MAY 6-10. 2015
Erica Sunshine Lee – The South Will Rise Again – Album Review
You know…sometimes just a few words can make the entire difference…
That would be the case in this late-night review coming out on the music of Erica Sunshine Lee; I didn’t know her to look anything different than these very words that you’re looking at onscreen here now. I was lucky enough to chat briefly with Erica as I received this album, and by chat I mean of course a paragraph or so of text from this future country-music star. Giving some brief insight into the album and the songs, much of this was inspired by the tornados that have stricken the U.S., but more-so the ability for all of us to come together in the face of tragedy. The idea of getting back out there…and carrying on; rebuilding.
This was all compelling backstory…but it was the humble, sweet nature of this ‘country-girl’ that was impressing me…something about the way she was relating the story. She might hate me for quoting this here…but here goes anyway….
…”Real life and real stories are what I write…”
Now…I have relatively very little experience as a country-girl. Nearly 99.9% of the time, my bearded face and ruffles of chest-hair seem to give me away. But you want to know what’s REALLY strange? Not only am I typically NOT a country-music fan…but I really like what I’m hearing from Erica Sunshine Lee. The way she’s put forth her experiences from the last two years of her life into the lyrics of this record, well, I feel like if I close my eyes I can truly imagine through her words was it WOULD be like to be a country-girl…
That being said, there are definitely two sides to Erica Sunshine Lee. You’ve got the energetic pop/country tracks of the modern day, and you’ve also got a lot of completely authentic songs that hearken back to the country-classics of old. In any of these cases, Erica is literally flawless. She’s currently based in Nashville yes; but let’s just say there’s not a single shred of evidence upon the album that would give you a clue as to otherwise – this is as Nashville as Nashville gets! And by that, I mean that, as much as I LOVE the music that comes from that place…they’re in a lot of ways playing with a limited word-count; much of what you’ll hear from Erica Sunshine Lee are concepts that you’d expect to exist within country-music. And with THAT being said…who honestly cares when it all comes out this incredibly anyhow? As I had mentioned in the recent review on Chris Weaver Band, clichés can exist for plenty of valid reasons…and generally those occurring in music are experienced by many and represented by only a few voices from a stereo speaker. Sometimes when we need to hear them the most, even though we might have heard that advice before, because these themes are often repetitive in ANY genre, not just hers, it exists for us when we need it the most because we STILL need to hear it.
That’s real life right Erica Sunshine Lee? Believe me – you’ll hear it on this album, it’s undeniable just how much these songs truly are based in her real life experience. What’s completely NOT ‘real-life’ – are these incredible performances she gives, or the hooks that she’s written. Erica is truly a superstar in the making, and an honorary resident of the Nashville scene by now I have no doubt.
Why? Cause modern-day country-fans you LOVE songs like “Girls Night Out,” and she starts the album off with high-energy and catchy hooks right off the bat. But don’t even TRY to tell me that you don’t love that stuff country-people! YOU DO SO. Songs like “Holler If You’re Blue Collar,” could just as easily be the equivalent of a “Save The Horse” music-craze, of this I have no doubt. Haven’t had enough yet? NO – you haven’t! I know it and so do YOU. So go listen to “All My Bucks Go To Starbucks,” and get yourself through the drive-thru on the way to work. “How Bout Them Dawgs?”
What surprised me…was how authentic some of these other tunes came out…how amazing some of the tones she created were and what a sincere and honest performance she gives throughout. I mean seriously – this girl can SING, and she’s got the best of the best making music to back these songs…it’s all coming out perfectly.
The South Will Rise Again, and more than likely demand an encore if she wants to continue on making music with as much heart, quality and enthusiasm as she clearly is. The title-track of this album…is just flat-out phenomenal. Don’t even question me on it, just go and listen, even if you’re not a country fan…there’s so much sorrow, pain, emotion, love, redemption…it’s like an entire Nicholas Sparks movie-plot within one song, all based from her real-life experience. It’s hard not to hear this as the major highlight of the album…it’s like a flawless diamond…or staring into a nebula or something else extraordinarily beautiful. Erica is nailing it here, in a performance strong even to bring in crossover fans, just like myself now. This captivating song and powerhouse of emotion is a real strength on this album, and certainly spotlights the incredible song-writing of Erica Sunshine Lee.
