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Sonny Smith

Sonny Smith

Photo by Alysse Gafjken

Latest Release

  • Rod for Your Love

    Available Now

    Sonny Smith from Sonny & The Sunsets returns with his most remarkable album to date with Rod for Your Love, produced by Dan Auerbach.

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Artist detail page Biography

about Sonny Smith

For years, Sonny Smith has built his own brand of indie-folk and rock & roll, growing into a cult favorite along the way. To those who know his work, he's an incredibly prolific creator, with a dozen albums to his name and a handful of related projects — including multiple stage plays, a full-length musical and his nationally-recognized art installation, "100 Bands" — under his belt. A longtime fixture of San Francisco's arts scene, he's managed to fly just beneath the mainstream's radar for decades, while still releasing a string of acclaimed records with labels like Fat Possum and Polyvinyl.

On his newest record, Rod For Your Love, he gets back to basics. Produced by Black Keys frontman Dan Auerbach and recorded in Nashville, Rod For Your Love roots itself in old-school, guitar-fueled rock & roll. These are love songs built for the garage and the dance floor, with big-...

For years, Sonny Smith has built his own brand of indie-folk and rock & roll, growing into a cult favorite along the way. To those who know his work, he's an incredibly prolific creator, with a dozen albums to his name and a handful of related projects — including multiple stage plays, a full-length musical and his nationally-recognized art installation, "100 Bands" — under his belt. A longtime fixture of San Francisco's arts scene, he's managed to fly just beneath the mainstream's radar for decades, while still releasing a string of acclaimed records with labels like Fat Possum and Polyvinyl.

On his newest record, Rod For Your Love, he gets back to basics. Produced by Black Keys frontman Dan Auerbach and recorded in Nashville, Rod For Your Love roots itself in old-school, guitar-fueled rock & roll. These are love songs built for the garage and the dance floor, with big-hearted melodies and thick harmonies. It's the stuff you might've heard in the 1960s, back when groups like the Kinks and the Velvet Underground were making left-field pop songs that celebrated the form while still bending the rules. With stacked vocal harmonies that sweep their way throughout the track list, Rod For Your Love nods to the past while still moving forward. It's a classic-sounding album that still belongs to the 21st century.

Released on Auerbach's new label, Easy Eye Sound, Rod For Your Love was recorded at the end of a cross-country tour. Smith and his band were firing on all cylinders, their rough edges sanded down by weeks of nightly shows. Meanwhile, 10 new songs had been written. Smith, who'd fallen in love all over again with his roles as a bandleader and frontman, didn't want to produce the tunes himself in a home studio. He wanted to focus on the music. Having heard that the Arcs, Auerbach's side-project, had covered one of his own songs during their own tour, Smith reached out to the Black Keys singer. Connections were made, studio time was booked, and Smith wound up finishing that countrywide tour in Nashville, where he and his road band tracked the album at Auerbach's studio.

The goal? To shine a light on the songs and the band, without many overdubs or assorted clutter.

"I think a lot of albums are made in reaction to the one that came directly before," says Smith. "My last record, Moods Baby Moods, was very layered and used a lot of drum machines. I was making weird sounds with synths. By the time we got to Nashville and began working with Dan, I was thinking 'Let's just make a fun, guitar-driven record. I don't want to have any extracurricular stuff here. I just want it to be really pure.'"

The lyrics follow suit. A personal album filled with heart-of-sleeve songwriting, Rod For Your Love looks inward. It's autobiographical. Fittingly, it's also Sonny Smith's first solo album in years, following a string of records billed under his band's name, Sonny and the Sunsets. "I'm writing about myself now, and not the people around me," he explains. "It felt right to make it a solo record."

Even so, it's hard not to identify with songs like the title track — a sunny, simple declaration of Smith's affection for a girl — and "Pictures of You," which find him remembering a former flame by sifting through her photographs. On "Burnin' Up," he swaps harmonies with songwriter Angel Olsen, turning the love song into a conversation between partners. This might be Smith's story, but the story is still universal.

Maybe that's why Rod For Your Love feels both fresh and familiar at once. Multiple generations grew up with this kind of music. It's the sound of the FM dial during the golden years of radio, full of Stonesy swagger, Beach Boys beauty and Lou Reed's punky sneer. With songs that spin stories about loving, losing, and living in the modern world, Rod For Your Love finds Sonny Smith hitting another high mark, adding a new milestone to a career that's made him a cult favorite for decades. 

