The loungy Irish-style pub atmosphere of Oceansong Café makes for a perfect setting for a folkie like local singer/guitarist Susie Summers, a longtime Charleston musician and activist with a wide vocal range who regularly graces the Oceansong stage. A favorite act of venue proprietor Carroll Brown, Summers is scheduled to play an acoustic set or two during her own birthday party this Friday.
“I’ll be in a duo with my husband, Al Pugliese,” says Summers, who previously played in the early-’90s in a duo setting with singer Pete Ledbetter. “Al plays acoustic guitar and sings harmonies. We met in 1997 and started dating. he didn’t know how to play guitar back then, but he picked it up as a way to participate with me on stage at the shows [laughs]. Now’s he’s a great player and vocalist.”
Summers, a Charleston native, has been playing professionally with a smooth finger-picking style and deep, rich singing voice in the area for over a decade, from the Southend Brewery to numerous benefit events. Her live shows usually consist of a mix of soulful acoustic folk, blues, and classic rock tunes — some original, and some covered. “I grew up listening to a lot of big-voiced women like Billie Holiday and Bessie Smith,” she says. “Only later did I get into Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez, and Bob Dylan. I’ll cover all of them, along with some more traditional folk and blues standards. Folks love to yell out for Janis [Joplin] at the shows, too, who isn’t necessarily my favorite artist, but I’m glad to do a rendition anyway!”
Susie Summers & Al Pugliese perform a free show at the Oceansong Café on the Isle of Palms at 8 p.m. on Fri. Dec. 23. Look for Susie at the Sunfire Grill & Bistro on New Year’s Eve, too!