The track that might have impressed me more than any other on this album…was “Maybe That’s When You’ll Notice I’m Gone.” Now…I’ve already said this many times, you know I’m not a country-music fan overall…and that’s an important distinction to make, the ‘overall’ part. I have listened, and will always listen, to the best of the best in any genre…any of those famous greats are truly legends and my list is never-ending of the people I’m thankful for blazing the trail for us all. But one of those greats…is certainly the timeless music of Dolly Parton herself…and I know I’m not crazy when I hear a young Dolly here in Erica’s voice on this song. She confirmed it for me when she followed it with “Drinking For Two.” That song also reminds me of Dolly’s tender tremble in her voice…Erica has amazing control over her vocals and knows how to get the most out of every note. But like people knew with Dolly Parton long before it all actually happened for her…much the same I believe could be true of Erica Sunshine Lee…I really think we’re possibly witnessing the early days of a massive country superstar in the future to come. And if these are her starting blocks, she’s going to have a very short walk to fame and stardom.
Lastly…I’ll comment on the genius track that is “Chunky Dunk.” This is about the most amazing inclusion I’ve ever heard on an album of this caliber. Seriously…if this doesn’t speak to just how ‘real’ of an artist Erica truly is, I don’t know what else could. Any pretentious bullshit country-star would have NEVER had the courage to include this on such a pristine and beautiful album. This song sounds like a basement-demo…and MAN is it refreshing to hear someone of this extreme talent just take a moment out of the stadium to have a very real moment with all of us.
I gotta say Erica Sunshine Lee…you get a big thumbs up from me. I’m not about to go out and get myself a cowboy hat anytime soon…but there’s certainly nothing that’s going to stop me from talking about YOU when someone asks me what AMAZING country-music I’ve come across through my work at sleepingbagstudios. I’ll bend the rest of the ears you don’t reach yourself my friend…but from what I’m hearing on this album, well…I think you’ll do just fine getting their attention on your own. This entire album is one huge, massive hit-single all packed into one.
Well after 14 shows this week, I had a great time performing at the Tamworth Country Music Festival, for the 3rd year at Australia’s Largest Music Festival! Thanks to The Albert Hotel, The PUB, Longyard Hotel, The Frog and Toad Convention Center, The Services Club, Peel River Gardens and the Fanzone Stage. Thanks to Mitchell Shadlow for the awesome performances, guitar playing, being my taxi and best mate. Thanks to my band and to all the fans for showing up and supporting live original country music! Thank you Wendy for hosting us at the villa, to the Viper Creek Band for the guest spot at the Longyard singing our duet “YOU SAVED ME”, and the hilarious and talented performer Bob Corbett for the impromptu jam at the PUB! I’m so excited to announce today WJO is releasing my first Australian single: “YOU SAVED ME!” Download now on iTunes, and request at your local Australian country music station! Here’s the music video shot in Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia by the amazing Matt Gill:
My HIGHLIGHTS THIS YEAR @ TAMWORTH aside from performing, were seeing the ADAM ECKERSLEY BAND (winners of the Golden Guitar for Best New Band), hearing the Viper Creek Band rock out the Longyard, writing songs with the amazing Garrett Kato (Canadian, now Byron Bay singer/songwriter with the most amazing voice), the incredible Melbourne based Waz E. Band - whose accordian player was insane, and Texas Native Doug Bruce, who made me so proud to be a country singer. There are so many other bands I didn’t get to see because of my rigorous schedule, but I also found the best restaurant in Tamworth, the hidden gem called “THE SQUARE MAN INN,” and the food was so decadent and homemade, in addition to the coziest and most scenic ambiance. Thank you again to all the folks who came to the festival and made this week so much fun, and I will forever remember these shows and all the people who made an effort to come see and hear me play in this awesome country! Hope to be back next year! Sincerely, Sunshine
Please vote for my friend and fellow country singer/songwriter CRAIG WAYNE BOYD from Nashville on the VOICE!! He has worked so hard touring for many years, and we run in the same circle in Nashville, and he’s the real deal. NO AUTO TUNE, NO BS, just real, raw, country talent!
From a recent San Francisco Wedding, the Blushing Bride hired Erica Sunshine Lee’s band to entertain their 200 guest wedding party, including music for the ceremony, and here’s what the newlywed said:
“She came fully prepared with all the tools, equipment, and talent to provide all the Audio needs you will ever need for a wedding!
She played an acoustic song that we walked down the aisle to, then provided a microphone for the officiant to clearly perform his speech for a large outdoor wedding (170 pp.).
Once dinner was over, her band rocked and kept everyone dancing all night long! Her voice is amazing, and her range of covers and originals are very comprehensive which to kept everyone happy!
Highly recommended by myself, my new wife, and the numerous complements we received from our guest!! 5 stars!”
Another Groom says: “Erica is amazing. She will sing the songs that will match your wedding. She actually learned and played “our” song by Dave Matthews – ‘You and Me’. And her version was awesome!We love her! Thanks so much!”
This past Saturday, The Georgia Country Awards were held at 120 Tavern in Marietta, Georgia, featuring performances by Georgia’s own top country bands and artists.