TOUR DATES

Videos

PRESS RELEASE

  • SONNY SMITH DEBUTS NEW ALBUM ROD FOR YOUR LOVE VIA BROOKLYN VEGAN

    WATCH VIDEO FOR “BURNIN' UP” (FEAT. ANGEL OLSEN) VIA STEREOGUM

    CONFIRMS NEW TOUR DATES

    ROD FOR YOUR LOVE OUT MARCH 2ND VIA EASY EYE SOUND

    ‘No-frills, vintage garage rock, pop and soul… short, sharp, utterly fun.’ – Uncut



    Sonny Smith, of Sonny And The Sunsets, will release his tenth studio album, Rod For Your Love via Dan Auerbach's new label, Easy Eye Sound, on March 2nd, and Brooklyn Vegan premieres the full album today, which they say “includes great single “Burnin’ Up” (featuring backing vocals by Angel Olsen) and nine more terrific songs.” Smith also spoke with Brooklyn Vegan about the new album and his experience recording it at Auerbach’s Nashville studio. Read Smith’s full interview and stream Rod For Your Love, a week before its release, here.

    Rod For Your Love, produced by The Black Keys front man at his Nashville studio, roots itself in old-school, guitar-driven rock & roll, and is equally built for the garage and the dance floor, with big-hearted melodies and thick harmonies. "I think a lot of albums are made in reaction to the one that came directly before," says Smith, whose earlier recordings were released by labels like Fat Possum and Polyvinyl. "By the time we got to Nashville and began working with Dan, I was thinking 'let's just make a fun, guitar-driven record. I don't want to have any extracurricular stuff here. I just want it to be really pure.' Rod For Your Love is available for pre-order on CD, vinyl, and digitally here.

    Smith has also announced new dates in support of his forthcoming album Rod For Your Love, with stops in cities including San Francisco, Los Angeles and Portland (full dates below). Tickets for this tour are on sale now and you can find full information here


    Recently, Sonny Smith debuted his new music video “Burnin' Up” (feat. Angel Olsen) via Stereogum, who call it, “a twinkly, soulful duet with fellow old soul Angel Olsen.” Both the song and video for the second single prominently features Olsen, and the two swap harmonies throughout, turning the love song into a poignant conversation between partners. Smith also debuted the music video for Rod For Your Love’s first single, “Pictures of You,” directed by Ryan Daniel Browne via FLOOD Magazine, who say the song “suggests Black Lips more than Black Keys, as the jangling guitars and breezy melodies lift the peculiarly linear two-and-a-half minute track to heights previously unreached by Smith.”


    Rod For Your Love was recorded at the end of a cross-country tour, and features Smith and his band firing on all cylinders, their rough edges sanded down by weeks of nightly shows. Hearing that the Arcs, Auerbach's side-project, had covered one of his own songs during their own tour, Smith reached out to the Black Keys singer. From there studio time was booked, and when Smith wound up finishing his countrywide tour in Nashville, he and his road band tracked the album at Auerbach's studio. The result is a deeply personal album, filled with heart-of-sleeve songwriting, which shines a light on the songs and the band, without many overdubs or assorted clutter.

    With songs that spin stories about loving, losing, and living in the modern world, it's hard not to identify with songs like the title track — a sunny, simple declaration of Smith's affection for a girl — and "Pictures of You," which find him remembering a former flame by sifting through old photographs. On "Burnin' Up," he swaps harmonies with songwriter Angel Olsen, turning the love song into a conversation between partners. The goal with Smith’s latest was an album that felt both fresh and familiar at once, which nods to the past while still moving forward. With the release of Rod For Your Love Sonny Smith accomplishes just that.

    For years, Sonny Smith has built his own brand of indie-folk and rock & roll, growing into a cult favorite along the way. To those who know his work, he's an incredibly prolific creator, with a dozen albums to his name and a handful of related projects — including multiple stage plays and his nationally-recognized art installation, "100 Bands" — under his belt. A longtime fixture of San Francisco's arts scene, he's managed to fly just beneath the mainstream's radar for decades, while still releasing a string of acclaimed records with labels like Fat Possum and Polyvinyl.

