Reviewed by: Brenda Hillegas
Here in the great city of Philadelphia, World Cafe Live and WXPN collaborate to bring us a weekly “Free at Noon” show. The free, hour-long live sets feature musicians who are usually in town for a headlining show. Last year, I caught Suzanne Santo along with Butch Walker and although I had loved Walker for many years, I left that show with an admiration (and a bit of a girl crush) on Santo.
On Santo’s debut solo album, Ruby Red, she collaborates with Walker on a track titled “Better Than That”. This song shows off what Suzanne Santo is made of – raw, honest vocals and a heavy dose of perfect Americana. It’s a shame “Better Than That” nearly closes out Ruby Red, as it’s a good enough lead track.
With that being said though, the first track, “Handshake”, draws in the listener with an eerie-pop intro and a raspy old record player sound. This anti-love song (or is it just an honest, actual love song?) proves what anyone who may have seen Santo perform before already has known. She’s the real deal.
Other stand out tracks include the soul-spilling “Best Out of Me”, the kick-ass “Love Fucked Up”, and “The Wrong Man” which is something that we can all relate to…right?!
After more than a decade-long career, Santo (who is also half of the duo Honeyhoney), gives us her all in a stand alone album. Her stellar songwriting across eleven songs creates unforgettable ballads, rock and roll, and incredibly pure, beautiful music overall.