The winners from the 2014 Georgia Country Awards were:
Overall Artist of the Year – Thomas Fountain, Male Artist of the Year – Thomas Fountain,
Female Artist of the Year – Erica Sunshine Lee,
Band of the Year – Georgia Red Clay,
Traditional Artist of the Year – Scott Brantley
Teen Artist of the Year – Madison Shea.
Congratulations to all the winners, and the finalists, and thanks to Georgia-country.com for all the support for Georgia’s own top country acts!
The industy award winners were: Small Venue of the Year – Wild Wing Cafe – Statesboro, Concert Venue of the Year – Phillips Arena – Atlanta, Country Bar of the Year – Electric Cowboy, Dance Venue of the Year – Electric Cowboy – Kennesaw, National Artist of the Year – Luke Bryan and Radio Station of the Year – The Bull – Atlanta.
You can see pictures from the red carpet by clicking on the Photography By Dwight logo above
Below were the FINALIST for each of the categories
Overall Artist of the Year Georgia Red Clay, Tiger Creek Band, Thomas Fountain, Megan Fowler & Laughlin
Male Artist of the Year Thomas Fountain, Tyler Hammond, Matt Pippin, Matt Rogers and Ryan West
Female Artist of the Year Sara Barbara, Megan Fowler, Gina Gailey, Cyrstal Hopkins, Erica Sunshine Lee and Amy Taylor
Duo, Trio or Band of the Year Georgia Red Clay, Kinafoochee Cowboys, Lauglin, Salazar, Ten Mile Creek and Tiger Creek Band
Teen Artist of the Year Madison Parks, Chyann Rose, Madison Shea, Trent Ewing, Paige McCauley and Peachy Pyron
Favorite Traditional Act of the Year Katie Deal, Scott Brantley, Jason Earl, Joe Olds, Stone Cold Country and Young America
Country Bar of the Year Bootleggers – Athens, Bootleggers – Savannah, Crazy Bull, Cowboy Bills, Coyotes and Electric Cowboy
Favorite Country Dance Venue Cowboy Bills, Coyotes, Electric Cowboy, Saddle Bags, Silverados and Outlaws Saloon
Small Venue of the Year Eddies Attic, The Gin, Pourhouse Ellijay, Wild Wing Cafe – Macon, Wild Wing Cafe – Statesboro and 120 Tavern & Music Hall
Large Venue of the Year Gwinnett Arena, Phillips Arena, Southern Ground Amphitheatre, Verizon Amphithearte, Wild Adventures and Wild Bills
Radio Station of the Year WDEN – Macon, The Bull – Atlanta, Kicks 101.5 Atlanta, WTIF – Tifton, Nash 96.5 Savannah and Z94.5 Baxley
Favorite National Artist of the Year Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Alan Jackson, Florida Georgia Line, Brantley Gilbert and Zac Brown Band
The Voting for the 2014 Georgia Country Awards has now ended. Be sure to attend the Awards show, Saturday, Nov 15th at The 120 Tavern & Music Hall in Marietta to see who wins. You can purchase tickets by returning to the home page and clicking on the awards poster. Thanks, GC
Hey Friends and Fans,
I’m back in Australia touring for the 4th consecutive year, performing at Australia’s Largest country music festival, in January and Shedrock in Melbourne
Spread the word~ DOWN UNDER FANS!
Playing beside a Castle @ Durty Nelly’s!
Playing in Grenoble, the South of France! Playing in PARIS for the first time!
Modeling for Morning Glory Boutique!
Playing at the “WORLD’S LARGEST MUSIC FESTIVAL” SUMMERFEST in Milwaukee, WI. My single ‘GEORGIA FOR THIS’ hitting top 80 on MUSIC ROW CHARTS FOR US RADIO!
Scoring another top 10 Single on the Europe Charts “GEORGIA FOR THIS”!
Voted a Finalist for Georgia Country Female Artist of the Year:
Releasing my 2nd US Radio Single ‘CHUNKY DUNK’ (CLICK HERE TO SAMPLE) Playing in Hollywood @ Genghus Cohen! Shooting my music Video “GEORGIA FOR THIS” back home with all my friends…. Having a new baby niece! Being in San Francisco when my favorite MLB team THE GIANTS won the WORLD SERIES! And now heading back to write songs and play shows down under with all my Australian friends, who have become more like a family to me.
Where I shot this music video “YOU SAVED ME” with my friends THE VIPER CREEK BAND, co-written with Damien Baguley….
Thank you west coast for a great time, Europe for memories and sights I could have never imagined, Nashville for all the songs, support, and inspiration, and to home, my Georgia folks I love you…
BBC Radio adds Erica Sunshine Lee’s single “GIRLS NIGHT OUT” to their extensive playlist of today’s hottest music, off of her 5th studio album “The South WIll Rise Again,” available for download on iTunes! CLICK HERE TO HEAR MORE of BBS RADIO’s playlist!