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Friday, August 24, 2012

Shining Stone Records Signs Blues Singer Sunny Crownover & Will Release Her Label Debut CD, "Right Here, Right Now," on October 2


MIAMI, FL – Shining Stone Records announces the signing of Massachusetts-based blues singer Sunny Crownover and the upcoming release of her label debut CD, Right Here, Right Now, produced by Duke Robillard, on October 2. Shining Stone Records is part of the Blue Duchess/Shining Stone Records Group founded by Robillard and Jesse A. Finkelstein. Right Here, Right Now was recorded at Lakewest Recording by John Paul Gauthier and showcases Crownover’s stunning voice backed by an all-star cast of musicians including Duke Robillard on guitar, Bruce Bears on keyboards, Brad Hallen on bass, Mark Teixeira on drums and a horn section that includes Doug James on sax. Multiple Blues Music Award nominee Sugar Ray Norcia guests on harmonica.

To those who know Sunny Crownover only from earlier collaborations with Duke Robillard, such as her Introducing Sunny and Her Joy Boys CD in 2009 or Duke’s Stomp! The Blues Tonight and Tales from the Tiki Lounge albums, which were exercises in mostly vintage jazz and blues, and classic pop, her vocals on Right Here, Right Now will be a revelation. From the opening track, “Oh Yes I Will,” Sunny is right in the pocket, her vocals dripping with blues and soul on a song that could have come from the classic Stax era in Memphis, with Duke even channeling the great Steve Cropper on some funky guitar, too.

“This CD was over a year in the making,” recalls Sunny Crownover about the pre-planning, songwriting and recording sessions that yielded the new disc. “On the Sunny and Her Joy Boys album, I focused on emulating that pure, refined, and slightly restrained vocal style to fit the instrumentation. Then, on Stomp!, the tracks that I’m on showed a little more diversity in the vocals, still with a hint of that style from the jump blues era. So, a lot of people think that’s what my vocal style is all about. Duke and I decided it was time for me to do a solo CD and to go back to my beginnings with contemporary blues/roots and R&B, which is more of what folks in Austin (where she spent her early singing years) knew me for; and also what people in New England first knew me for when I arrived on the scene as a vocalist in the band 2120 South Michigan Avenue.”

“Producing and playing on this album has been incredibly fun and gratifying for me,” says Duke Robillard in the album’s liner notes. “When Sunny first spoke to me about wanting to do a contemporary blues album, I was not sure it was the right path for her to take after recording more traditional jazz, classic pop and early R&B with her. It didn’t take long before we realized it was a perfect fit for her versatile sound.”

When it came time to assemble songs for Right Here, Right Now, Duke turned to social media to solicit some of the new material. “Our first try was to request new blues related tunes from my many Facebook musician friends,” says Robillard. “The idea was a new and fruitful one and we soon had several tunes that fit Sunny’s style and personality. We recorded that first batch of songs and realized we had the beginnings of a really good CD.

“My next step was to contact my new friend in Nashville, Gary Nicholson, who had mentioned writing together sometime upon meeting. Gary, besides being a great artist in his own right, is one of the most amazing songwriters and all around great guys today. It would be an understatement to say that the chemistry was there. In two afternoons we managed to write basically half the album and tailor the tunes to Sunny perfectly. I left for Nashville with orders to write a tune called “Hi-Heels and Home Cookin’,” that being two things Sunny was known for amongst friends. And write one we did! Gary’s sly, barely disguised clever lyrics initially put quite a blush on Sunny’s face but hey, you asked for it girl! And of course she came through with a sultry and sassy performance that is one of the most fun tunes on the album, done in a mock twenties blues fashion but appropriately updated.”

The Robillard/Nicholson collaboration yielded four songs, plus one solo composition by each of them. Added to the tunes solicited from Duke’s Facebook friends, including one from long-time buddy and former Roomful of Blues bandmate Al Basile (“I Might Just Change My Mind”), as well as others from LA-by-way of Texas blueswoman Brenda Burns (“One Woman Man”) and several others. The result was that Right Here, Right Now came together in a “perfect storm” of artist, songs and musicians. Some of the CD’s other musical highlights include the rollicking Chicago blues of “Roll Me Daddy,” the funky, rockin’ “Cook in Your Kitchen,” the cautionary, horn-fueled tale, “Warned” and the beautiful title track love ballad, “Right Here, Right Now.”

“We really liked the idea that some of the tunes came from local Boston songwriters,” says Crownover. “In some cases I knew within a few notes that I absolutely had to record them; a couple of examples are ‘Love Me Right’ and ‘Trust Your Lover.’ The ones we selected all were chosen to really give people a chance to hear a more contemporary, bluesy, soulful side of my voice. A huge amount of work went into this, with the aim of producing something that has a wide appeal and showcases a more contemporary, bluesy and powerful side of my vocals. I hope we've done that!”

Sunny Crownover first began singing blues in Dallas/Fort Worth area clubs and coffeehouses before moving to Austin, and soon began singing with Van Wilks and other local blues and R&B bands. She moved to New England a dozen years ago, where Robillard first heard her sing in late 2007 at a Harvard University concert. Duke immediately knew he’d found the voice he was looking for to bring life to a number of projects he’d been wanting to do for over 35 years.

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1 comment:

  1. Appreciate this music and Sunny's talent