Here's a short version BIO:
Often referred to as the female Bruce Springsteen, singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Sue Menhart was born in St. Louis, Missouri but now calls Connecticut her home. Playing guitar since age eight, she joined her first band at age 15, opening for REO Speedwagon on the back of a flatbed truck at the Groton Naval Submarine Base. Her live shows up and down the East coast and throughout the South range from intimate coffee houses featuring herself and her red Takamine acoustic, to ten-piece powerhouse extravaganzas on world-famous New England resort casino stages complete with horn sections and top-notch accompanying musicians. She independently released the album "Torn" in 2008 and the "Gypsy Soul" EP in 2009 which was awarded a "Top 25 of 2010" distinction by Indie-Music.com. In 2011, she released a solo EP on Good Sponge Records titled "Forever," a "Top 25 of 2012" pick from Indie-Music.com. In 2017, she released the album "Love Ain't Hard" to critical acclaim. Though industry-wide success has eluded her, she has a blast writing a column for Sound Waves Magazine titled "All the World's A Stage," ranting and raving about the music biz. Visit Sue’s blog at http://suemenhart.wordpress.com to read them all. Look for her upcoming memoir detailing a musical life in anonymity soon.
Here's a super long version BIO:
Really Early Years
I started singing and playing guitar when I was eight-years old, out on the plains just outside of St. Louis, Missouri. I wore out Carpenters, Beach Boys, and Barbara Streisand records. When I was 9, my parents, four brothers, two sisters, and a dog and a cat piled into a station wagon and drove to Mystic, Connecticut. I've been here ever since. I took guitar lessons from Ron Apicelli (who I thought was Peter Frampton), but is actually the current owner of Ron's Guitars in Groton, CT.
I joined my first band when I was 15 (recruited after a rousing karaoke version of Don't Stop Believing at a High School Talent Show.) This band, Majestic, was just the first of about a million rock-n-roll cover bands I would eventually participate in, rippin' everything from Judas Priest to Donna Summer to Boston. The Toys, Casino, Two of a Kind, Fever and Witness Protection are a few of the names I can remember.
When I was 18, I gave up a full academic scholarship to the University of Hartford to go hang out with friends attending the Guitar Institute of Technology in California (see? this has always been my problem!) The problem I had there was the drinking age. I wasn't old enough to even play in the bars! So I came home. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!
In between cover bands I had a lovely daughter named Lauren, who now can truly rock on the keyboards, makes a mean YouTube video, and cracks me up constantly.
It wasn't until I attended my first Bruce Springsteen concert that I was finally inspired to write my own stuff. I just didn't know how to go about it. On the way home from the concert, I simply started writing on the steering wheel, and I haven't stopped yet.
Some cool stuff has happened since I started writing.
I planned to just do a simple solo album with some acoustic guitar, some clumsy chord progressions, and straightforward lyrics. But I found myself rehearsing the songs in my basement with some guys who just kept showing up: Dave Foret on bass, John Jeff (JJ) on lead guitar, Steve Pranulis on keys, and Kevin Clark on drums. We recorded the songs with Jon Quinn at In Phaze Audio studios in Griswold, Connecticut, in a barn. Mastering was by Dave Locke from JPMasters in Charlotte, North Carolina. And we went to press. I launched a web site, established a mailing list, and started doing gigs as the Sue Menhart Band. The album "Torn" is available digitally at My Store.
We went back to In Phaze Audio to record the "Gypsy Soul" EP and released it in 2009. Bill Quinn replaced Steve Pranulis on keys, but everyone else stayed. Mastering was done by Ron Zabrocki (producer/guitarist/songwriter/session musician and all-around wonderful human being.) This effort brought some international press, some awards, and more cool gigs.
Indie-Music.com awarded the band a "Top 25 of 2010" distinction in January, 2010 for excellence and achievement in independent music.
