Suzie Brown Bares Her Soul on Roots-folk LP ‘Some See the Flowers’ (ALBUM REVIEW)

It’s not unusual for a musician to moonlight in another profession to fund their passion for making music. What is unusual is for a musician to also be a cardiologist. Suzie Brown is a cardiologist in advanced heart failure and heart transplants at Vanderbilt Hospital. She is also a mother of two, which makes you wonder how she ever found the time to record an album. Even during a time of quarantine.

For her new album Some See the Flowers, Brown teamed up with Billy Harvey, who produced her 2019 album Under the Surface, which is a blend of Americana, rock, and soul. Over a series of quarantined recording sessions, they created the new album, which contains a similar blend of sounds as the previous one.

At the beginning of “Til I Make It to You”, Brown paints a picture with the words, “Here I am on the west side of town, one more hour til the sun goes down.” Then she ties that all together with a thought that has been expressed by every person who has ever sat in L.A. traffic, “When in God’s name will we start moving?” Over a subdued melody, you can hear the anticipation for a reunion with a certain someone that she hasn’t seen since six in the morning. That anticipation comes through especially when she sings “I’ll be home in a few. Set the table for two.” It’s a touching song that celebrates something simple like enjoying the company of a special someone after a day apart.

“Diffuse Me” kind of feels like you are getting a glimpse into the narrator’s personal journal. She begins with the lyrics “My heart’s like a land mine. It’s how I feel most of the time. Like I might explode, though no one knows.” It’s an intensely personal admission, but at the same time, it probably speaks to the way a lot of people feel at any given time. Even more profound is when she sings, “I’m fine. I’m fine, but I’m not fine at the same time.” The high pitch and the sustained notes of the guitar are prefect for expressing the loneliness the narrator feels.

Part of the album is folky, like “Wide Open,” which is played mostly on acoustic guitar. “Another New Normal” isn’t exactly an arena rock song, but it is a rock song that goes a little stronger on the guitar and the volume than some of the other songs on the album. 

However, the more you listen to the album, the more you realize that it’s not really about style. Perhaps it’s better to say that the style of the album isn’t quite as important as the contents of the tunes. This is about an artist being vulnerable and giving voice to her fears and experiences. Brown bares her soul in these songs, but she also sings for everyone as we try to navigate the world that has changed so much since the onset of COVID-19. And she does it all with an easy vocal delivery over warm and pretty melodies.

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