Valerie Custer at Fireside

The lights were dim in Fireside as people shuffled in and out. The noise of people chatting, ordering food and cooking went on in Fireside. However, above all of that, the sounds of a guitar could be heard playing, accompanied by a voice.It was the voice of Valerie Custer who performed on Sept. 15, 2010. She played many covers and even a few of her original songs.

“This song makes me sound uber creepy. I’d just like to preface it with that,” Custer said before playing her original song ‘Stranger,’ a song about a stalker.” That’s what my brothers call it anyway. It’s based somewhat on true events. Part of it is reality, and part of it is an idea,” she said.

Custer’s covers came from many different musical artists, ranging from Oasis, to The Postal Service, to Ryan Adams, to Paramore.

“I don’t even know why I learned this song. I don’t know why I feel so compelled to play it. This is stupid, but I’m gonna play it anyway, so deal with it,” Custer said before playing Paramore’s ‘The Only Exception.’

“I’m not trying to knock them. I guess it’s just cause it’s the ‘cool song’ right now, and I’m not trying to be cool,” she said.

Rather than trying to play music to please the crowd she’s playing for, Custer plays more for herself. She plays songs that she’s liked for quite some time, and that she thinks will “transcend for generations to come.”

“She’s excellent. She has an eclectic taste in music. She doesn’t just play new stuff, and I like it,” Brooke Suprenant, a super senior at Castleton said.

“She had a really good voice, and chose a great group of songs. Hurt by Johnny Cash is one of my favorite songs,” Kelsey Robbins, a sophomore said.

Custer played for about an hour and a half. Despite the fact that there was scattered applause, she smiled every time a song was over while she decided what she was going to play next.

“I don’t rehearse for shows. It just feels so forced, and that’s not me. So many people have given me tips on writing set-lists, but I don’t like them. What if I’m not feeling that song right now?” Custer said.

“She’s really technically good. I’ve never seen any acoustic guitar player use so many hammer-ons and pull-offs on the fly,” Nick Minarik said of Custer’s talent.

Valerie Custer from Akron, Ohio plays at colleges all across the continent. She hasn’t yet officially recorded anything, but she has been writing a lot lately in order to get something out soon, and from the looks of things, it will be worth checking out!

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