ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — When a friend of singer/songwriter Susanne Abbott suggested that the songs from “No History of Prevention,” her most recent release, sounded like they could have fit right in place with one of the most recognizable film musicals ever released, she didn’t quite know how to take it.
“This friend of mine, a guitar player, said my stuff sounded kind of like the lost songs of the ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show,'” Abbott said in a Journal interview. “I guess it’s because of my rock stuff, and how my songs are anthemic in a way.”
Could be. Then again, it could be that Abbott’s friend only listened to “No. 9” for instance, or maybe even the string-laden “Jacqueline,” both from “No History of Prevention,” since those two cover only a smidgen of the sounds Abbott reaches out with on the album.
“On My Head,” for example, seems indicative of Abbott’s southern Texas roots with its grit and growl, while “St. Catherine” rides a sort of lilting piano intro into a piece that could very well find itself in a movie soundtrack somewhere.
All of that, and more, form the essence of Abbott, who names Neil Young, Bryan Adams, Carole King and Townes Van Zandt as artists who have tickled her fancy through the years. And that “Rocky Horror Picture Show” reference actually does hold water when mining Abbott’s musical soul even further.
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 23
WHERE: Cowgirl, 319 S. Guadalupe St., Santa Fe
HOW MUCH: No cover
“I also have some theater background, though it’s funny to say ‘musical theater’ because then people just think of Julie Andrews,” Abbott said. “That’s so not me. It’s more like rock opera-type stuff, blues-based shows, but I do think that Stephen Sondheim is one of the best writers out there, just the way he arranges stuff.”
Speaking of arrangements, Abbott did have to do a little re-arranging when thinking about taking the songs from “No History” on the road – through New Mexico for the first time ever, actually. While she had the benefit of a backing band on the record, she’s pared down her songs so that they can be presented with her voice and acoustic guitar playing, and the accompaniment of an electric guitar. In a way, then, the Cowgirl sounds like the perfect setting for those tunes.