Susan Gibson review…October 5, 2019….

SUSAN GIBSON

THE HARD STUFF

IMAGINARY LINES–ANTIQUES–THE HARD STUFF–LOOKIN FOR A FIGHT–THE BIG GAME–DIAGNOSTIC HEART–2 FAKE ID’S–HURRICANE–WILDFLOWERS IN THE WEEDS–8 X 10

Susan Gibson scored mainstream notoriety after writing The Dixie Chicks anthemic “Wide Open Spaces,” back in the day.  “The Hard Stuff” marks her first full-length album since 2016.  During that time, she has had to cope with the frailty of life thru the loss of both parents within a four-year span–first her mom, then her dad.  Thus, this set is laced with material that shows a growth and maturity that only physical and mental hardships can bring to the fore.  During those four years, Susan learned that life never prepares you for what is to come, but, thru her deep affinity for family, she not only survived, she thrived.

Arguably, these are the ten best, one-right-after-the-other songs of Susan’s career.  Her parents’ decades-long love story is chronicled in “Antiques,” and, herein, is one of the most powerful of life’s lessons to be learned— “gettin’ old ain’t for the weak–it only happens to the strongest ones.”  A similar theme closes the set, with banjo and fiddle accompanying Susan’s vocals, as “8 X 10” further shows her love for her parents, and of regret for “questions I never thought to ask you why.”  “The Big Game” is a playful look at youthful lust, where our lass tends to “shoot before I aim,” leaving this one a sweet comedy of errors.

The title cut served as our favorite.  STAX-fueled horns play out over Susan’s bluesy vocal of “The Hard Stuff,” where, thru life, “if you’re gonna be stupid, you better be tough.”

My personal credo is fully on display here.  A great writer is always gonna be great.  It doesn’t take a Phi Beta Kappa, tho, to figure out  that great writers who are faced with life-altering experiences often create some of their most powerful material.  Witness and enjoy Susan Gibson and her masterpiece, “The Hard Stuff.”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.

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