Me and my band appeared on the live music performance television show "Poughkeepsie Live" on Time Warner Cable 6 New York in July, 2009. They treated us like rock stars, while cameramen rolled all over the floor and hung from ceilings. Cool! Videos are up on YouTube here.
My jaw literally dropped when me and my band were awarded "Best Americana Performance" at the inaugural 2010 New London, Connecticut Whalie Awards with nominations also for Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Best Americana Band. For 2011, we were nominated in two People's Choice categories - Best Americana Band and Best Video, and one Critics Choice Award for Best Blues/Country Rock Performance for our single "One Day in New York."
JJ, Dave, Kevin and I recorded the single "One Day in New York," in JJ's bedroom suite, which appears on the New London music scene's "The Long Hundred" compilation CD, released in Jan. 2011. The entire compilation, or just the single, is available at The Telegraph record store in New London or digitally here: powers.bandcamp.com/album/the-long-hundred.
Hard copies of "Gypsy Soul" are available from CD Baby, at live shows, local New London County record stores such as The Telegraph and Mystic Disc and My Store. It's also available digitally on iTunes and Amazon.
So I also think songwriting circles are cool - like the Sinners Circle in New London, CT and Red Lion Records Songwriter Sessions held at the Vanilla Bean in Pomfret, CT. An acoustic version of my song "Torn" is on the "Sinners Circle Year One" CD, recorded live at the Bean & Leaf in New London.
I also like to hang out with two of my favorite musical females in an outfit we call The Red Hot Stove Tops. Daphne Lee Martin and Nancy Parent from The Rivergods, and myself, sing three-part harmonies and jam on guitars. We were featured in the local paper in a music series called SongSpinner. Video is here.
Me and the red hots also appear on "The Long Hundred" compilation CD. Our songs were recorded by Jim Carpenter from LocoDare Productions. We also recorded a three-song demo at Man Cave Studios in Uncasville, CT, engineered by Kevin Clark and mastered by Hugh Birdsall of the band The Reducers. This CD is available at Red Hot Stove Top shows. Listen to the tunes at our ReverbNation page here: http://www.reverbnation.com/redhotstovetops.
The Red Hot Stove Tops were nominated for two Critics Choice Awards in the 2011 Whalie Awards - Breakthrough Artist of the Year and Best Contemporary Folk/Bluegrass Performance for single "Jezebel."
I'm also writing a book. Almost done!
I moved a tad away from blues/rock and veered into R&B with a 2011 EP called "Forever," produced by Ron Zabrocki. Ron is one of those guys that just... knows. Check him out here: www.ronzabrocki.com/fr_home.cfm. I had a tiny crush on Major Seventh chords, so the 5-song EP is filled with 'em. "Forever" is available at My Store, The Telegraph in New London, Conn. and Mystic Disc in Mystic, Conn. It was released on the Good Sponge Record Label, out of New London. The EP was awarded a "Top 25 of 2012" distinction by Indie-Music.com, and was nominated for "Record of the Year" at the 2012 New London Whalie Awards.
To show props and thanks to The Boss, I have been a guest DJ on Sirius/XM Satellite E-Street Radio twice.
I have worked with many, many musicians for many, many years. But my true rock of Gibraltar (in more ways than one!) is my husband/drummer/best friend Kevin Clark. Married for over 20 years now, I like to call him "my own personal Quincy Jones." His guidance, support, and overall awesomeness is unmatched!
Always wanted to play with a horn section, so I got me one. Hear how we sound on the Good Sponge Sampler Vol. II compilation CD here: http://goodsponge.bandcamp.com/track/sunrise-city-cafe.
The first single for our next full-length album was released on the Good Sponge Sampler Vol. III compilation CD here:
http://goodsponge.bandcamp.com/track/sue-menhart-band-cant-feel-the-rain. It is a 2015 New London Whalie Award Winner for Best Roots Rock Performance.
Love Ain't Hard
Our second full length album is out - available digitally everywhere.