Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
Sonny Smith songs can seem as if they're the happy little by-products - both in their creation and in their capture to tape - of a kind of buzzed atmosphere. You see, it seems as if Smith - the man with the chipped tooth, mischievous grin and all kinds of hair-brained thoughts squatting up in that head of his - gladly takes himself into that mindset, when all rational thought absorbs and is adjusted by a bounty of "that's just the beer talking."
This can lead to a couple different things to transpire. It can lead to the most earnest of thoughts and sentiments, getting down to the core of what a person's going through and experiencing. This could be the part of the man or woman that admits to loving someone they have never had any intention of telling that they love them. Oops.
And yet, often, this is what was supposed to happen, regardless of how the slip ends or how sloppy the execution may have been. The other very real possibility for copious, but ideal amounts of an alcoholic booze drink or a combination of booze and weed, leads to the kinds of sentiments that are just outright bizarre and fantastic. Smith goes there often as well, combining genuine tenderness with odd science fiction/weed talk in as playful and literate of a way as the great Dr. Frank of the Mr. T Experience used to do. On "Planet of Women," Smith sings, "The two-headed lady said I couldn't land my ship/I said it would only take a minute/Well, she said, What's in it?/Awww, I don't know, just some weird shit," and a better explanation of what he pours into every song couldn't be found.
There are inside jokes and sly usage of language all over his songs and it goes to show expertly that this business of writing music songs and performing music songs for people doesn't need to be all buttoned up and serious. It should be flippant and goofy and it should be okay to be a dork growing older, without having to give any of it up. The booze can make many things alright and it certainly makes the youthful worries of love, inclusion and getting someone to have sex with you all the better to hear about and even experience.
*Essay originally published July, 2010
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