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Album Review

SUNDAY LANE
Bringing Us Sunshine

I should be flogged! A few months ago, Sunday Lane's PR man or maybe her manager sent me a message asking if I would take the time to listen to this new girl, this supposed new prodigy (they all make their star of the moment sound as if they are the next big thing) and I said okay. He sent files to which I gave a cursory listen and then promptly swept the files to the back of my mind because God knows I am busy and am always fighting a backlog of music I should have listened to weeks ago and yada yada yada (which is shorthand for I'm an idiot). Well, this morning I was looking for another file and wasn't sure of the name of the artist or the title and came across one called bring-me-sunshine and clicked on it expecting to hear some folk/country or something like that and I was once again assailed by the voice of this young girl I'd conscripted to obscurity. For some reason, it struck me differently than it had a few months ago and I listened and listened and began to feel a guilt I dread but which comes upon me once in awhile. I have no idea why I didn't hear the music before (I mean, I listened but evidently I didn't hear) and when it happens, I wonder why I do this because when the guilt comes on, it is a real guilt and, trust me, it is not pleasant. I fear that I am becoming a writer so buried by the mass of music that I am missing the most important artists and albums and I always hated people who could find the time to write about the Springsteen's and the Coldplay's while ignoring the Research Turtles and the Jesse Dee & Jacquie B's.

And the Sunday Lane's. What I heard this morning tells me I need to somehow find more time or ommmm myself into a better place so I can listen rather than listen because what I heard set me back on my ears. This EP, Bring Me Sunshine, is mainstream pop of the first water and normally I don't listen to the genre on the whole, but have found enough recently to make me think I should (thank you, Mariana Bell). Of course, I have heard my fill on commercials and in movies and I find myself bopping my head to music by God knows who (if not for those horrible Target commercials, for instance, I would have never “heard” Perfect Day) and while digging the music unconsciously, might consciously conscript those songs to the dungeons, as well. So it could have been with Sunday Lane if not for the search for something completely unrelated. So it might be going for many of the artists I pass on who deserve more.

But this isn't about me (at least, it didn't start out that way), it is about Ms. Lane, who certainly fits the mainstream pop bill to a T. As I sit here listening, I am struck by the lyrics, words which always make good songs better when written correctly and to the song, and if Lane wrote these she has that gift, something too many songwriters would kill to have. The songs themselves morph between songs of depth such as Heavy Heart, Heavy Hands and Lack of Color which could fit well on any Michelle Branch album (while I seldom listen to major artists, Branch is a siren call I cannot resist) and pop songs which would fit the demographics of songs thirteen-year-old girls might embrace but for their universality and mature themes. Not that thirteen-year-old girls would not love this EP. I believe they would. But the world equates thirteen-year-old girls to the likes of Britney Spears and Miley Cyrus and the Spears and Cyrus songs I have been exposed to do not even approach Lane in maturity or depth. I give them a 57. You can dance to them, but they don't have “it”, whatever “it” is. Lane has “it”. In spades.

I checked Lane's Facebook page and see that she's excited about some new songs she's working on and I admit to being a bit excited my own self. I end this sitting here listening to Heavy Heart, Heavy Hands on auto-repeat because it is one of those songs, like Amy Speace's Water Landing and Neko Case's Star Witness and Jess Pillmore's Don't Show Me, which transcends the music and puts me on a higher plane, it strikes so deep. And while I listen, I am thankful that I did not pass this over completely. Bring Me Sunshine is a valuable addition to my music collection and, had I known, I would have written this months ago. Sunday, you done good, and I apologize.

Frank O. Gutch Jr.

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