Suzie Brown writes songs to process her life. For a singer-songwriter, it’s not that unique of a creative impulse. But when you’re also a cardiologist, used to being stoic and selfless on the job, the catharsis is even more essential.
“Music is my place to be honest,” says Brown. “I can say how I’m really feeling. I like not having to be so strong.”
That candor fuels “Almost There,” Brown’s fan-funded sophomore release, which finds her contemplating the joys and struggles of love with even more vulnerability than she brought to her 2011 debut “Heartstrings.” The album was produced by Oliver Wood (The Wood Brothers) and recorded live in Nashville.
The Philadelphia-based Brown continues to carve out her place in the rich Folk/Americana tradition on the 11-song collection, which ranges from tender balladry to reggae-tinged blues and buoyant folk-rock as she bares the contents of her heart. But whether she’s leaving love behind, embracing it with schoolgirl giddiness or meditating on yearnings unfulfilled, it’s her voice, dulcet, with a husky edge and hint of twang, that captivates.
Brown is especially arresting on ballads like “Fallen Down,” a lament for the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, and “Space Between,” a plaintively elegant portrait of love in crisis.
With her gift for unforgettable melodies and evocative lyrics, it’s hard to imagine it’s been only five years since she penned her first song. In that time, she’s been named a finalist in the Mountain Stage NewSong contest, a semi-finalist in the International Songwriting Competition, among other accolades, and had her music featured at Starbucks, The Gap and Anthropologie.
If she has no plans to give up her part-time clinical job, it’s because she has a true affinity for medicine. But, music, she says, is who she is.
“I can’t believe that my life was ever any way than it is right now,” says Brown.