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This Singer Writes More Than Songs

Suzzy Roche is best known as the youngest member of the three-sister band, The Roches. As a solo performer she is known for her funny, wistful and highly literate songs chronicling single motherhood, life in Greenwich Village and the oddities of the music industry. Now she she has written her first novel, “Wayward Saints.” It is a rollicking, often raunchy, tale of a rock musician, Mary Saint, performing in a high school auditorium in her fictional home town of Swallow, NY. On Feb. 11, Roche will play for a fundraiser at the North East Community Center in Millerton, NY. She will sing, and she will read excerpts from her book. (In the interest of full disclosure, I should say my wife, Jenny Hansell, is executive director of NECC.) I asked Roche about her foray into writing, which includes a children’s book that will come out later this year. “It feels kind of amazing, really,” she said. “I never thought I could write a novel, let alone have someone publish it. It’s a happy experience for me.” Writing a book was “the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” Roche said. Compared to songwriting, “Neither is easy, but they’re different. For one thing, the novel is like a very long song! Sustaining my own interest was important.” Of her more than 30-year career singing with her sisters, Roche said, “There’s really no end to the pursuit of singing and playing a song; it’s a lifelong journey, almost like yoga practice, and always evolving. We have a very devoted following that has been with us all these years. The music and songs kind of belong to them now. It’s like running into old friends.” “These days I prefer playing in small, quiet places,” she continued. “It’s more of an exchange now. People are constantly discovering us. They bring their kids. That’s the thing about not being too hugely famous. What I’ve done with my sisters has been a bit off the beaten path. New projects creep out into the world and find an audience.” Roche will perform at the North East Community Center in Millerton Feb. 11, at 7 p.m. Tickets for the fundraiser are $20 and are available at the door, at www.neccmillerton.org, or by calling 518-789-4259. Roche and her daughter, Lucy Wainwright Roche, sing a song written for “Wayward Saints” on YouTube.

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