Playing around 200 gigs a year for more than a decade, Susan Herndon has retained that true troubadour’s ethos, sharing her passion for song and stirring thousands of kindred spirits throughout Oklahoma, Texas, the American heartland, and in Europe.
Born in St Louis, raised in Tulsa and bred in Oklahoma, she earned several degrees including one in French. Herndon’s youthful wanderlust took her to the south of France for many years, and while in that Gallic state of mind, she began her musical odyssey in the most humble – and purest – of ways: busking for francs on the busy streets of Pau deep within the Pyrenees.
It was there and on other thoroughfares throughout Europe that Herndon honed the skills and presence needed of a dedicated working musician and an immediately engaging entertainer. “Music really is our universal language,” says Herndon today. “And I do believe that good songs – in any language – can truly touch souls. I know they have saved my life on numerous occasions.”
With an engaging smile and graceful charm, she touches upon themes both universal and deeply personal, from longing and loneliness, to home, family, faded memories and hopeful dreams. And she connects with her listeners in a voice that conveys equal parts savory innocence and knowing savoir-faire.
Herndon draws from a reservoir of original material spanning five albums that have long found her sliding with ease from genre to genre. iTunes may soon run out of apt descriptors for Herndon’s music; her releases have been termed ‘blues,’ ‘country,’ ‘indie rock,’ ‘jazz’ and ‘pop.’ One moment she’s covering a Dylan classic in French with delicate fingerpicking on her guitar and the next may find her sitting at a keyboard paying homage to any number of fellow Oklahoma songsmiths, such as Woody Guthrie, Jimmy Webb, Leon Russell or J.J. Cale. All in an inspired style uniquely Herndonesque.