Suzanne Vega's rise to fame happened in the early 1990s when she was at the top of the Billboard charts, while many students were still in diapers. That doesn’t mean Blacksburg’s patrons aren’t familiar with her work, though.
Mark Arciaga, production manager at the Lyric Theatre in Blacksburg, said he was especially excited to bring Vega to the stage.
“I’m always really excited about all of our shows,” Arciaga said, “but I know this one is personally close to me.”
Reviving Old Works
Arciaga got in contact with Vega’s booking agent around the same time that Vega released “Close Up Vol. 4 – Songs of the Family.” He said that getting Vega to include Blacksburg as part of her tour was surprisingly easy.
“Squeezing a date in here was so much easier than I thought it would be,” Arciaga said. “Sometimes it’s a challenge trying to get the attention of booking agents if your venue isn’t the ideal size they want.”
Vega’s latest album release reworks some of her older songs, and Arciaga said he thinks many artists work to make their music better even after it has been recorded.
“I think a lot of songwriters feel their songs aren’t really done,” Arciaga said. “I guess she saw her art in progress and decided to record her songs again.”
Vega told Billboard Magazine that reworking those songs has given her new ownership of those old songs.
"The average person on the street doesn't really understand that artists don't own the actual (original) masters," Vega said in an interview with Billboard’s Gary Graff.
Vega has been making music since studying English at Barnard College, allowing other prominent female folk singers to follow in her footsteps. Tracy Chapman, Ani DiFranco and the Indigo Girls are some of the more famous female folk artists who have been inspired by Vega.
Most of those artists have appeared on stages in Blacksburg in recent years. According to Arciaga, the Indigo Girls and the Cowboy Junkies — both female bands — held recent shows in the Lyric.
Kevin Ryland, a sophomore electrical engineering major at Virginia Tech, has volunteered at the Lyric for both film and live events. Ryland said that live events bring the Blacksburg community together in a unique way.
“I can’t stress enough the diversity of the attendants,” Ryland said. “You know, people of all ages and groups come to live events; it really does attract the whole community.”
Arciaga said that the Lyric’s base of members is looking forward to the live event as well.
“I think everyone who already has tickets is super excited for this concert,” Arciaga said, “but I would have thought that this audience would have been much larger, given the fact that we’ve had sell out shows involving her peers.”