Biography All Music Guide
All Music Guide:
Oh Susanna is the stage name of singer/songwriter Suzie Ungerleider, a Canadian alt-country performer with a taste for stark, haunting balladry that's earned her comparisons to the likes of Gillian Welch. Born in the U.S., Ungerleider moved with her family to Vancouver as a child, and grew up listening to all kinds of music (she was especially fond of the Rolling Stones). She studied history and hosted a radio show at Concordia University, which helped intensify her already burgeoning interest in American roots music, and began writing her own songs in a country-folk vein during her college years. Ungerleider's first public performance as Oh Susanna came in 1995 (by which time she was working as a library clerk), and in 1997 she recorded a self-titled, seven-song EP, releasing it on her own Stella imprint. Her dark, often morbid narratives helped her win a contest as the best unsigned act in Canada; that summer, she attracted more buzz by playing selected dates on the Lilith Fair tour, and subsequently hitting the road in Canada with like-minded artists Veda Hille and Kinnie Starr as the Scrappy Bitches Tour. Oh Susanna's first full-length album, Johnstown, was released on Square Dog in 1999, and continued to display a gothic fascination with murder ballads and the darker side of folk and country. The gentler melancholy of Sleepy Little Sailor followed in 2001 on the Catamount label, and it was supported by numerous tour dates. Two years later, Oh Susanna found herself working with Nettwerk. She polished up her folk-tinged sound for a self-titled full-length, released in September 2003.