November 03, 2016
“I love the world / sometimes it loves me / the love of my life / is humanity.” That’s the simple, glorious sentiment at the end of Suzanne Vega’s newest album, the just-released “Lover, Beloved: Songs from an Evening with Carson McCullers.” For Vega to end Wednesday night’s show with this, from the stirring “Carson’s Last Supper,” well, it felt pretty perfect.
Vega is probably best known for her hits from last century like “Luka” and “Tom’s Diner,” among many others. These were peppered into the set to great effect alongside the new, McCullers-inspired material. Songs like “We of Me” and “Harper Lee” ignited the air with lush images and thick memories.
Her trademark black hat made appearances with the old stuff while the new songs came with an unlit cigarette, perhaps in the character of McCullers. Gerry Leonard was his usual fantastic guitarist self, adding dazzling licks to all songs, while Jason Hart played keyboard on some tracks to further the harmony.
The defining moment of the evening was “The Queen and The Soldier.” The World Café Live crowd was beyond excited to hear it and even started singing before Vega did. The singer then encouraged a sing along, for what she thought to be the first time ever. A rousing performance.
Teddy Thompson opened with a tight set of folk rock. Funny, and vocally drawing from the likes of Lyle Lovett and Buddy Holly — not to mention a hint of his father Richard Thompson — the kid’s music is certainly worth some spins on the turntable.