Emi Sunshine is a very energetic and charismatic performer and you can feel that energy streaming through your speakers as well as if you'd seen her live. "Little Weeping Willow" sets the tone with a subject that is much more mature than what you would expect from a 10 year old girl as with all the other songs she writes and picks out to sing here. She holds nothing back in tracks like "Mathew", "Blue For You" and "My Time To Fly" and the title track about the dust bowl, "Black Sunday '35", gives me chills and goose bumps. So does "Sweet Lillie", a song that makes me think about a young Dolly Parton. If I am to make any more comparisons, which I never prefer to do, I can also mention Brenda Lee. This girl can stand to be compared with the best, but has her own very unique and distinct style of an eclectic mix of roots music. Emi Sunshine has everything of a seasoned performer in her with the essence of Appalachian mountain mist and tragedy, but also gratitude towards God for her mom, for her life and everything around her. She knows how to convey the soul of America to the listener. The entire album is history in the making in a double sense.
Production wise the album is laid back with a very acoustic, unplugged feel to it, letting the songs and the vocals take their rightful place in the spotlight. Looking at the cover you can see shiny, burnt orange framing a picture of a whirling dust-saturated wind coming at you. That is exactly what Emi Sunshine is. She comes at you with doom and gloom and exalting positive news at the same time. She knows how to tell a story, whether it is sad or joyful. Without explanations, Emi knows what life is without having to say a word: she sings it instead. If there ever was an album that wins on being listened to as is, song by song. this is it. You can buy it one digital file at a time, but might as well buy it as a whole, because you will end up wanting more - ending up with all the songs anyway.
Emi Sunshine has already performed as a guest artist on the Grand Ole Opry and the Ryman several times and been featured on the nationwide TV broadcast the Today morning show. She is going to sign her album "Black Sunday '35" tonight after the Grand Ole Opry show.
Shelley Ridge for Country Music News International Magazine