Sonny Smith is an old San Francisco friend I hadn’t spoken to in fifteen years. Here’s what Mother Jones had to say about his new album:
“On his own, or as leader of Sonny and the Sunsets, the engaging Sonny Smith specializes in finely observed vignettes about everyday people that showcase his wry, slackerish voice. For all its rough edges, though, there’s nothing casual about his scruffy garage pop, which tempers a streak of melancholy with offhand, self-aware wit. Produced by Black Keys frontman Dan Auerbach (who knows a thing or two about making eccentricity accessible), Rod for Your Love is Smith’s most commercial effort yet—it’s all relative—boasting a brighter sound and sunnier vibe than before. Witness the jaunty, toe-tapping optimism of the irresistible “Lost,” where he chirps, “I know the way this time,” or the romantic drama “Burnin’ Up,” featuring Angel Olsen’s tangy harmonies. While Smith may never top the charts, he’s never been more entertaining or more deserving of mainstream attention.”
We talked about flying to Nashville to be produced by a rock star (and guests Pat Sansome of Wilco and Angel Olsen), and about then deciding to head home and onto his next projects instead of hitting the road to promote that album. We traded Robyn Hitchcock and Spalding Gray stories. We went into the tough decisions artists need to make regarding creative living versus promoting a creative life. To name just a few topics. We had a lot of fun reconnecting. Or at least I did. I think we both did.
We mention a few names and places. Virgil = Virgil Shaw, Kelly = Kelly Stoltz, Atom = Atom Ellis, and the Make Out Room is a bar I used to work at and he used to play at in the Misison in SF.