Local farmers with vocal talent might get a chance to show off their pipes during folk singer-songwriter Susan Werner's free concert on the Freeman Stage at Bayside in Selbyville on Thursday.
Currently on a national tour with her new album, "Hayseed," Werner hasn't been afraid to drag gifted agriculturists on stage.
"I [recently] had this rancher on stage sing 'Oh What a Beautiful Morning," Werner said with a smile.
Her new project, released June 25, pays homage to American agriculture and her Iowa farm roots. "Hayseed" takes listeners on a hayride as Werner offers commentary on topics such as farmer's longing for a sense of place, farmer's markets and the movement towards sustainable agriculture, which involves finding a safer method for growing crops and raising livestock.
The support of Werner's fans for "Hayseed" has been astounding.
"I stood and signed CDs for hours after shows this year like never before, because people are relating to the subject matter," Werner said.
Thus far on the tour, which has included a number of performances at farmer's markets, the song "City Kids" has emerged as a fan favorite. The comical, yet sincere, tune tells of farm kids who feel inferior to their enviable classmates who live in the city and wear fancy clothes. However, the roles reverse when the kids become adults. At that point, the farmer kids begin to make bank, selling organic products at the local farmer's market as the rich kids are forced to pay for the costly goods or risk eating products covered in pesticides.
Werner believes listeners cling to "City Kids" because the message "really catches people off guard."
Another tune from the album that's really resonated with audiences is "Herbicides."
"The 'Herbicides' song is a big hit because it expresses some of the anxiety people have about the chemicals in their food," she explained.
The folk singer relishes her role as an advocate for things like sustainable agriculture.
"It's exciting to be a lightning rod," Werner said.
IF YOU GO
WHAT Susan Werner in concert
WHEN 7 p.m., Thursday
WHERE The Freeman Stage at Bayside, 31750 Lake View Drive, Selbyville
INFO freemanstage.org or call (302) 436-3015