Throughout the evening Suzie was a delightful “house guest” during the interviews and in performance, where a word must be said about the superb guitar skills of Matt Jackson. She left us wanting more and I for one can’t wait until the next time I can see her with her full band……that will be special.
Congratulations to The Stag Inn for staging this event and bringing some sanity back to a crazy world. Facebook links are below for both parts of the show if you would like to see it.
Words and photos by Tony Davis