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Sutton Sorensen And The Boomer Song



Baby Boomers know how to listen to live music.

We learned from John Fogarty singing Lodi with Creedence Clearwater Revival:

“If I only had a dollar
For ev´ry song I´ve sung
And ev´ry time I had to play
While people sat there drunk”

Drunks ignoring live music? It still happens. When it doesn’t, you notice.

I heard Sutton Sorensen at Hayden’s Grill Saturday date night. Sat so close to the stage I could have been in the band with my cow bell.

The table was set with my back turned, so I turned. My straight ahead view away from the stage was a table of people sharing pictures on their smart phones while Sorensen sang.

Were they drunk, stupid, or deaf?

It had to be one to ignore a singer with a hook in her voice so strong it swung the room, changed the temperature.

It also changed manners.

How do you eat when a voice from someone you’ve never seen cuts you?

You don’t. Instead, wait for the guitar and piano solos and sneak a bite.

During her set, guitar wizard Tim Ellis announced that Sutton was leaving January 1st to drive to Nashville. By herself. A girl on a mission. Nashville or bust all the way.

More amazing was the outpouring of emotions from the crowd after she packed her gear to leave. She didn’t get everything packed away, and maybe that’s the difference maker.

She left a feeling of hope.

She had me after the first song, Linda Ronstadt’s Long, Long, Time. I’ve got a pint of beer in one hand, wife’s hand in the other, with “I think I’m going to love you for a long, long, time” rolling over us.

It was enough to make a grown man cry. The smart phone table missed the special moment.

What Sutton left behind that night was remnants of The Dream.

Not an America’s Got Talent dream.

Not The Voice dream.

You know the dream.

It’s the one where a talented local breaks away from the Oregon home turf and moves beyond the Washington, California, Idaho borders, where they set sail away from the Pacific Ocean. Sutton’s headed for Tennessee. Not the bright lights of Memphis and the Commodore Hotel of Little Feat fame, but Music Row in Nashville.

What she left at Hayden’s Grill will stay in the hearts of those who heard her sing Angel From Montgomery Saturday night on request and nailed it. Sutton will get many requests this year and boomerpdx has a list for her too:

Dusty Springfield’s Son of a Preacher Man

Judy Collins’ Someday Soon

Bobbie Gentry’s Ode To Billy Joe

Emmylou Harris’ Making Believe and Two More Bottles of Wine

The Eagles’ Doolin-Dalton

At every stage of life there’s a time to step up, to collect yourself and put your best foot forward. Sutton Sorensen knows how to tell time. She knows how to keep time.

From the way she works a song, this is her time. Listening to her makes it feel like boomer time all over.














About David Gillaspie


  1. Brock Sorensen says:

    David- A very well written and touching article. I don’t often see this kind of approach to a review, well done.

    • David Gillaspie says:

      Thanks for coming in Brock,
      I don’t often see a singer on stage two feet away make familiar songs her own with every breath and word. Lucky night for me and my wife and everyone else in the room who paid attention, and Sutton eventually got them all. It was an unexpectedly touching moment.

  2. Great article David. You captured my imagination, which immediately sparked my desire to make a music video. I have been producing film and media for ten years, but I am still waiting for that perfect opportunity to collaborate on a music video.

    With the recent release of Sutton’s debut album, and only but a few “live” videos, she is ready for the music video spotlight. It would be an honor and privilege to collaborate with someone of her talent and reputation. I have also worked with Tim Ellis before on a film production. Small world.

    Peter Fuhrman, Filmmaker

    • David Gillaspie says:

      Hey Peter,

      I think you got the ‘honor and privilege’ part right. That’s what it felt like hearing a young singer turn ’70’s songs into 2013 songs. Reminded me of the first time I saw George Thoroughgood.

      On a Halloween night in the mid-70’s at a bar on Philadelphia’s South Street (JC Dobbs) I heard a guitar screaming 50’s rockabilly riffs and walked in for the band playing way in the back.

      Halfway there with beer in hand something ran into my leg. I looked down on a head of hair thinking ‘little people?’ Then I noticed the guitar neck. Little people with guitars? It was George ducking walking the crowd during a solo. Made it all the way outside and back without someone stepping on his cord and unplugging.

      Right there I remember thinking, “This guy is too big a player for this room.” And I was right. I saw him the next year in Eugene when I came back for some UO schooling.

      Got the same feeling from Sutton. She’s got some big rooms to fill in the future and she’ll make everyone in them think they’re listening alone. I’ve been right before. ^^^^

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