Suzanne Vega found a way to make her local debut free of the hype that's attended her emergence from New York's folk clubs. Instead of making a Big Splash with full band, the heralded artiste played alone on Saturday at L.A.'s folk haven, the back room at McCabe's Guitar Shop. Talk about hype-proof locations: Even Linda Ronstadt's presence didn't cause a ripple.
Vega's music recalls Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen and other art-folk stalwarts, but she's asserting her own identity. Her spare imagery evokes the intuitive strokes of Japanese painting. Her romantic chronicles and character sketches are sympathetic and hard-bitten, while the more introspective studies have a disquieting, dreamlike quality.