Susanna Hoffs

The Deep End
Susanna Hoffs

The Bangles vocalist/rhythm guitarist’s fifth solo album is a folk-enriched blend of covers by classic and contemporary artists, enlivened by Hoffs’ angelic voice.

The Deep End, like 2021’s Bright Lights, features legendary session aces and sidemen, including guitarists Waddy Wachtel and Danny Kortchmar, bassist Leland Sklar, and drummer Russ Kunkel. Multi-instrumentalist John Jorgenson and guitar monster Albert Lee add their epic talents, along with guitarist/keyboardist/musical director Jeff Alan Ross. A string quartet sweetens all 13 songs, while producer Peter Asher (of Peter & Gordon fame) guided the sessions.

Hoffs flips the Rolling Stones’ “Under My Thumb” upside-down to a feminine point of view and brighter feel; Wachtel inserts a melodic guitar solo. Joy Oladokun’s “If You Got a Problem” is blues-marinated folk with Kootch’s tasteful lead. Jorgenson’s smooth mandolin fuels Ed Sheeran’s “Afterglow.” Wachtel’s ringing guitar lines flow in Phantom Planet’s “Time Moves On.” Squeeze’s “Black Coffee in Bed” struts on Hoffs’ alluring vocals and Wachtel’s shimmering slide guitar solo. Brandy Clark’s “Pawn Shop” features Ross’ easygoing acoustic guitar and Dan Dugmore’s supple pedal steel.

The Deep End is often more mid-tempo than upbeat Bangles-style perkiness. Still, it’s a well-crafted set of diverse songs that connected with Hoffs.

This article originally appeared in VG’s July 2023 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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