It’s been awhile since Suzy Bogguss scored her last big hit, but she’s continued recording regularly throughout the ’90s and beyond, and, unlike a lot of artists who face diminishing returns on the sales front, she isn’t chasing trends.

In fact, with her latest album, ‘American Folk Songbook,’ Bogguss chose material that’s been around even longer than the charts.

Bogguss says the inspiration for the project came from her tour with ‘Prairie Home Companion’ host Garrison Keillor. “The more shows I did with him, the more I fell in love with the audience that would come to his shows,” she recalled. “They’re very well-trained to sing along and have a great time, so there would be thousands of people out there singing along and I thought, ‘Boy, I’d like a little bit of that’ because I have a few songs in my set that I like to get people singing along with me.”

Bogguss’ solution was to, in her words, “dig back in my old fifth grade songbook.” As she tells it, “I kind of remembered this old book I had, it got passed out as soon as we got into music class. That’s what I started with, my memories of ‘Oh Sweet Betsy of Pike,’ ‘Shenandoah’ and just all these old songs that I loved singing when I was a kid.”

From there, she says, “It got me all inspired to do a songbook because I had such a hard time finding that songbook that I thought, ‘Gosh, maybe there just aren’t that many songbooks of all of these songs put together with the stories so people know what the song is about.’”

[Taste of Country]