Music

Avery Sunshine: The SunRoom

Avery Sunshine makes her audience feel at home on the warm, uplifting The SunRoom.


Avery Sunshine

The SunRoom

Label: Shanachie
US Release Date: 2014-05-27
UK Release Date: 2014-05-19
Amazon
iTunes

“See you when I get there.” Sigh, such simple words exhibit a great amount of depth and meaningfulness; there is perceptible warmth. In the context of R&B artist Avery Sunshine’s album, The SunRoom, the same sentiment issued by the featured lyric penetrates throughout the album. The SunRoom feels truly authentic and friendly, keeping classic soul sensibilities alive and well. In the hands of Sunshine and her musical partner Dana “BigDane” Johnson, the end product is nothing short of exceptional.

“Won’t You Try” kicks off The SunRoom sunnily, with a hint of Memphis soul in the style of Al Green. Sunshine begins her vocal performance poised, never ceding control. By the close of the funky opener, Sunshine lets loose, delivering more vocal grit and nuance. Funk is supplanted by romantic balladry on “Call My Name”. While the tempo is slackened, the energy and investment is by no means compromised. Sunshine’s remarkable voice definitely dominates in convincing fashion.

Interludes don’t often scream importance or relevance within the context of an album, but “SYWIGT” is definitely interesting and fits the vibe. It precedes another high-flying number, “One Foot Ahead”, where the funk returns once more. “One Foot Ahead” delivers a message of resolve – “walking by faith, and not by sight”. If “One Foot Ahead” foreshadowed a spiritual route, the spiritually driven “Meditation #1 (Conversation with God)” confirms it. Lush, inviting, and amiable, “Meditation #1” continues the consistency and the hospitable nature of The SunRoom.

“Time To Shine” keeps things positive, never issuing doubt or dissension from the sunny script. The chorus vocals burst with confidence and determination to succeed: I’m not ashamed to say that / I’m so proud of me / I’m gonna shine, shine, shine!” Towards the end, the backing vocals reiterate the key word: “shine”. Things are more relaxed on “Nothing To Something”, where Sunshine sings amorously about him “turning my nothing into something”. Clever is the fact, “Nothing to Something” can interpreted romantically or spiritually; it straddles the line.

As good as “Time To Shine” and “Nothing To Something” are, “I Do Love You (You Ain’t Got To Lie)” one-ups them. Like the cream of the crop “Won’t You Try” or “One Foot Ahead”, the funk-factor truly elevates “I Do Love You” to stratospheric heights. Soul arguably is best exemplified by this cut, not solely in production alone, but also Sunshine’s gritty, electrifying vocals. Also worthy of note are Sunshine’s bluesy piano chops. Retaining balance, “Meditation #2 (Conversation with Him),” relaxes things. At only two-minutes, “Meditation #2” serves the role of an interlude – a break.

“Sweet Afternoon” continues the lush, beauty of the album, spreading its plushness at nearly six-and-half minutes. Even given its length, it's difficult not to get lost into the truly ‘sweet’ cut, intact with jazz-oriented harmonies, backing vocals, and of course thoughtful nuances from Sunshine. Penultimate “See You When I Get There” exceeds the length of “Sweet Afternoon”, though by only a little. See You When I Get There” gets the edge, again incorporating the ‘f-word’ – FUNK. A hint of Clavinet (keyboards) is just what the doctor ordered.

‘Dr. Jesus’ is the physician on superb closer “Safe In His Arms”, an oft-covered gospel song written by Darius Brooks. Sunshine’s sensational interpretation incorporates only piano and voice. The vibe is spiritual and incredibly reverent.

Overall, The SunRoom is nothing short of a pleasant and soundly satisfying listen. Avery Sunshine hasn’t created an album with innovation in mind per se, but has definitely crafted an album that keeps soul and gospel alive and well. The energy and upbeat nature of The SunRoom is something so many of artists DON’T possess; it is refreshing to feel ‘welcomed’ into this warm, thoughtful effort.

8

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

Keep reading... Show less

Pauline Black may be called the Queen of Ska by some, but she insists she's not the only one, as Two-Tone legends the Selecter celebrate another stellar album in a career full of them.

Being commonly hailed as the "Queen" of a genre of music is no mean feat, but for Pauline Black, singer/songwriter of Two-Tone legends the Selecter and universally recognised "Queen of Ska", it is something she seems to take in her stride. "People can call you whatever they like," she tells PopMatters, "so I suppose it's better that they call you something really good!"

Keep reading... Show less

Morrison's prose is so engaging and welcoming that it's easy to miss the irreconcilable ambiguities that are set forth in her prose as ineluctable convictions.

It's a common enough gambit in science fiction. Humans come across a race of aliens that appear to be entirely alike and yet one group of said aliens subordinates the other, visiting violence upon their persons, denigrating them openly and without social or legal consequence, humiliating them at every turn. The humans inquire why certain of the aliens are subjected to such degradation when there are no discernible differences among the entire race of aliens, at least from the human point of view. The aliens then explain that the subordinated group all share some minor trait (say the left nostril is oh-so-slightly larger than the right while the "superior" group all have slightly enlarged right nostrils)—something thatm from the human vantage pointm is utterly ridiculous. This minor difference not only explains but, for the alien understanding, justifies the inequitable treatment, even the enslavement of the subordinate group. And there you have the quandary of Otherness in a nutshell.

Keep reading... Show less
3

A 1996 classic, Shawn Colvin's album of mature pop is also one of best break-up albums, comparable lyrically and musically to Joni Mitchell's Hejira and Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks.

When pop-folksinger Shawn Colvin released A Few Small Repairs in 1996, the music world was ripe for an album of sharp, catchy songs by a female singer-songwriter. Lilith Fair, the tour for women in the music, would gross $16 million in 1997. Colvin would be a main stage artist in all three years of the tour, playing alongside Liz Phair, Suzanne Vega, Sheryl Crow, Sarah McLachlan, Meshell Ndegeocello, Joan Osborne, Lisa Loeb, Erykah Badu, and many others. Strong female artists were not only making great music (when were they not?) but also having bold success. Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill preceded Colvin's fourth recording by just 16 months.

Keep reading... Show less
9

Frank Miller locates our tragedy and warps it into his own brutal beauty.

In terms of continuity, the so-called promotion of this entry as Miller's “third" in the series is deceptively cryptic. Miller's mid-'80s limited series The Dark Knight Returns (or DKR) is a “Top 5 All-Time" graphic novel, if not easily “Top 3". His intertextual and metatextual themes resonated then as they do now, a reason this source material was “go to" for Christopher Nolan when he resurrected the franchise for Warner Bros. in the mid-00s. The sheer iconicity of DKR posits a seminal work in the artist's canon, which shares company with the likes of Sin City, 300, and an influential run on Daredevil, to name a few.

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image