    Rod For Your Love Track Listing
     

    1. Pictures of You
    2. Lost
    3. Adventures
    4. Slaves
    5. Live, Love and Be Free
    6. Rod for Your Love
    7. Burnin' Up
    8. Refugees
    9. More Bad Times
    10. Bores Me to Tears

    Sonny Smith Tour Dates Tickets at http://www.sonnysmith.com/shows/

    March 2 /// Los Angeles, CA /// The Resident
    March 3 /// San Francisco, CA /// The Chapel
    March 25 /// Boise, ID /// Treefort Festival @ Linen Building
    March 29 /// Portland, OR /// Mississippi Studios
    March 30 /// Seattle, WA /// The High Dive
    March 31 /// Everett, WA /// Fisherman's Village Music Festival

     

    For more information, please contact Mary Moyer (mary@qprime.com) or Emilio Herce (emilio@qprime.com) at Q Prime 212.302.9790.

     

     

Press Photos

reviewerWEA's picture
on November 3, 2017 - 7:26pm

For years, Sonny Smith has built his own brand of indie-folk and rock & roll, growing into a cult favorite along the way. To those who know his work, he's an incredibly prolific creator, with a dozen albums to his name and a handful of related projects — including multiple stage plays, a full-length musical and his nationally-recognized art installation, "100 Bands" — under his belt. A longtime fixture of San Francisco's arts scene, he's managed to fly just beneath the mainstream's radar for decades, while still releasing a string of acclaimed records with labels like Fat Possum and Polyvinyl.

On his newest record, Rod For Your Love, he gets back to basics. Produced by Black Keys frontman Dan Auerbach and recorded in Nashville, Rod For Your Love roots itself in old-school, guitar-fueled rock & roll. These are love songs built for the garage and the dance floor, with big-hearted melodies and thick harmonies. It's the stuff you might've heard in the 1960s, back when groups like the Kinks and the Velvet Underground were making left-field pop songs that celebrated the form while still bending the rules. With stacked vocal harmonies that sweep their way throughout the track list, Rod For Your Love nods to the past while still moving forward. It's a classic-sounding album that still belongs to the 21st century.

Released on Auerbach's new label, Easy Eye Sound, Rod For Your Love was recorded at the end of a cross-country tour. Smith and his band were firing on all cylinders, their rough edges sanded down by weeks of nightly shows. Meanwhile, 10 new songs had been written. Smith, who'd fallen in love all over again with his roles as a bandleader and frontman, didn't want to produce the tunes himself in a home studio. He wanted to focus on the music. Having heard that the Arcs, Auerbach's side-project, had covered one of his own songs during their own tour, Smith reached out to the Black Keys singer. Connections were made, studio time was booked, and Smith wound up finishing that countrywide tour in Nashville, where he and his road band tracked the album at Auerbach's studio.

The goal? To shine a light on the songs and the band, without many overdubs or assorted clutter.

"I think a lot of albums are made in reaction to the one that came directly before," says Smith. "My last record, Moods Baby Moods, was very layered and used a lot of drum machines. I was making weird sounds with synths. By the time we got to Nashville and began working with Dan, I was thinking 'Let's just make a fun, guitar-driven record. I don't want to have any extracurricular stuff here. I just want it to be really pure.'"

The lyrics follow suit. A personal album filled with heart-of-sleeve songwriting, Rod For Your Love looks inward. It's autobiographical. Fittingly, it's also Sonny Smith's first solo album in years, following a string of records billed under his band's name, Sonny and the Sunsets. "I'm writing about myself now, and not the people around me," he explains. "It felt right to make it a solo record."

Even so, it's hard not to identify with songs like the title track — a sunny, simple declaration of Smith's affection for a girl — and "Pictures of You," which find him remembering a former flame by sifting through her photographs. On "Burnin' Up," he swaps harmonies with songwriter Angel Olsen, turning the love song into a conversation between partners. This might be Smith's story, but the story is still universal.

Maybe that's why Rod For Your Love feels both fresh and familiar at once. Multiple generations grew up with this kind of music. It's the sound of the FM dial during the golden years of radio, full of Stonesy swagger, Beach Boys beauty and Lou Reed's punky sneer. With songs that spin stories about loving, losing, and living in the modern world, Rod For Your Love finds Sonny Smith hitting another high mark, adding a new milestone to a career that's made him a cult favorite for decades. 

