The talented songwriter, guitarist and vocalist SONIA LEIGH from Nashville, Tennessee, releases her 11-track studio album ‘Sonia Leigh and Friends: Studio 3 Sessions’ next week, before shows in Britain.
The new studio album demonstrates a structured and genuinely natural approach to composition. On the album, recorded at the iconic Abbey Road Studios in London, Sonia joined forces with a handful of carefully selected musicians including: James Tranter, James Dudley and Luke Davis from Broken Witt Rebels. And the album is scattered with a collection of surprise cameo’s.
We had a listen —
Starting with the white-dog purity and hesitating pitter-patter of Debussy’s “Clair de Lune” (played faultlessly on piano) this is a bold and perhaps even presumptuous prelude for an album by a Nashville singer-songwriter. Maybe the idea was to establish a high bar and cleanse the palate.
Whatever the reason… we soon get to the true-grit and country-flavour of “Alabama Bound” with it’s sour mash invocation and rockabilly, line-dance bounciness.
There are languid and slithery guitars on “My Name is Money” — but this is not a submissive and toadying song. No, in fact it’s a caustic look at the horrors of the greenback. This is full of twang-juice and snuffle. With cheerful guitars, simple rhythms and a mashed puree of whisky-hot sounds… The song is sung so dry you’ll have to reach for a bottle of malted-rye by way of refreshment.
“Jack is Back” is a melancholy blues number about a regret-filled return to that same bottle of rye and becomes positively sardonic. It swings, wobbles and bends like an impending bow-wave on the Huckleberry Branch of the Wolf River. And, here-and-there, Sonia’s vocal reaches its sandpaper & liniment culmination.
Other good moments on this superb LP include the growing riff and open drum-work of “Walking in the Moonlight” — a song that’s almost alt-rock in texture and finish. And the psychedelic wonder of “Sky Submarine” that incorporates the kind of extra-coarse vocal bravado & swagger one might associate more with Plant than Nicks.
So this is part fine-rock, part country-dance, part soul-pained blues — a motley collection of songs — all produced with expert gemstone finishes and all showing-off that amazing scorched-earth voice of old paint and corn whiskey. Highly recomennded.
Words: @neilmach 2018 ©
Sonia will be headlining the Supa Jam stage at The Black Deer Festival Friday, 22nd June. You can also catch her solo show Thursday, 21st June at the Hertford Corn Exchange.
Sonia Leigh and Friends: Studio 3 Sessions is out 15th June, 2018