“Consider me a widow, boys,” Suzanne Vega sings on “Widow’s Walk,” the lead single from her sixth studio album. Consider Vega, recently separated from her husband, producer Mitchell Froom, a reborn folkie as well; Songs In Red & Gray is as much a testament to her musical roots as it is a lament on her uprooted relationship and dismantled family. The sparse arrangements on songs like “It Makes Me Wonder” and flashes of crisp harmonies sprinkled throughout the album are reminiscent of Vega’s “Luca” days. While most of the album is lyrically simplistic and frequently too straightforward (“Slip me loose of this wedding band”), the folksinger deftly excavates the impact that infidelity (“Song in Red & Gray”) and divorce (“Soap & Water”) can have on the often forgotten children involved. The title track’s piano dances delicately over shuffling percussion, building on a soaring arrangement of acoustic guitar and strings. Rupert Hine’s production craft sparkles sporadically but, for much of the album, his magic takes a backseat to Vega’s distinctively adorable (but sometimes too routine) songwriting.
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