Singer/Songwriter Susie Glaze did not grow up in a “musical” family. Her father and mother met and married just prior to World War II in St. Louis, and following the war, the family moved to the mid-south, and Susie’s interests gravitated toward the theater. All the while, however, her world was serenaded by the likes of Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, Flatt & Scruggs, and other country and bluegrass musicians that later would play a critical role in her creative life.
Glaze studied drama at the University of Tennessee Knoxville, and obtained her union card while still a student. It wasn’t long that she was appearing on Broadway, performing mostly musical roles. Her most notable performance was in Roger Miller’s Big River, playing the part of Mary Jane Wilkes. It was during this time she began immersing herself in the music she had heard growing up. It didn’t take long for her to figure out that her creative path did not lie in acting.
Glaze moved to Los Angeles, and found a musical home playing along with The Eight Hand String Band, as well as solo performances and recordings, and eventually formed The Hilonesome Band in 2003. She describes the group as “A Newgrass Americana Folk Fusion Quintet” that embodies the traditional sounds of the Appalachian, bluegrass, folk and country influences she grew up with, while at the same time introducing a contemporary take on the traditional sound. The band’s most recent album, White Swan is a work that must be heard in its entirety in order to be appreciated.
KC Cafe Radio Music Director Kathy Forste recently spoke with Glaze via Skype, from her southern California home. They talked in detail about the band’s unique sound, defining the term “Newgrass” in the scope of the music. She shares her journey from growing up as a “mid-westerner,” through her years on broadway, and her transition into music. She also talked about the people who have, and continue to influence her musical creativity today.
Listen To The Interview Here:
Music By Susie Glaze and the Hilonesome Band On KC Cafe Radio:
Video: “Harlan County Boys”