Celtic Connections review: Suzanne Vega, Glasgow

Vega's focus on talent over trends equals timeless appeal. Picture: Getty

Vega's focus on talent over trends equals timeless appeal. Picture: Getty

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THE nice thing about never really being in fashion is that you don’t go out.

Suzanne Vega - Fruitmarket, Glasgow

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For although Suzanne Vega had a respectable number of hits in the late 1980s/early 90s – including Tom’s Diner, remixes of which took on a life of their own – she was never fully identified with any music scene of the time; always just a little, as another hit had it, Left Of Center.

So although her style of restrained folky pop hasn’t noticeably changed since then, it doesn’t seem dated.

Vega’s cool, dispassionate voice is similarly unaltered, still giving the impression that every syllable has been carefully considered.

It’s strong enough to carry this stripped-down performance, accompanied only by regular collaborator Gerry Leonard on guitar.

This means that some of the instrumentation is pre-recorded but, though a band would have added to the richness of the sound, there’s a charm to this simple set-up.

It’s the same charm that sees Vega model a long black velvet cloak picked up in a second-hand store that day, asking us whether it’s a keeper – I’d say yes, but its £45 price tag seems a bit steep.

That’s during dry, witty new song I Never Wear White, from her “spiritually-inspired” latest album, Tales From The Realm Of The Queen Of Pentacles, which is thankfully not as hippy dippy as it sounds.

Another prop – a top hat – is theatrically donned for a choppy version of Tom’s Diner which nods to the DNA remix while retaining the purity of its sparse, lonely vocal.

Seen on 01.02.14

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