The idea started with two words: “ambient” and “country.” For the members of SUSS (Bob Holmes, Pat Irwin, and Jonathan Gregg), the genre of ambient country, which they are often credited for creating, has been hiding in plain sight for decades. The inspirations for SUSS’ music lie in albums as diverse as Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois’ Apollo Atmospheres and Ry Cooder’s Paris,Texas soundtrack. The listener can even trace the melancholic, high lonesome sprawl of these artists back to Hank Williams.
In 2021, founding member Gary Leib unexpectedly passed away. After making the difficult decision to move ahead as a trio, SUSS began planning a series of connected EPs that would culminate in a double-album release, simply titled SUSS, representing the natural evolution of the band as it struck out in a new direction. Taken as a whole, this work represents how wide the scope of ambient country music can be while also showing the journey of personal change that the band has undertaken over the last couple of years — the loss, the searching, the challenge, and, finally, the new hope on the horizon.