MICHELLE FLYNN / SAMANTHA LLOYD
Singer/songwriter Sonia Leigh has been making a name for herself in the UK over the past few months, most recently touring with Broken Witt Rebels. Although she is probably best known for country music, her latest album sees her take a different direction. Writing and co-producing ‘Mad Hatter’, she has moved away from her country roots and taken influence from the whole musical spectrum to produce an album that is a melting pot of genres. It weaves you from country to rock to pop and back again, blurring the lines between them all along the way. The tracks are all bound together by Sonia’s distinctive gritty vocals and lyrics influenced by her own life experiences.
There are a number of tracks on the album that could quite easily cross over to the mainstream. The album opener, ‘Waste The Day’ is an easy listen, wrought with synth keys and catchy vocals that will have you bopping around as it is a light hearted track that really makes you want to ‘Waste The Day’. ‘Sky Submarine’ starts off with what sounds like a sonar beeping, like it would in a real submarine, quirky touches like that make this album stand out. The beat is fast and catchy, the lyrics “You and me we’ve got the same disease” repeated over and over giving the whole song a familiar feel while you can happily bop along to the rhythm of this feel good song.
‘Diamond In The Desert’ has an unusual mix of synth and vocals for the intro that pitches the ears a little off kilter at first. The beat is slower and the overall feel of the track is more subdued. The first single from the album,’Walking In The Moonlight’ is catchy, the track has a sing-a-long chorus that will be ringing through your head long after you’ve finished listening to it, no wonder it’s already enjoying radio airplay, and quite rightly so.
If there’s one thing country songwriters are good at, it’s being able to tell great stories through song lyrics and ‘Mad Hatter’ is a great example of this; using Alice In Wonderland characters as a comparison for real life experiences, you’re left picturing the White Rabbit as you listen, the use of the synths throughout giving a different dimension to the music than her previous albums.
‘Acid Rain’, with it’s heavy guitar grooves, reverb and distorted chords; and the dirty, gritty vibe of ‘Jack Is Back’ will appeal to southern rock fans. They conjure up images of sipping bourbon in a southern bar as the sun goes down, the ‘wooo-wooo’s’ of ‘Acid Rain’ ringing out across the saloon, while the ‘Jack is Back’ lyrics, “I’m knocking down another round, this train gonna come off the tracks, I’m over due for some 80 proof”, referring to a recovering alcoholic who falls off the wagon and starts drinking again.
With a nod back to her country roots, ‘Shelter’ slows down the whole album, the thought provoking, emotionally charged lyrics that are sung right from the heart blend effortlessly with the gentle tone of the slide guitar. ‘Dead Man’s Surprise’ just oozes the country vibe, the shaking of the tambourine, the sound of the fiddle and the bouncy country blues rhythm mixed against the synth keys really carves out the idea of what Sonia Liegh is doing with this album, icing the genres, creating bridges between musical genres and totally embracing every sound that she possibly can.
‘Mind On The Prize’ sees Sonia taking a step into rapping which isn’t something that she’s really known for. Though not entirely sure if the genre suits her style of vocal it’s important to note here that keeping an open mind while listening to this album is necessary as it’s unlike any previous album of hers. We’re not entirely convinced that this track sits well with the rest of the album, though it will appeal to some.
If you’re a hard rock or country purest this probably isn’t the album for you. However, if your taste transcends musical boundaries, then we recommend that you give it a listen. There is no denying the lyrical and musical quality that is displayed in this album. Sonia has shown that she doesn’t want to be pigeon-holed into a particular genre and this album is an emphatic demonstration of her broad ranging talents.
Mad Hatter will be released on 12th January 2018, but is available to pre-order now from iTunes.
Waste The Day
Walking In The Moonlight
Diamond In The Desert
Jack Is Back
Dead Man’s Surprise
Mind On The Prize
Check Sonia out on the following links: