Listen: <b>Web Extra:</b> Werner Sings 'I Can't Be New'
On Susan Werner's newest CD, her sixth, the singer-songwriter moves distinctively away from folk and toward the jazzy American songbook style recently embraced by artists such as Rod Stewart and Norah Jones. NPR's Susan Stamberg reports.
On I Can't Be New, Werner tells stories of love — usually love under pressure — and love lost. In "Late for the Dance," for instance, Werner sings: "I arrived last night at half past two / In my best dress and my best shoes / I rushed up the steps to look for you / But I was late for the dance ..."
Werner says the song is about "the one that got away — and you let him get away."
Werner had ambitions of being a different kind of singer. Born and raised in Iowa, she moved to Philadelphia when she was 22 and studied opera there. But she says she "didn't have something it took" to make it on the big stage.
So Werner picked up a guitar — she had been writing songs since she was a kid, but never paid serious attention to them. "People said, 'Gee, where have you been as a writer?' No one said that in the world of opera," she says.