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https://www.facebook.com/sonnysunsets/
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Photo By: 
Alysse Gafjken
PRESS RELEASE: 

SONNY SMITH DEBUTS NEW ALBUM ROD FOR YOUR LOVE VIA BROOKLYN VEGAN

WATCH VIDEO FOR “BURNIN' UP” (FEAT. ANGEL OLSEN) VIA STEREOGUM

CONFIRMS NEW TOUR DATES

ROD FOR YOUR LOVE OUT MARCH 2ND VIA EASY EYE SOUND

‘No-frills, vintage garage rock, pop and soul… short, sharp, utterly fun.’ – Uncut



Sonny Smith, of Sonny And The Sunsets, will release his tenth studio album, Rod For Your Love via Dan Auerbach's new label, Easy Eye Sound, on March 2nd, and Brooklyn Vegan premieres the full album today, which they say “includes great single “Burnin’ Up” (featuring backing vocals by Angel Olsen) and nine more terrific songs.” Smith also spoke with Brooklyn Vegan about the new album and his experience recording it at Auerbach’s Nashville studio. Read Smith’s full interview and stream Rod For Your Love, a week before its release, here.

Rod For Your Love, produced by The Black Keys front man at his Nashville studio, roots itself in old-school, guitar-driven rock & roll, and is equally built for the garage and the dance floor, with big-hearted melodies and thick harmonies. "I think a lot of albums are made in reaction to the one that came directly before," says Smith, whose earlier recordings were released by labels like Fat Possum and Polyvinyl. "By the time we got to Nashville and began working with Dan, I was thinking 'let's just make a fun, guitar-driven record. I don't want to have any extracurricular stuff here. I just want it to be really pure.' Rod For Your Love is available for pre-order on CD, vinyl, and digitally here.

Smith has also announced new dates in support of his forthcoming album Rod For Your Love, with stops in cities including San Francisco, Los Angeles and Portland (full dates below). Tickets for this tour are on sale now and you can find full information here


Recently, Sonny Smith debuted his new music video “Burnin' Up” (feat. Angel Olsen) via Stereogum, who call it, “a twinkly, soulful duet with fellow old soul Angel Olsen.” Both the song and video for the second single prominently features Olsen, and the two swap harmonies throughout, turning the love song into a poignant conversation between partners. Smith also debuted the music video for Rod For Your Love’s first single, “Pictures of You,” directed by Ryan Daniel Browne via FLOOD Magazine, who say the song “suggests Black Lips more than Black Keys, as the jangling guitars and breezy melodies lift the peculiarly linear two-and-a-half minute track to heights previously unreached by Smith.”


Rod For Your Love was recorded at the end of a cross-country tour, and features Smith and his band firing on all cylinders, their rough edges sanded down by weeks of nightly shows. Hearing that the Arcs, Auerbach's side-project, had covered one of his own songs during their own tour, Smith reached out to the Black Keys singer. From there studio time was booked, and when Smith wound up finishing his countrywide tour in Nashville, he and his road band tracked the album at Auerbach's studio. The result is a deeply personal album, filled with heart-of-sleeve songwriting, which shines a light on the songs and the band, without many overdubs or assorted clutter.

With songs that spin stories about loving, losing, and living in the modern world, it's hard not to identify with songs like the title track — a sunny, simple declaration of Smith's affection for a girl — and "Pictures of You," which find him remembering a former flame by sifting through old photographs. On "Burnin' Up," he swaps harmonies with songwriter Angel Olsen, turning the love song into a conversation between partners. The goal with Smith’s latest was an album that felt both fresh and familiar at once, which nods to the past while still moving forward. With the release of Rod For Your Love Sonny Smith accomplishes just that.

For years, Sonny Smith has built his own brand of indie-folk and rock & roll, growing into a cult favorite along the way. To those who know his work, he's an incredibly prolific creator, with a dozen albums to his name and a handful of related projects — including multiple stage plays and his nationally-recognized art installation, "100 Bands" — under his belt. A longtime fixture of San Francisco's arts scene, he's managed to fly just beneath the mainstream's radar for decades, while still releasing a string of acclaimed records with labels like Fat Possum and Polyvinyl.

Rod For Your Love Track Listing
 

  1. Pictures of You
  2. Lost
  3. Adventures
  4. Slaves
  5. Live, Love and Be Free
  6. Rod for Your Love
  7. Burnin' Up
  8. Refugees
  9. More Bad Times
  10. Bores Me to Tears

Sonny Smith Tour Dates Tickets at http://www.sonnysmith.com/shows/

March 2 /// Los Angeles, CA /// The Resident
March 3 /// San Francisco, CA /// The Chapel
March 25 /// Boise, ID /// Treefort Festival @ Linen Building
March 29 /// Portland, OR /// Mississippi Studios
March 30 /// Seattle, WA /// The High Dive
March 31 /// Everett, WA /// Fisherman's Village Music Festival

 

For more information, please contact Mary Moyer (mary@qprime.com) or Emilio Herce (emilio@qprime.com) at Q Prime 212.302.9790.

 

 

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