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  • Suzanne Ernst
    Little Things with Great Love
Suzanne Ernst

I started writing songs in high school. My lyrics often reflected my draw to finding out about my inner world - who am I, why am I here…the usual questions…though my very first song was about Alfred, an imaginary dog who plays a banjo. The song did not address life’s most profound questions but the melody does make a distinctive ringer on my cell phone.

My music background is pretty varied - I sang in the church and high school choirs, and listened to my dad sing and play cowboy songs on his Harmony 6 string. Our old Hi-Fi (hi fidelity, young ones) played our household records including: my dad’s Swing Era music; my sister’s Broadway musicals, Elvis, The Platters, Pat Boone, Fabian, Peter, Paul & Mary; my brother’s a cappello Rock & Roll; and my mom’s Perry Como and Sinatra.

When I was about 12 years old, I picked up my Dad’s guitar. One of the first songs I learned by ear was Buddy Holly’s "Words of Love". In 1966, I received my first guitar, a Gibson B-25, and was singing with my friends at hootenannies.

In the 60’s, I listened to the Beatles on a.m. radio while doing my homework - and to Joni Mitchell, the Beach Boys, Chad & Jeremy, The Animals, Simon & Garfunkel, Janis Ian, and many other’s - whose music lifted me out of my grammar school doldrums.

When I was 16, I recorded a duo with the guy who sang the "Palisades Park" radio commercial. The record never took off (you mean you never heard of "I Really Really Do" ?), but I did learn how to sing into a studio microphone.

College exposed me to madrigals, Gregorian chant, atonal choral pieces, Beethoven, Segovia, and chamber music. Hofstra University had a great collection of old folk music. I also listened to Crosby/Stills/Nash/Young, Santana, Bread, Harry Chapin, Kenny Rankin, Carol King, Fleetwood Mac, Steely Dan, Baez, Dylan and others.

I was drawn to Eastern philosophy after reading books by Hermann Hesse and Alan Watts and, in the early 1980’s I spent time in a spiritual community. While the experience wasn’t what I had hoped, I got my first taste of consistent song writing. People in the community were singing my songs at the church service…that was a kick.

I have been playing in coffee houses, bars, restaurants and cafes since the late 60’s. In the 80’s, I jammed with a group of guys who liked playing 40’s jazz and standards (Don’t Come Around Much Anymore, Take The A Train, Sunny Side of the Street, etc).

My singing and guitar playing has been described as folk, folk-rock, and California folk - reminiscent of Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell, or Kenny Rankin…It’s still a work in progress…and it’s still fun.

Writing songs has always been therapy for my soul. My first cd - "little things with great love" brought me great joy to produce and share with friends, family and fellow musicians. I couldn’t ask for more.