Avery*Sunshine: Avery*Sunshine

Posted September 13, 2010 by J Matthew Cobb in Reviews 1.0

averysunshine00Stunning indie record reveals a budding super soul singer already in the making

Despite the concern of having an unpronounceable asterisk or computer icon injected in between an unique stage name, similar to pop porn-star names like Ke$ha and will.i.am and The-Dream and 3OH!3, Avery*Sunshine is far stronger and engaging than the star tucked in between her name. Conjure for just a moment Minnie Riperton entering into the neo-soul era. With an awestricken stage presence and rich capturing vocals that fit right in between modern soul personalities Angie Stone and Jill Scott, the independent Atlanta based soul singer – with a deep history in gospel singing with the Wilmington Chester Mass Choir – proves to be a woman confident with all of her musical extravagances. Make a special note; her self-titled project wasn’t financed by a mega label nor was it supervised by heavyweight producers, but Sunshine astoundingly defies the odds by relying on her own strengths along with the help of producer/guitarist Dana Johnson to get the album’s engines lubricated. With the opener “All In My Head” bubbling with organic instrumentation and Sunshine’s delicious Regina Belle executions, you know there’s an abundance of musical depth to be expected. Sunshine almost makes it impossible to compete against the first four minutes, but the experience maintains its listening power and artistic value.

The album paces itself with positive images of overcoming life’s challenges (“Ugly Part of Me,” “Today”) and appreciating God’s blessings (“The Most…”). Possibly using the Jill Scott Words and Sounds motif, Avery*Sunshine takes the perfect opportunity to become transparent on what most will assert as her introductory album (although an indie-released EP followed this release). Luckily, even in the lounge jazz-R&B with its woozy Rhodes action, Sunshine isn’t afraid to spit out jocular lyrics to lift heavy spirits, like on “Today” (“My baby’s daddy’s actin’ like a nut/My car is smoking, it keeps acting up/I feel like I’m ‘bout to lose my head…”My boss is acting like he’s smoking crack/Want me to work two shifts back to back”). With so many people in understanding with Sunshine’s daily, “Today” is the kind of soul food that definitely touts extreme levels of “I-know-whatcha’-talkin’about” feedback.

Certainly Avery*Sunshine aims to impress neo-soul dietarians across the board, especially with the first half of the disc, but she isn’t too far away from reviving R&B roots.“Pinin’” feels like a Southern track befitting Betty Wright using Curtis Mayfield’s “Something He Can Feel” piano staccatos. She does re-enter her spiritual connections on “Blessin’ Me” (a jazzy spin on the gospel standard “The Lord Is Blessing Me”). “I Got Sunshine” is definitely in the alley of Melanie Fiona-meets-Motown. “Everybody Loves” is a short but sentimental ode to Roy Ayers’ 1976 classic “Everybody Loves the Sunshine;” even featuring a cameo appearance from the legendary vibist.

Avery*Sunshine is one of those albums that makes you wonder what would’ve happened if the right marketing team and the perfect music label handled this. With barely a gripe to fumble about, this stroke of soulful genius is living proof that soul music still has fresh, young blood in its veins. It may sneak under mainstream radar, but if it does it will be their lost. Without a doubt, Sunshine is 2010’s Melanie Fiona; this year’s soul artist to watch out for.

About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine

One Comment


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