Volume 11: Jessica Sonner

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I usually don’t go to concerts by myself, but sometimes curiosity gets the best of me. And last winter, Jessica Sonner was a major curiosity of mine. Having listened to her music via her MySpace page for a few days, I was hooked; and luckily for me, she was coming to town.  So while my wife worked a night shift, I saw her play an early set at Off Broadway in St. Louis, and I was gratefully rewarded with an intimate performance.  It was just her and an acoustic, one that had been damaged on the plane the day before.  She seemed concerned about it, and I don’t blame her – for most songwriters, a certain guitar is irreplaceable.  Sonner seemed no different.

But as she played for a little over an hour, telling stories in between songs, I became convinced that she was a lot more than just a gal and her guitar.  Her lyrics recalled past relationships, backyard hangouts, and curious love.  She was soulful, country, poppy, and even though she didn’t blow any amps, she rocked.  And for a guy like me who listens to a lot of “chill” music, Jessica Sonner became a breath of fresh air before my eyes and ears.

Now that’s not to say Sonner can’t be mellow, because a few of her better songs like “Rescue Me,” “Fool,” and “Just You” don’t exactly fire up the party.  It’s just that for most of the time, you’d probably envision her with a bright smile on her face.

She’s a beautiful red head, a strong vocalist who hails from Denver.  And after a brief stay in Chicago, she’s back living in the mountains, and opportunities are many for Sonner – just this summer she played at Red Rocks for the first time.  I’d imagine she’s having the time of her life.

But don’t ask me to define her music for you, because like I mentioned earlier, she’s all over the place.  This is a good thing.  Her most recent album, All We Need, is fantastic at switching genres, particularly because she’s got the voice to pull it off.  Her range never suffers, because it’s got that special extra gear that we all love: it soars.

And really, it’s a shame I have to tell you all about her.  If one of her tunes were to turn up on “Grey’s Anatomy”or “ER,” Sonner’s days playing an early set at Off Broadway would soon go away.  For much as I would like that to happen for her, and I have no doubt that it could become a sudden reality, I believe in Jessica Sonner because she seems happy doing it her way.  One day she’s at Red Rocks, the next in Los Angeles.  While I’m writing this, she’s probably about to take the stage at The Living Room in NYC.  And it’s all because Jessica Sonner has a talent and love for writing and playing songs.  For some reason, I believe that will always be an honor for her to share, no matter the city or stage.

Artist Websites:
Main: www.jessicasonner.com
MySpace: www.myspace.com/jessicasonner

Tour Dates
http://jessicasonner.com/calendar.html

Album Discography: 
the ep (2005)
All We Need (2008)

She said it:
“I learned to play guitar in college. My dad always used to play for church; he was the pastor, and the worship leader all in one. He knew like 7 chords. My brother picked up the guitar and learned those 7 chords in about 3 days, and then started making up stuff and coming up with these new chords I’d never heard. He got really good at playing…and being the competitive spirit I am, I thought, ‘Well, if he can do it, I can do it’ So, my dad brought me a guitar my freshman year, and I started writing music almost immediately. It felt really natural.”

Jason Gonulsen
jgonulsen2@yahoo.com

Now listening to…
What Doesn’t Kill Us, What Made Milwaukee Famous

Lyric of the month…
“Even you, yesterday, you had to ask me where it was at/ I couldn’t believe after all these years, you didn’t know me any better than that.” –Bob Dylan, “Idiot Wind”

Just watched…
CSNY: Déjà Vu

Last concert…
Ingrid Michaelson, The Pageant, St. Louis, MO

Jessica Sonner
Top 5 Songs

1. “Be With Me”

2. “Rescue Me”

3. “All We Need” 

4. “Forget You”


5. “Just You”

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