Country music star Suzy Bogguss will visit Forsyth for the fourth time in the last six years when she performs at the Monroe County Fine Arts Center at 7:30 p.m. on Friday.
Bogguss’ three previous Forsyth concerts were all held at the much smaller Rose Theater as the 1,200-seat Fine Arts Center had not yet been built. Bogguss said despite the venue change she’s really looking forward to her Forsyth return.
“Everybody is so special there,” she said.
Bogguss was one of the biggest stars in Nashville in the late 1980s and early 1990s, selling four million records while amassing six Top 10 country hits, including “Outbound Plane”. “Drive South”, and “Hey Cinderella.” During her 30-plus year career, the versatile Bogguss has also recorded a duets album with legendary guitarist Chet Atkins, made a modern swing album with Asleep At the Wheel front man Ray Benson and released an album of Merle Haggard hits.
Bogguss will be accompanied on Friday by guitarist Craig Smith and bassist Elio Giordano with whom she performs about 50 shows annually. Bogguss also performs about 20 more shows per year with ‘90s country stars Terri Clark and Pam Tillis as part of the “Chicks With Hits” tour. Bogguss said she’s recorded about 200 songs through the years and has plenty to choose from for her concerts, but she said she’ll definitely play the hits since that’s what fans love.
While Bogguss has nine new songs she’s in the process of recording, her most recent album release was 2016’s “Aces Redux”, a freshly arranged, stripped-down version of her 1991 platinum album “Aces” that brought Bogguss national fame. In addition to making her a Nashville celebrity, Bogguss said the “Aces” album gave her job security at her record company, Liberty Records, after 30 acts on the label were fired in 1990 upon a new regime taking over.
Bogguss said she found while recording “Aces Redux” that songs she’s performed for years have different meanings for her a quarter century later. For example, her husband Doug Crider wrote one of her biggest hits, “Letting Go” about the relationship between Bogguss and her mother. Bogguss said when she sings the song today, her role has switched from the young girl leaving home to the role of mother as her own son leaves home for the first time to attend college.
While Bogguss’ last Top 10 hit came in 1993, she said she still listens to country radio hits of today and said she feels country music might be back on an artistic upswing. She said she’s particularly impressed with the support that young country artists are showing for one another, saying it was advice from friends like Kathy Mattea, Billy Dean and Atkins that enabled her to have the success she’s had. She said she served as a similar mentor for the Dixie Chicks when they exploded in popularity in the late 1990s.
Bogguss, whose tour stops have ranged from Texas to Alaska in the past year, said with album sales and online downloads diminishing touring is increasingly critical for maintaining visibility.
Bogguss said, “So many of us from the ‘90s are out on the road. Our creative juices are still going. . . I’m still getting new audiences. It makes you feel wanted.”
Opening for Bogguss will be Monroe County’s own Ethan Payne, a rising senior at Mary Persons. Payne, who first received nationwide notice when he was called on stage to play at a Luke Bryan concert in 2016, reached the Hollywood Week round of “American Idol” this spring. Bogguss, who’s impressed with Payne’s talent, said she hopes to get to play guitar with him backstage before Friday’s show.
She said of Payne: “He’s awesome.”