Sonny Smith
Sonny Smith Sonny Smith was born in San Francisco, 1972. At seventeen he moved to the Colorado mountain town of Gunnison and started playing blues piano in local bars and clubs. Two years later he moved to Denver and entertained weekly at the Mercury Café and Muddy's Coffee House playing four and five-hour sets till closing at 3am. Unable to stay too long in one place, Sonny traveled to the jungles of Costa Rica, where he found himself living on an organic farm just a few miles from the Caribbean. It was here he first began to write songs, as well as plays, screenplays, and short stories. He met two other musicians with whom he busked up and down the tropical coast, playing tunes wherever invited. In 1996, Sonny returned to San Francisco where he landed a gig at the Rite Spot playing blues piano. The piano was so badly out of tune, he began facing the audience to perform his own songs playing guitar and harmonica. He eventually abandoned the piano entirely to develop his own style of folk music and long-winded storytelling with improvisational lyrics. This launched him into the San Francisco club circuit, where he leads an ever- revolving cast of local musicians. He recently toured the Southwest with Neko Case in 2006. Sonny’s early CDs include This Is My Story, This Is My Song, released in 2002, followed the next year by Sordid Tales of Love and Woe, Sweet Lorraine featuring Jolie Holland on harmonies. In 2005, Watchword Literary Magazine commissioned Sonny to produce One Act Plays, a CD that includes Edith Frost, Neko Case, Miranda July, Jolie Holland, Andy Cabic, Virgil Shaw, Mark Eitzel, and John Dwire, Rico Bell, among other talented artists. This year (2007) sees the release of Fruitvale, a collaboration with Chicago musicians Leroy Bach, Kelly Hogan, and Graeme Gibson, that features songs Sonny wrote about his old neighborhood in Oakland. Creative writing, including theatre and screenplay production, also ranks high among Sonny's artistic endeavers. In 2000, he wrote and directed his first short movie "Kid Gus Man." In 2005, he garnered a residency at the Headlands Center for the Arts to write and perform the play The Dangerous Stranger, and received a residency in 2006 from the LAB in San Francisco to produce part two of the saga, “Stranger Danger!" Since 2000, Sonny has penned "Steppin' Out," a column for the New Mission Newspaper, in addition to publishing stories in the New York literary magazine Si Senor. © 2007 sonny smith