Guitar, Acoustic;Guitar, Electric;Keyboards
Jun 26, 2018
In Sue's Own Words:
I started singing and playing guitar when I was eight-years old, out on the plains just outside of St. Louis, Missouri. I wore out Carpenters, Beach Boys, and Barbara Streisand records. When I was 9, my parents, four brothers, two sisters, and a dog and a cat piled into a station wagon and drove to Mystic, Connecticut. I've been here ever since. I took guitar lessons from Ron Apicelli (who I thought was Peter Frampton) but was actually the owner of Ron's Guitars in Groton, CT.
I joined my first band when I was 15 (recruited after a rousing karaoke version of Don't Stop Believing at a High School Talent Show.) This band, Majestic, was just the first of about a million rock-n-roll cover bands I would eventually participate in, rippin' everything from Judas Priest to Donna Summer to Boston. The Toys, Casino, Two of a Kind, Fever and Witness Protection are a few of the names I can remember.
When I was 18, I gave up a full academic scholarship to the University of Hartford to go hang out with friends attending the Guitar Institute of Technology in California. I lost a lot of weight, got really tan, and came back home to Connecticut three months later. Read my memoir for all the reasons...
It wasn't until I attended my first Bruce Springsteen concert that I was finally inspired to write my own stuff. I just didn't know how to go about it. On the way home from the concert, I simply started writing on the steering wheel, and I haven't stopped yet. Some cool stuff has happened since I started writing.
I planned to just do a simple solo album with some acoustic guitar, some clumsy chord progressions, and straightforward lyrics. But I found myself rehearsing the songs in my basement with some guys who just kept showing up: Dave Foret on bass, John Jeff (JJ) on lead guitar, Steve Pranulis on keys, and Kevin Clark on drums. We recorded the songs with Jon Quinn at In Phaze Audio studios in Griswold, Connecticut, in a barn. Mastering was by Dave Locke from JPMasters in Charlotte, North Carolina. And we went to press. I launched a web site, established a mailing list, and started doing gigs as the Sue Menhart Band. The album "Torn" is available digitally at My Store.
We went back to In Phaze Audio to record the "Gypsy Soul" EP and released it in 2009. Bill Quinn replaced Steve Pranulis on keys, but everyone else stayed. Mastering was done by Ron Zabrocki (producer/guitarist/songwriter/session musician and all-around wonderful human being.) This effort brought some international press, some awards, and more cool gigs.
Indie-Music.com awarded the band a "Top 25 of 2010" distinction in January, 2010 for excellence and achievement in independent music.
Me and my band appeared on the live music performance television show "Poughkeepsie Live" on Time Warner Cable 6 New York in July, 2009. They treated us like rock stars, while cameramen rolled all over the floor and hung from ceilings. Cool! Videos are up on YouTube here.
My jaw literally dropped when me and my band were awarded "Best Americana Performance" at the inaugural 2010 New London, Connecticut Whalie Awards with nominations also for Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Best Americana Band. For 2011, we were nominated in two People's Choice categories - Best Americana Band and Best Video, and one Critics Choice Award for Best Blues/Country Rock Performance for our single "One Day in New York."
JJ, Dave, Kevin and I recorded the single "One Day in New York," in JJ's bedroom suite, which appears on the New London music scene's "The Long Hundred" compilation CD, released in Jan. 2011. The entire compilation, or just the single, is available at The Telegraph record store in New London or digitally here: powers.bandcamp.com/album/the-long-hundred.
Hard copies of "Gypsy Soul" are available from CD Baby, at live shows, My Store. It's also available digitally on iTunes and Amazon.
I moved a tad away from blues/rock and veered into R&B with a 2011 EP called "Forever," produced by Ron Zabrocki. I had a tiny crush on Major Seventh chords, so the 5-song EP is filled with 'em. "Forever" is available at My Store. The EP was awarded a "Top 25 of 2012" distinction by Indie-Music.com, and was nominated for "Record of the Year" at the 2012 New London Whalie Awards.
Love Ain't Hard
Our second full length album was released in 2017 and is available digitally everywhere. It’s a collection of roots rock, blues, jazz, soul and pop tunes plus a fun, fun, fun tribute to Brian Wilson. Because who doesn’t love Brian Wilson. Some press we received is here.
I have worked with many, many musicians for many, many years. But my true rock of Gibraltar (in more ways than one!) is my husband/drummer/best friend Kevin Clark. Married for over 25 years now, I like to call him "my own personal Quincy Jones." His guidance, support, and overall awesomeness is unmatched! We made a very cool daughter too.
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