Suzie Vinnick is an engaging performer whose voice and guitar work have earned her many fans and numerous awards. Her newest album, Fall Back Home, spent a number of weeks on the CKUA Top 30 Chart after its release in 2022. She’s in the middle of a Canadian tour and took some time to answer our questions.
Some articles and reviews about your work describe you as self-taught. What path did your musical education take?
I started taking guitar lessons at age nine because my nine-year-old buddy and I were going to start a band. The band never happened, but my parents saw how much I loved music. They helped me get involved in as many musical activities as I could, like school band, music camps, and jam sessions with my friends.
Later I got to work with some really incredible guitarists like Tony, D, Rick Fines, and Kevin Breit. They are amazing guitar players. I’ve learned a lot from them and consider them all musical influences.
What gig felt like your first big break?
Meeting Tony D, and playing music with him in Saskatoon, then playing bass and singing in his trio. In 1993 I got my second big break when I met musician Rick Fines. We met in Ottawa through a folk DJ named Chopper McKinnon and have been playing music on and off ever since.
Do you have a favourite venue or festival in Canada?
I’m really grateful to get to play music and see the country, and my family and friends along the way. A lot of places in Canada now feel like home, so it’s hard to choose one place as a favourite. But that being said, I have taught at the Hornby Island Blues workshop in BC since 2003 and I love getting there when I can. It’s a pretty magical place.
You’re currently on tour with Charlie A’Court and Lloyd Spiegel. What has it been like to make music with them, and resume live performances after such a long period of cancellations and postponements?
It’s been so nice after these past few quiet years to hit the road again and share the stage with Charlie and Lloyd. They are really gifted musicians and awesome people, and the shows that we’ve done so far have been a lot of fun. Our current tour is pretty intense, with 25 shows in six weeks, plus all of the travel in between, so I’m grateful that we can support each other during the shows and on the road.
Your latest album, Fall Back Home, spent a number of weeks on CKUA’s Top 30 Chart. How has community broadcasting and donor-supported radio helped your career?
It was so sweet to see the latest album on the Top 30 Chart. CKUA has been incredibly supportive over the years, playing my music, and promoting my Alberta shows. They are a gift to musicians in so many ways. It’s really fun to do a show somewhere and have someone come up to me and say, “I heard you on CKUA and that’s why I’m here at your show.” I try to promote and support and listen to the station as often as I can.
Thanks to Suzie and all the musicians who recognize the role CKUA plays in promoting live music. Find info about upcoming shows and festivals at our events calendar, and enjoy a variety of CKUA programs that celebrate working and touring musicians.
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