Suzanne Vega at Birchmere, Sept. 14
Credit: George Holz

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Suzanne Vega

Live from New York, it’s Suzanne Vega! As part of her return to live performances, the famed singer-songwriter is bringing a little taste of New York City to Washington, D.C. That’s because her latest album An Evening of New York Songs and Stories is exactly what it sounds like. Vega grew up in New York and has what she describes as an “intimate” relationship with her hometown. Her folk-inspired music highlights this in memories and places—such as the iconic Tom’s Restaurant of her hit “Tom’s Diner,” which takes listeners to her favorite local greasy spoon. Released earlier this month, the album stems from a March 2019 live performance at Café Carlyle, where Vega was completing a two-week residency. For visitors at the historic venue, Venue served as a Manhattan tour guide of sorts, walking the audience through the places and experiences dear to her that are specific to the city but relatable to audiences near and far: The track “Ludlow Street” is like taking a visit to the Lower East Side and the home of her late brother. An Evening of New York Songs and Stories spans her career—and New York—in this way, binding together songs like “Luka,” “New York Is a Woman,” and “Pornographer’s Dream.” The album also includes “Anniversary,” a reflection on 9/11, as well as her cover of late friend Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side.” After weathering the pandemic in the city, the album and her upcoming U.S. performances are even more poignant. As Vega puts it, the city hasn’t seen anything else like COVID-19 in her lifetime, but the last months have also shown her new reasons to hope. For just a night then, allow Vega to transform Alexandria’s the Birchmere into Café Carlyle. By the end of her performance, your heart may too be in New York. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. at the Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Avenue. $49.50.