Raised in the fold of working ranch hands and singing cowboys, Suze Spencer comes by her love of western music naturally.
“As a kid, I thought everyone played music. We didn’t have TV and only turned the radio on for special programs. My grandparents, their extended families and friends were all musicians. I learned to sing and play chords from them when I was very young, sang in choirs and ensembles in school, always enjoying music. I started playing guitar and mandolin more seriously when my children were little and haven’t been able to put it down since, eventually going back to college to study music. I’ve had a few guitar lessons over the years, but am self taught for the most part. Karl Farr, Lloyd Perryman and my grandfather were my early musical heroes, all of which played fabulous rhythm guitar. Later, Freddie Green was very influential to my own rhythm guitar style.”
Suze performs regularly with the hot duo The Archtops, old time music group The Cascade Troubadours, and her fine western swing big band, Way Out West. Many of the musicians that recorded with her on her Tall Boots CD are members of Way Out West. They perform Western, Western Swing and Vintage Country music for dances, concerts, family celebrations and parties. If you’d like more information concerning booking any of these groups, please contact Suze.
Awards and Accolades
“Outstanding Instrumentalist” award from the International Western Music Association in 2010.
Double honors of being inducted into the Western Swing Hall Of Fame and being designated a Pioneer Of Western Swing Music in 2019.
For those of us that love to hear about vintage instruments . . .
Suze’s main guitar is an early 1951 Epiphone Emperor. It’s a well worn, played in archtop cutaway, most commonly known in these parts as “The Empress.” She strings it up with D’Addario phosphor bronze strings, 14 to 60 gauge. She also plays a very sweet 1958 Martin 000-18 with light John Pearse 80/20 bronze strings. She prefers to perform and record acoustically, using only microphones for sound reinforcement when necessary.
Suze is also a music instructor, and has been teaching music for over 20 years. She is available for workshops, music camps, artist in residence school programs, music history presentations, private lessons and classroom instruction. Please see Suze’s teaching page for more information.