100 Greatest Women, #65: Suzy Bogguss

100 Greatest Women

#65

Suzy Bogguss

In the liner notes of her debut album, the legendary Chet Atkins wrote that “her voice sparkles like crystal water.” An apt description of Suzy Bogguss indeed. Her pure and clear voice has s always been a perfect fit for a wide range of material, whether she’s singing old Western songs or modern-day swing.

Bogguss was barely out of college when she started to follow her muse. With a group of friends, she spent the summer after her graduation criss-crossing the country with an amp and a guitar, going into random clubs and asking if she could play for the night in exchange for enough cash to cover expenses.

The novelty wore off quickly for her friends, who went back home when the summer was over, but Bogguss persevered. She recorded an LP to sell at her shows, and soon became a regular on the midwest coffeehouse circuit.

When she finally got up the gumption to move to Nashville, she put together a demo cassette. She got her big break when she landed a performance slot at a new theme park in 1986 – Dollywood. A label executive from Capitol Records caught her show, bought her cassette and offered her a contract.

One of her first singles was a cover of “I Wanna Be a Cowboy’s Sweetheart,” which found the young singer bringing the yodel back to country radio, or at least to the small handful of stations that played it. When her next single “Somewhere Between” cracked the top 40, she was given the go ahead to record a full-length album of the same name. Strong critical acclaim followed, along with her first real hit, “Cross My Broken Heart.” In the spring of 1989, the ACM named her Top New Female Vocalist.

Her second album was a big setback, as Moment of Truth produced two low-charting singles and mediocre reviews. But she found her voice the next time out. After a duet with Lee Greenwood on “Hopelessly Yours” went to No. 12, her cover of “Someday Soon” matched that mark. That lead single from Aces helped launch her only platinum album to date, and after she scored top ten hits with “Outbound Plane” and “Aces,” she won the 1992 CMA Horizon Award, defeating a field that included Trisha Yearwood, Brooks & Dunn, Pam Tillis and Billy Dean.

The label was in a rush to capitalize on that win, so she quickly recorded a follow-up album, Voices in the Wind. It was slapped together so quickly that they tacked on the fourth single from Aces, “Letting Go,” rather than launch with a new single. Still, that album went gold, thanks to the big hit “Drive South,” which remains her highest charting single to date.

Bogguss released one of her best albums, Something Up My Sleeve, in 1993. It showcased her writing more than previous efforts, and produced a pair of top ten singles. Of those two, “Hey Cinderella” became one of her signature songs. Her cover of “Take it to the Limit” on the Common Thread: The Songs of the Eagles tribute album earned her another CMA award, as she shared the honor for Album of the Year.

After an interesting side project with Chet Akins (Simpatico), she took two years off to begin raising a family. When she returned to the country market in 1996 with Give Me Some Wheels, the scene had changed and she had lost her slot at country radio. After another album with Capitol in 1998, she parted ways with the label.

As she switched to the independent scene, she took more liberties with her music. In 2003, she released on of her best-reviewed albums ever, Swing. Produced by Ray Benson of Asleep at the Wheel, the album was a top ten jazz hit. In recent years, Bogguss has been teaming up with Matraca Berg and Gretchen Peters for what they call the “Wine, Women and Song” tour, playing to enthusiastic audiences across the United States and England. In 2007, her Sweet Danger project was also a jazz hit, peaking at No. 4 on the Top Jazz Albums chart. She is currently planning a new album, which will be the second release for her personally owned label, Loyal Duchess Records.

Suzy Bogguss

Essential Singles

  • “Someday Soon,” 1991
  • “Outbound Plane,” 1992
  • “Aces,” 1992
  • “Letting Go,” 1992
  • “Drive South,” 1992
  • “Hey Cinderella,” 1993

Essential Albums

  • Somewhere Between (1989)
  • Aces (1991)
  • Something Up My Sleeve (1993)
  • Swing (2003)

Industry Awards

  • ACM Top New Female Vocalist, 1989
  • CMA Horizon Award, 1992
  • CMA Album of the Year: Common Thread: The Songs of the Eagles, 1994

==> #64. Billie Jo Spears

<== #66. Paulette Carlson (Highway 101)

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8 Comments

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8 Responses to 100 Greatest Women, #65: Suzy Bogguss

  1. ChadNo Gravatar

    I love me some Suzy Boggus. One of my favorite is actually her “Nobody Love, Nobody Gets Hurt” CD. I know everyone always says Allison Krauss is the voice of an angel, but Suzy is certainly in the choir.

  2. I’ve always hated how nobody seems to remember her, Hey Cinderella is one of my favorite songs ever. I miss hearing her on the radio. Her last album I wasn’t that big a fan of but it was still okay.

  3. LeeannNo Gravatar

    Well…you don’t even have to convince me about Boggus! I’ve been a fan ever since I got into country music. I love all of the songs that you listed in the essential singles plus more, of course. I even like “Two Step Around The Christmas Tree.”:) I think it’s cool that she and her husband, Doug Cryder, work so closely together too.

  4. Paul W DennisNo Gravatar

    A great artist, capable of moving between genres – and she can yodel !

    Her album with the great Chet Atkins is a real treasure

  5. She was one of those artists that was at her peak when I was getting into country music. I remain a huge fan. “Aces” is still my favorite song of hers. As Chad mentioned, the “Nobody Love, Nobody Gets Hurt” CD is quite good too. I love the title cut, written by the incomparable Bobbie Cryner.

  6. sorry for the internet speak but, OMG!!! Kevin actually knows who Bobbie Cryner is! I never knew anybody else who knew about her. She’s one who I love but probably shouldn’t make this list because she wasn’t around much after 1996.

  7. Howdy

    Correction: Suzy’s second album was titled “Moment of Truth”

  8. CoryNo Gravatar

    How did she beat Yearwood for Horizon Award??