Listen: Daytrotter Session
Sonny and the Sunset’s vintage-style west coast pop songs tell sordid tales of death, drowning, outcasts, heavenly visions and otherworldly despair. Their newest LP, Tomorrow is Alright radiates with a classic yet indefinable sound, almost like a futuristic 50’s R&B.
California native Sonny Smith started his career playing in a blues piano bar nestled in the mountain towns of Colorado at the age of eighteen. He then embarked on a journey to Central America, where he lived on an organic farm in the Central American jungle, earning money while touring with a rag tag busking band and playing hotels and cabanas along the coast of the Caribbean. In 1996, he moved back home to San Francisco, where he continued to focus on writing music, short stories and plays. In the early 2000’s he toured in support of Neko Case and Jolie Holland and released a string of solo albums titled, This is My Story, This is My Song, Sordid Tales of Love and Woe, One Act Plays and Fruitvale. Tomorrow is Alright continues his exploration of outcasts, weirdos, freaks, death, love and atypical transformation.
In 2007, he formed Sonny and The Sunsets with help from friends Shayde Sartin & Tim Cohen (of the Fresh & Onlys), Tahlia Harbour (of Citay and The Dry Spells), Ryan Browne and Kelley Stoltz (Sub Pop Recordings) among others. Together the band created Tomorrow is Alright, recorded on a classic 1970’s 388 Tascam tape recorder in various uncommon places including out of Sonny’s camper. Tomorrow is Alright is full of straightforward-pop songs that recall the 1950’s era doo wop of The Falcons combined with the direct sincerity and positive spirit of Modern Lovers’ Jonathan Richman as well as the dark confessional humor of cartoonists like Robert Crumb and Ivan Brunetti.
Sonny Smith currently resides in the Sunset District of San Francisco where he stays busy writing music and providing occasional care to disabled war veterans and other people who have fallen through the cracks of society through a Bay Area based social work agency F & CMS. He works out of an office in the back of his friends’ surf shop. In addition to his work as a sometimes columnist or occasional playwright he also opened “100 Records” his first ever solo- art exhibition. The show ran for seven weeks at Gallery 16 in San Francisco; it featured 100 album-covers created by 90 different artists from around the world along with one hundred songs written and recorded by Sonny himself and a custom built jukebox to play those songs. The show then traveled to Austin and New York.
This June Sonny and The Sunsets plan to pack into Sonny’s camper and head out on U.S. Tour, where they’ll play Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago this July. Their debut LP, Tomorrow is Alright, is currently available on vinyl from Soft Abuse Records, and will be released on CD and digitally via Fat Possum Records on Aug. 31.
SONNY AND THE SUNSETS
07/25 San Francisco, CA All Shook Down Festival
08/19 San Francisco, CA The Independent *
08/30 San Francisco, CA Amnesia
* = w/ Darker My Love
Sonny and The Sunsets
Tomorrow is Alright
(Fat Possum / Soft Abuse)
Street Date: Aug. 31, 2010
1. Too Young To Burn
2. Death Cream
3. Strange Love
4. Planet of Women
5. The Houris
7. Bad Vibes & Evil Thoughts
9. Love Among Social Animals
10. Lovin’ on an Older Gal
SONNY AND THE SUNSETS LINKS:
Artist page: http://www.sonnysmith.com
Label page: http://fatpossum.com/