Solitaire Miles, “Ghost Riders in the Sky” from Susie Blue and the Lonesome Fellas (2015)

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Singer Solitaire Miles has impressive jazz credentials forged by many nights in the most prestigious jazz clubs in Chicago and New York. It is in New Work in the mid ’90s, while working with trumpeter Doc Cheatham that she leaned even more toward swing.

Given Miles’ musical education, her Susie Blue persona may come as a surprise to some, but it is hardly a lark as the album Susie Blue and the Lonesome Fellas proves.

Solitaire Miles pulls out all the stops, engaging her musical muse in a way that employs the best elements of country/western and jazz. Guitarist Neal Alger proves a formidable collaborator, providing the arrangements for the album which incorporates a handpicked group of Chicago musicians, including Eric Schneider on sax, Stuart Rosenberg on fiddle, TC Furlong on slide guitar, Tom Hope on piano, Larry Kohut on bass and Phil Gratteau on drums.

A great example of this imaginative synthesis is the Susie Blue and the Lonesome Fellas version of “Ghost Riders in the Sky.” Solitaire Miles’ vocals are playful and sassy, but always in character. The arrangement by Neal Alger is authentic, jaunty and catchy. Eric Schneider’s tenor sax perfectly supports the theme.

This song, and the entire album, make for adventurous listening. Solitaire Miles’ Susie Blue and the Lonesome Fellas is not to be missed.

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