It’s a rare treat to see an artist who is destined for a bigger stage in such an intimate venue, but Sonia Leigh is one such delight. Her presence channels both Lissie and Melissa Etheridge, self assured in her delivery, without being arrogant. Meanwhile musically it swings from the more rock and roll stylings of Little Fish, the country pop sound of Sugarland, to the newer rock-country of Brandi Carlile.
Of course it’s easy to make references to other artists, but what makes Sonia Leigh unique is the fact that whilst the influences and similarities are there, what she delivers is at the same time totally unique. Opener My Name Is Money sets the tempo from the word go, fusing bluesy guitar sounds with her husky vocals, whilst follow up Put It In Your Pocket moves things towards the sweet pop sound, creating a perfect summer anthem. Elsewhere Fairytale Dream shows that despite the rocking beats and catchy hooks Sonia also has a softer side.
It’s this ability to mix up sounds and emotions which prove no matter which direction Sonia’s music takes her, she’s able to execute it with precision. For me though it’s a toss up between the atmospheric When We Are Alone which created such an ear worm the song has been on repeat in my head for more than a week, and the more downbeat but poignant Willing To Fly which so perfectly captures the need to grasp opportunities with both hands that it could easily become an anthem for all the dreamers of the world.
Though she claims to have deliberated about whether to release Booty Call, she doesn’t seem like the kind who’s willing to compromise and this is backed up by a long discussion about the need to support independent artists. When coupled with a near perfect set, it leaves my only hope that she’s able to fill out the larger stages that she deserves to visit, without the need for label backing.