Pop classics get classical treatment

Susan Werner

If you’ve followed the career of Susan Werner, you know she is able to write well-crafted folk and pop melodies just as easily as songs in the style of Cole Porter and George Gershwin. She also has a first rate album of original gospel songs (from an agnostic perspective). You get the impression she has something completely different and inventive to reveal with every new CD. What else does she have up her sleeve?

Now she has released a new CD of classic pop covers, each arranged for chamber ensemble (think string quartet). For example, imagine Bob Marley’s Waiting in Vain done in the style of Erik Satie or a Bach treatment of Cat Steven’s The Wind. She gives the chamber music treatment to Stevie Wonder (a la Chopin), Marvin Gaye, Paul McCartney, the Animals, Paul Simon, Pete Seeger, the Beach Boys and more.

You’ll be amazed at how well these songs adapt. Or was it already in their DNA, just waiting to be revealed? This is how they’d have sounded if they had been written before the electric guitar era.

Listen to the NPR interview where she dicsusses the project. I love the quote about Paul McCartney and the powdered wig. Can you imagine Maybe I’m Amazed as a classical piece?

I first met Susan at NewSong Academy, where she taught a songwriting workshop. I tried to absorb what she taught and I bought all her CDs to study.


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