Chuck Suchy to perform Thursday at Nobles County Art Center
WORTHINGTON -- Folk musician and songwriter Chuck Suchy has farmed on his family ranch near Mandan, N.D. his entire life. He's been singing and playing for quite a long time, too.
WORTHINGTON - Folk musician and songwriter Chuck Suchy has farmed on his family ranch near Mandan, N.D. his entire life. He’s been singing and playing for quite a long time, too.
Growing up on the farm, Suchy was surrounded by music - he wasn’t going to escape it even if he wanted to. His mother taught piano, and his father played the violin and accordion by ear.
Suchy started taking accordion lessons as a second-grader and later mastered the guitar. Naturally, he was one-of-a-kind in his local country school.
“I knew there were a couple other players in other parts of the county, but there was certainly nobody to hang or jam with,” Suchy said.
His love for his farm and the Great Plains laid the foundation for his early writing. Over the course of 31 years and seven albums, Suchy expanded his breadth of topics - telling the story of the farm crisis and other major events, exploring human relationships and recounting his favorite experiences.
At 69 years old with arthritis steadily setting in, Suchy’s guitar fingers aren’t as quick as they used to be - but fans tell him he plays better than ever.
“I’m a little more methodical than I used to be, not as flashy,” Suchy said. “I want to hang on to this note a little longer than I used to, because it’s really got something to say.”
In singing his old songs with a new, more relaxed style, Suchy has found a new meaning in his lyrics that he didn’t fully understand when he first wrote them down as a younger man.
In his song “Missing Pieces,” released in 1996, Suchy sings about the things in life people are still trying to find - one of them is the “feel of forgiveness.”
Suchy recently listened to a radio interview with Bud Welch, the father of Julie Marie, who was killed in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. In the interview, Welch described the day he met Bill McVeigh, father of the man behind the bombing.
“He said when he looked into those eyes, he saw the same pain and hurt that any father would feel, and they shared that together as wounded fathers,” Suchy said. “He said, ‘St that moment, I knew the feel of forgiveness.’”
It turns out, that feeling was the missing piece in Welch’s life. After his daughter’s death, Welch felt nothing but vengeance, wanting more than anything to see the bomber dead. That rage drove him into an alcohol-infused depression - it was only when he learned to forgive that he got his life back on the right track.
Suchy has never met Welch, but he will never be able to hear “Missing Pieces” any other way.
“These new meanings and references in old songs, I’m always finding them ... it’s kind of like little gifts to myself from my younger self,” Suchy said.
Suchy mostly tours the Midwest these days. His two favorite tours are his October visit to Montana and his Minnesota tour - which includes Worthington, St. Paul and Lake City.
Suchy first performed in Worthington about 20 years ago, and he’s been back to the Nobles County Art Center countless times since then.
“The Worthington one is real special because the art center is such an intimate, warm and welcoming place,” Suchy said. “Really, I love being like five feet from the first row.”
Suchy will perform at the Nobles County Art Center at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. There is a suggested donation per person, with all proceeds going to the musician.