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One thing is for certain about festival headliner Susan Werner: When it comes to music, you cannot pigeonhole her. She is one of the boldest creative forces on today’s folk and acoustic music scene. We welcome Susan back to the Connecticut Folk festival after an electrifying performance with Trina Hamlin at our 2010 festival. Susan has proven time and time again her unwavering ability to deliver on the truly original promises of her inventive, visionary way of making music. Over the course of her colorful career, Susan has cultivated a reputation as a daring and innovative songwriter. She boldly endeavors to weave old with new to create altogether new genres of music when existing ones do not suit her muse, and she regularly keeps audiences guessing and laughing simultaneously. Dubbed by NPR as the “Empress of the Unexpected,” Susan confirms her reputation as an artist changeable as the weather with her latest recording “Hayseed” on which she pays tribute to American agriculture and to her Iowa farm roots. “Hayseed” is the fourth in a series of concept albums that began with the 2004 release of “I Can’t Be New” on which she offered her contribution to the Great American Songbook by writing originals in the style of Gershwin and Cole Porter, but from a present-day woman’s point of view. Other albums in the series include “Classics” which delivered entirely new string arrangements of mainstream popular songs by top songwriters from a “classical” pop era – the 1960s and 1970s, and 2007’s “The Gospel Truth”, a collection of original songs drawing on gospel music traditions from folk/bluegrass to Americana to R&B/soul/spiritual, and presenting lyrics that have been praised by religious believers and non-believers alike. It led to her being chosen “Best Contemporary Folk Artist” at the 2008 International Folk Alliance music conference.

— Steve Winters