The T-Shirt Project, #1: Betty Soo

Posted: under Art, Creative Mom, Music, Performance, Songwriting, Uncategorized.

About The T-Shirt Project:
One of my 2013 New Year’s resolutions is to support my favorite Austin musical artists by 1) buying and wearing their t-shirts, and 2) writing about them on my blog.  I encourage you to check out these folks, and support music, with your wallet and your heart.

For January, I chose Austin performing songwriter Betty Soo.


Betty Soo is an Artist, with a capital ‘A.’  She writes smart songs and sings them in a distinctively beautiful voice.  You can read her official bio, complete with awards and accolades, here.

But here are my own impressions:
Superficially, Betty Soo is not hard to like.  She hits all of the bases in terms of being personable, musical, and putting on a great show, with a confident stage presence.  And let’s just tell the truth and say that’s she’s really pretty.  But the reason why I’m always curious about what she’s up to is that she seems to always have her thinking cap on.  She’s always reaching for the next level as a writer and a performer, and each new recording she releases stretches and expands her range.  She’s adept as a wordsmith, yet the melody and the groove are never forgotten.  She’s not afraid to wait, to be patient, to listen for the next creation, and to work on it until she gets it right.  With Betty Soo, I get the vibe that she is sitting on a huge reserve of talent–musical, literary, even comedic–and I want to see what she does next, and then next after that.

Finally, I have to mention that Betty Soo’s voice is truly special.  Her track on Sara Hickman’s “Best of Times” CD, for example, is one of my favorites, amidst a roster of accomplished artists.

Betty Soo is currently appearing in “Long Time Gone:  Words and Music by Bob Dylan,” at Lyric Hall in New Haven, Connecticut.

The T-Shirt
I chose the Betty Soo Cartoon Ringer T-shirt, for 25 bucks.  You can buy it here.

ITricia Mitchell Wearing Betty Soo T-Shirt

Betty Soo Cartoon Ringer T-Shirt, Size Medium


The Interview

I wanted to write this blog in time to promote one of your Austin shows. But a quick glance at your website revealed that you’re up in Yankee Land!! Tell me about  “Long Time Gone: Words & Music by Bob Dylan.”

Betty Soo:
Peter Landecker created a theatrical biography of Bob Dylan, using Dylan’s own words and music.  Without impersonating him, he does take on the character of Dylan with interviews, monologues, and songs.  Guy Davis, a Blues musician, and I (a Folk singer-songwriter) interpret several of Dylan’s songs throughout the show.  Behind all of this is a beautiful backdrop of color– paintings and other graphics, which set the scene for the songs we are performing.   It’s an amazing way to be immersed in the material of one of my great heroes– and in a totally different way than we are usually afforded the luxury.   I truly believe anyone in train, car, or bike distance should come to this show.


You’re also going to be performing in NYC at Zirzamin, former Momo’s proprietor Paul Oveisi’s club. What was your relationship with Momo’s?  How does it feel to be able to support his new venture, and also to develop your audience in New York?

Betty Soo:
I miss Momo’s.  It has a very special place in many of our hearts–both for the magical shows and the late night hangs.  I keep hearing great things about Zirzamin’s intimate listening room and about what Paul is doing in general– and I believe it, of course!   I love that we get to team up again, with my booking in his club, even though we’ll be in a different city than before.  He’s so kind, and I know it will feel like home.


How was your tour with Doug Cox last year?  How did that experience contribute to your artistic growth?

Betty Soo:
Touring with Doug is something I really enjoy.  We still hope to tour together more and will be performing together at the International Folk Alliance conference in Toronto this February.  He has a distinctive, warm, beautiful sound on the Dobro, and he is a very kind and giving person, too.  And he is not a nightmare to tour with–a quality which is sadly rarer than you might think!  His easygoing personality is great for shows.  I already feel comfortable joking around on stage and having fun, but he takes that up a level, which I love.  He pushes me with his playing, and I push him with my voice and guitar work.  It’s a great balance.


Are you writing right now? If so, can you give us any details?

Betty Soo:
I am writing.  And I am recording.  I am working on a big project–recording LOTS of songs over a span of time, with different producers.  I am curious to see how it might all come together, and I’m sure once the recording process is done I’ll be flat broke and in need of music lovers to help me launch the product to the world.  There is a real variety to the songs I’m recording now.  There’s some real Country, like the music I grew up listening to.  There’s Folk, of course.  There’s artsy Rock, there’s rootsy stuff… it’s like the project where I am trying not to be afraid of my many voices.


What’s next for you?

Betty Soo:
Next? Who knows?!

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