Back in 2017, Country’s Chatter introduced our readers to EmiSunshine. In that article, we used a quote from WCYB-TV news anchor, Preston Ayers, who said, she is “a 12 year old who already has an impressive resume”. Emi was there to promote an upcoming show at Bristol’s Pickin’ Porch. (If you missed that article or would like to read it again, just click here.)
When Emi did that news broadcast, she was 12, when we wrote the article, she was 13, she is now 15, and continues to share her magnificant vocals and unbelievable writing talent with the world.
EmiSunshine has been writing songs since the age of 5. She has attracted national attention since she was 9, with appearances on “The Today Show,” Steve Harvey’s “Little Big Shots,” “Pickler & Ben,” “Music City Roots,” the Grand Ole Opry (14 times) and more. In 2017, she was featured in the Grammy-nominated Elvis Presley documentary “The King,” for which she wrote and performed two original songs. Rolling Stone included Emi as one of the “10 New Country Artists You Need to Know”.
When talking about Emi, the word ‘impressive’ just doesn’t really seem like a big enough word. She has powerful vocals, and a unique, recognizable voice. The first time you hear her sing, you are going to remember that voice. You will know who you are listening to the next time you hear her one of her songs.
I received her album, “Family Wars” several days ago. I’ve been listening to it ever since. The album was released on Oct. 18, and is available on her website. You can check it out on Spotify.
Along with her band, The Rain, this 11-track album makes you think of each song as a chapter in an 11-chapter book. Emi says this is her ‘most personal album to date.’ But, keep in mind that she doesn’t say that because it is based on her life, but ‘because it expresses her thoughts on a variety of timely issues’. At 15 years old, this young singer/songwriter takes on topics like domestic voilence, mass murder, political corruption, dysfunctional families, a dead brothers ghost and love for America. From the first line of the first song, you are hooked. You will not want to stop listening until you have heard them all. And, if you are anything ilke me, one time through is not going to be enough.
Her band, The Rain, is comprised of her father, Randall Hamilton, on upright bass, base guitar and vocals; her brother, John Hamilton, on acoustic guitar, mandolin and vocals; and “Uncle” Bobby Hill on drums, along with several guest artists – Jim Lauderdale, The McCary Sisters, Kyle Jacobs, Jeff Taylor and Justin Moses.
The title track, “Family Wars,” is a portrait of a dysfunctional family. “Scarecrow” tells of a woman’s revenge on an abusive husband. “Politicians Dance” is a cynical look at corrupt leaders. “Jonas Black” warns of a continuation of mass murders, if people cannot compromise on their differences.
Despite its overall somberness, the album is not dark. Emi strikes an optimistic tone with songs like “Same Boat” and “There’s Got To Be More,” cowritten and performed as a duet with Grammy-winner Jim Lauderdale. And then there is “Meanwhile In America,” which Emi describes as a “song of thanksgiving” for the freedoms she enjoys and so many others throughout the world are seeking.
With 11 great songs to review, it would be impossible to give you a song-by-song review. But I will tell you that among my favorites are “The Ghost of Hank Williams” and “Meanwhile in America”. A very deep, very meaningful song, that will instantly become personal to everyone who hears it. A few of the lyrics: “I wake up wrapped in red, white and blue, I was born with the freedom to do what I want to do” …It goes on to tell us “Meanwhile in Afghanistan”… then “Meanwhile in Mexico”… then ending with “Meanwhile in America”. Each ‘visit’ to one of those mentioned places is followed with a story.
I mentioned those as ‘favorites’. However, there is not one song on this album that I don’t like, or would ever skip over while listening to it.
Here is Track List:
1. “Family Wars” (written by EmiSunshine and Alisha Hamilton)
2. “There’s Got To Be More” (written by EmiSunshine, Jim Lauderdale, Alisha Hamilton)
3. “Scarecrow” (written by EmiSunshine, Alisha Hamilton, Randall Hamilton, Fish Fisher)
4. “Oh, Caroline” (written by John Hamilton, EmiSunshine, Alisha Hamilton, Chelle Rose)
5. “Crimson Moon” (written by EmiSunshine, Alisha Hamilton, Fish Fisher)
6. “Jonas Black” (written by EmiSunshine, Alisha Hamilton, Marleta Costner, Fish Fisher)
7. “Politicians Dance”
8. “Same Boat” (written by Autumn McEntire, Alisha Hamilton, EmiSunshine)
9. “The Ghost of Hank Williams” (written by EmiSunshine, Alisha Hamilton, Betsi McGrath)
10. “Meanwhile In America” (written by Vicky McGehee, Kyle Jacobs, Alisha Hamilton,
11. “Jonas Black” (bonus track feat. The McCrary Sisters) (written by EmiSunshine, Alisha
Hamilton, Marleta Costner, Fish Fisher)
In addition to her website, visit her Facebook page (and, remember to “Like” it while you are there. You can follow her on Twitter @theemisunshine. If you aren’t already following Country’s Chatter on Twitter, we are @countryschatter, and we’d love to have you.
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