Friday, April 5, 2024
Raised outside Houston by first-generation Korean immigrant parents, BettySoo grew up listening to the Great American songbook and country radio. Older sisters led her to the world of singer/songwriters, and nights spent at The Cactus Café and Hole In The Wall turned her on to the legacy of Texas song.
Her 2007 solo disc, Little Tiny Secrets, garnered heavy regional airplay; 2009’s Heat Sin Water Sin produced by Gurf Morlix (Lucinda Williams, Ray Wylie Hubbard), provided building blocks to a national (and international) audience. In 2014, When We’re Gone, co-produced with cellist Brian Standefer (Alejandro Escovedo, Terry Allen) placed her firmly in the first rank of songwriters working today.
She’s won the requisite awards: Kerrville NewFolk, Big Top Chautauqua Songwriter of the Year, Dave Carter Songwriting Award at Sisters Folk Festival, Mountain Stage NewSong Competition. She’s played the festivals: multiple SXSW’s, Kerrville, Calgary, and more. And the radio shows: E-Town, Mountain Stage, WoodSongs, BBC 2 with Bob Harris.
BettySoo tours nonstop, these days either as a solo headliner or as dedicated support for James McMurtry and Chris Smither. Along with her agile guitar playing, her intelligent, tightly-constructed lyrics and captivating melodies keep audiences entranced, and if you're lucky, you’ll also find her onstage demonstrating her other super-power when she is singing harmonies with various luminaries.
In the Time of COVID-19, BettySoo was found cutting a unique path through the broad streaming landscape with her weekly Nobody's Happy Hour zoom shows, often praised as the most creative online residency in the songwriter world. As with everything she does, she approached it in a way that invites authentic connection, encourages compassion, and merits listening.