Sonny Smith, of Sonny And The Sunsets, will release his tenth studio album, Rod For Your Love via Dan Auerbach’s new label, Easy Eye Sound, on February 9th. The record, produced by Black Keys frontman Dan Auerbach at his Nashville studio, roots itself in old-school, guitar-driven rock & roll, and is equally built for the garage and the dance floor, with big-hearted melodies and thick harmonies. “I think a lot of albums are made in reaction to the one that came directly before,” says Smith, whose earlier recordings were released by labels like Fat Possum and Polyvinyl. “By the time we got to Nashville and began working with Dan, I was thinking ‘let’s just make a fun, guitar-driven record. I don’t want to have any extracurricular stuff here. I just want it to be really pure.’ Rod For Your Love is available for pre-order on CD, vinyl, and digitally here.
This morning, Sonny Smith also debuts the music video for Rod For Your Love’s first single, “Pictures of You,” directed by Ryan Daniel Browne via FLOOD Magazine, who say the song “suggests Black Lips more than Black Keys, as the jangling guitars and breezy melodies lift the peculiarly linear two-and-a-half minute track to heights previously unreached by Smith.” Watch “Pictures of You”:
Rod For Your Love was recorded at the end of a cross-country tour, and features Smith and his band firing on all cylinders, their rough edges sanded down by weeks of nightly shows. Hearing that the Arcs, Auerbach’s side-project, had covered one of his own songs during their own tour, Smith reached out to the Black Keys singer. From there studio time was booked, and when Smith wound up finishing his countrywide tour in Nashville, he and his road band tracked the album at Auerbach’s studio. The result is a deeply personal album, filled with heart-of-sleeve songwriting, which shines a light on the songs and the band, without many overdubs or assorted clutter.
With songs that spin stories about loving, losing, and living in the modern world, it’s hard not to identify with songs like the title track — a sunny, simple declaration of Smith’s affection for a girl — and “Pictures of You,” which find him remembering a former flame by sifting through old photographs. On “Burnin’ Up,” he swaps harmonies with songwriter Angel Olsen, turning the love song into a conversation between partners. The goal with Smith’s latest was an album that felt both fresh and familiar at once, which nods to the past while still moving forward. With the release of Rod For Your Love Sonny Smith accomplishes just that.
For years, Sonny Smith has built his own brand of indie-folk and rock & roll, growing into a cult favorite along the way. To those who know his work, he’s an incredibly prolific creator, with a dozen albums to his name and a handful of related projects — including multiple stage plays and his nationally-recognized art installation, “100 Bands” — under his belt. A longtime fixture of San Francisco’s arts scene, he’s managed to fly just beneath the mainstream’s radar for decades, while still releasing a string of acclaimed records with labels like Fat Possum and Polyvinyl.
Rod For Your Love Track Listing
Pictures of You
Live, Love and Be Free
Rod for Your Love
More Bad Times
Bores Me to Tears