Avery Sunshine - Twenty Sixty Four (2017)

Avery Sunshine
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Avery*Sunshine - Twenty Sixty Four

Purpose, passion and positivity-----those events don’t equate to the Holy Trinity, but if during one’s lifetime you can get ahold of one, much less all three, it’s practically paradise on Earth. Such a level of bliss is so transformative and so life-affirming that one can’t help but to share it with the world, which is exactly what Avery*Sunshine demonstrates throughout her radiant sophomore effort, Twenty Sixty Four.

Avery*Sunshine - Twenty Sixty Four

Purpose, passion and positivity-----those events don’t equate to the Holy Trinity, but if during one’s lifetime you can get ahold of one, much less all three, it’s practically paradise on Earth. Such a level of bliss is so transformative and so life-affirming that one can’t help but to share it with the world, which is exactly what Avery*Sunshine demonstrates throughout her radiant sophomore effort, Twenty Sixty Four.

In the couple of years since her acclaimed 2015 debut, The Sunroom, Avery has been reaping the whirlwind: not only has the former choir director/pianist earned nominations for Soul Train and BET Centric Awards, Sunshine has toured the globe and earned billings with some of the brightest stars in the music universe (Anthony Hamilton, B.B. King, Babyface, Will Downing). Soul titans such as Smokey Robinson and Aretha Franklin have solicited her skills, and she’s become a favorite new artist by the likes of Boy George and Patti LaBelle. She’s also become the wife of her friend and long-time collaborator, Dana “Big Dane” Johnson, so it’s not at all surprising that Avery’s burgeoning successes have influenced, and enhanced, the music featured on Twenty Sixty Four. Live instrumentation, a variety of collaborators (Frank McComb, Mr. Talkbox, Eric Roberson, Carvin Haggins) and yes, even honeymoon bliss, permeate nearly every aspect.

Still, there’s a vast well of emotions Avery is drawing from and they aren’t always joyful; lush, lovelorn moments that will remind Gen-Xers of yesteryear, such as the upbeat, see-saw breakup lament, “I Just Don’t Know,” the saucy “Come And Do Nothing” (packing his bags, gossiping about his new boo….all before calling him with gumbo on the stove. You’ve been there), and the come-hither, kaleidoscopic “Kiss and Make It Better.” Avery’s vocals throughout are what we’ve come to expect from her live and otherwise: glib, expressive and eloquent in her quest to give voice to all of the raw emotions that fuel our relationships with the Creator, one another and ourselves. She’ll acknowledge life’s difficulties, but not without offering supplication or, pun intended, the sunshine after the storm (“Prayer Room”). Aware that even the happiest among us have trying times, Avery offers reassurance in “Jump,” “Sweet Hour of Prayer” and “Used Car,” a Betty-Wright-resembling groove that extols the benefits of being well-tuned, test-driven and previously owned…..as long as the parts stay in good working order under the hood.

But where Sunshine’s heart is, ultimately, resides in the love songs with and for her husband. It’s hard not to feel butterflies when Avery proclaims ready to give up her sacred desserts, fashion accessories and everything else just for her man: “I’d give up ice cream just for you, I’d sell all my bags and give away my shoes/I’d give you my happy and take my blues.” “Everything I Got” is syrupy-sweet, but authentic, as she appreciates what little they have individually, but multiplies meaning when shared. The most tender selection, the title track, spells out the year she’s praying to survive through as Mrs. Johnson, wrapping it all up with an emotional snippet of a recording of their ceremony while she and Dana became husband and wife: “The different colors sand is showing that we’re bringing all of these family members together, right? And once joined the bits of sand begin to settle and to mix and you can’t take them apart…..this is the eternity of a family.”

Avery Sunshine’s Twenty Sixty Four is this: three interludes, eleven musical ensembles and a heady blend of modern sass, old-fashioned love and the trademark optimism that her fans have come to adore and expect. Like a relationship, everything all at once might be a bit much…..but partaking of it here and there, like with your boo, is just what you need to get through your day. And night. Highly Recommended

By Melody Charles

 CLICK HERE to listen to Twenty Sixty Four

 
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