Singer/songwriter Susan Werner will perform songs from her new CD "Hayseed Project" at 8 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 8 on the Mainstage Theatre of the James Lumber Center for the Performing Arts at the College of Lake County.
Werner composes and performs songs that effortlessly slide between folk, jazz and pop, all delivered with sassy wit and classic Midwestern charm. In the "Hayseed Project," Werner returns to the language and characters she knows best (she grew up on a family farm in eastern Iowa, where her parents still farm).
In this special premier event, members of the audience will be seated on the Mainstage Theatre stage with Werner and her piano in order to enjoy an intimate cabaret musical performance. Preferred seating tickets will be at pub tables with regular seating in chairs on the stage. Adult beverages will be available for purchase.
Dubbed by NPR as the "Empress of the Unexpected," Werner confirms her reputation as an artist changeable as the weather with her newest CD, "Hayseed Project." Paying tribute to American agriculture and to her Iowa farm roots, Werner keeps her audiences guessing and laughing simultaneously, lending her wry humor and passionate voice to subjects such as farmer's markets, agrochemicals, climate change, drought, longing for a sense of place and the movement toward sustainable agriculture.
On this CD, Werner employs her signature song craft and wit to deliver an assortment of tunes as hilarious as they are insightful. "There's a certain sense of humor that goes along with farming because things don't always turn out the way you expected," she states. "If you can't laugh about it, you might be in the wrong line of work." A farmer's daughter, Werner is well acquainted with the trials and tribulations of American farm life. Her keen perspective led to the creation of the varied cast of characters that populate the album.
After earning a degree in voice from the University of Iowa, she attended Temple University in Philadelphia, performing in numerous recitals and operas while completing her graduate studies. Werner, who calls Chicago home now, sometimes still closes any one of the 125 club dates she plays annually throughout the U.S. and Canada with "Un Bel Di" from "Madame Butterfly" or "Habanera" from "Carmen." But ultimately, she opted to forgo a career as an opera singer, dedicating herself to songwriting instead, building a reputation at jazz clubs, coffeehouses and folk festivals along the Eastern Seaboard. Werner has toured the nation with Joan Armatrading and was featured in a 1998 Peter, Paul, and Mary PBS special as one of the best of the next generation of folk songwriters.
"Hayseed" is the fourth in a series of concept albums, beginning with 2004's "I Can't Be New," which features original songs in the style of Cole Porter and George Gershwin, followed by "The Gospel Truth" in 2007 and "Classics" in 2009. Website: http://susanwerner.com.
Tickets: Preferred seating $36; Regular $26. Prices include a $1 JLC facility fee. The Box Office is open Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. To request a James Lumber Center subscription brochure or the 2013-14 CLC cultural arts calendar, which includes professional series as well as college-sponsored events such as music concerts, theatre and dance productions, films, art exhibits, literary events and much more, call (847) 543-2300 or join the mailing list at www.clcillinois.edu/tickets. Groups of six or more people are eligible for discounted ticket prices. Call group sales at (847) 543-2431 or email JLCgroupsales@clcillinois.edu for more information.
The rest of the 2013-14 Professional Touring Season includes the following events:
Dec. 4: Magical Mask, Mime & Music of Japan
Dec. 10: The Second City's Nut-Cracking Holiday Revue
Dec. 21-22: Ruth Page Civic Ballet: The Nutcracker
Jan. 23: Mojo and the Bayou Gypsies (with dancing space on the stage)
Jan. 26: Cantus
Jan. 31: The Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra's A Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald
Feb. 21: The Irish Rovers
March 14: The Wonder Bread Years starring Pat Hazell
March 21: The Magic of Bill Blagg LIVE!
April 2: The Official Blues BrothersTM Revue presented by Dan Aykroyd, Judy Belushi and Musical Director Paul Shaffer
April 18: Chicago Tap Theatre
May 10: Dean Regan's "Give My Regards to Broadway"