Suzanne Vega will perform in May 22 in Grass Valley at a concert presented by the Center for the Arts.
Songwriter Suzanne Vega emerged as a leading figure of the folk-music revival of the early 1980s when with her acoustic guitar she sang what has been labeled contemporary folk or neo-folk songs of her own creation in Greenwich Village clubs.
Since the release of her self-titled, critically acclaimed 1985 debut album she has given sold-out concerts in many of the world’s best-known halls. Vega sings in a distinctive, clear vibrato-less voice described as “a cool, dry sandpaper- brushed near-whisper.”
Vega was born in Santa Monica and grew up in Spanish Harlem and the Upper West Side of New York City. Vega was influenced by her mother a computer systems analyst and her stepfather, the Puerto Rican writer Egardo Vega Yunque. There was a heady mix of multicultural music playing at home: Motown, bossa nova, jazz and folk. At age 11 she picked up a guitar and as a teenager she started to write songs.
Vega studied dance at the High School for the Performing Arts and later attended Barnard College where she majored in English Literature. In 1979 Vega attended a concert by Lou Reed and began to find her true artistic voice and distinctive vision for contemporary folk. Receptionist by day, Vega hung out at the Greenwich Village Songwriter’s Exchange by night. Soon she was playing iconic venues like The Bottom Line and Folk City.
Marlene on the Wall was a surprise hit in the U.K and Rolling Stone eventually included the record in their “100 Greatest Recordings of the 1980’s.” In 1987, the follow up, Solitude Standing, elevated Vega to star status. The album hit No. 2 in the UK and No. 11 in the states, was nominated for three Grammys including Record of the Year and went platinum. Vega’s “Days Of Open Hand won a Grammy for Best Album Package. Vega continues to tour constantly with artists as diverse as Moby and Bob Dylan.
Ari Hest, who will open for Vega, draws inspiration from a wide range of musical influences from Gordon Lightfoot and James Taylor to Ry Cooder and Daniel Lanois. At the forefront is Hest’s rugged yet subdued voice which one-time Hest producer Alex Wong described as, “a bear eating honey.”
Hest’s music has been featured on numerous television shows including Private Practice, Army Wives, and One Tree Hill. He has toured worldwide relentlessly to support his records, most recently in Israel as well as several European countries.
Tickets for the 8 p.m. May 22 show are $45 for members of the Center, $55 for the general public and are available at the Center’s Box Office in person, by phone at 530-274-8384 ext. 14, online at www.thecenterforthearts.org or at BriarPatch Co-op.
The show is at 314 W. Main St. in Grass Valley. For more, go to www.thecenterforthearts.org.