Just Good Music

Headlights & Other Constellations

Stir Edith Piaf, Exene Cervenka, bluegrass and the Beatles in a gently bubbling cauldron of sound, and you've got Headlights and Other Constellations, the newest album from Sonya Hunter. Out April 1998 on Moll Records, Germany, and in the U.S. on Honey Do Music, Headlights and Other Constellations is Sonya Hunter's first North American release since Favorite Short Stories, her critically acclaimed debut album.

A cover illustration by San Francisco artist Michael Wertz hints of the whimsical, well-crafted music within. Guest players include heralded trombonist Marty Wehner (Tony Toni Tone, Mingus Amungus) trumpeter Jon Birdsong, (recently toured with Beck and Victoria Williams,) and Michael Holt of the Mommyheads on electric piano. Regulars in Sonya's band make up the rhythm section: stand-up bassist Dan Seamans (formerly of New Klezmer Trio) and drummers Dan Foltz (Linda Perry, Giant Trio) and Dave Mihaly. Singer-songwriters Jane Hardaway (of Me Jane) and Alice Bierhorst lend their supporting vocals. Long time musical cohort Erik Pearson rounds out the sound with jangly 12-string and well-placed electric guitar.

Sonya Hunter's diverse influences can be heard throughout Headlights and Other Constellations. The unusual tuning and intricate guitar parts on the melancholic "Know You Want Me" echo her love for African folk music. A hard-driving cover of "Happy Woman Blues" pays tribute to one of Sonya's favorite singer-songwriters, Lucinda Williams. And traces of early Lennon & McCartney rear their pretty head on "Just Good Music."

Pulse Magazine

"San Francisco-based singer/songwriter Sonya Hunter's fragile alto has an appealing childlike quality that lends an almost confessional air to her finely crafted tunes. Her melodies have a subtle, sorrowful pulse, and listening to Hunter sing about lost love and heartbreak is like tuning in on your best friend's most intimate thoughts. On this album, first released by the German Normal label a few years back, Hunter mixes matchless originals like "Wedding" and "Talkin' Sad Eyed Salesgirl Blues" with traditional tunes and folky faves by Dylan ("I'll Be Your Baby Tonight"), Buffy St. Marie ("Johnny Be Fair") and others. The whiskey-soaked arrangements are right out of an Irish pub, with Roxanne Marie's aching accordion a particular delight."
**** J. Poet, Pulse!

E-Online Review (7/14/98)
In the world of pop music, the path to success is usually paved with excess, which may be why San Francisco singer-songwriter Hunter is relatively unknown, despite her abundant talent. Hunter's fragile alto has an appealing child-like quality that lends an almost confessional air to her finely crafted tunes. Her melodies have a subtle, sorrowful pulse and on Headlights, her fourth album, Hunter's disconsolate explorations are backed by some of the Bay Area's best jazz players. Their expert chops and inventive arrangements perfectly complement Hunter's understated anguish with odd meters and syncopations--keeping the focus on Hunter's elegant lyrics and unadorned vocals.

Hunter is a survivor of the late-'80s SF nuevo folk-rock moment that brought you Barbara Manning and less notable types, most of them then signed to Heyday Records. It was a good moment and then it passed; now I can't remember most of those once-liked bands to save my life. But Hunter slips back onto the ears like the nicest pair of fuzzy muffs. In a slightly more indie-rock way. She's got Lucinda Williams' plainspoken ability to knock you off you feet. (She covers that performer's "Happy Woman Blues," and very well.) There's nothing overtly special about her voice, yet you could listen to it forever, especially when she's singing songs as affectlessly dead-on as "Deepest Well" or "Went Her Way." The opening track is not just a gem, but its title could stand as Hunter's motto: "Just Good Music." This is Hunter's first US release since her Heyday debut Favorite Short Stories nearly a decade ago; the three German-label albums she recorded in between are starting to merit a serious used-store expedition.
--Dennis Harvey


1 just good music

i'm looking forward to the day
when it's just good music its got nothing to do with you
the mood it conveys wilI rise above all
the love we ever knew
but for now these harmonies are drenched in memories
i'm looking forward to the day when your friends are just people
people that i'd like to talk to
we'll have something to say
something perfectly engaging and nothing to do with you
the day wilI come i know when the radio
won't get in the way of my good mood
and everywhere i go i'll turn the volume up
and let the music play and never even think about you
but for now that slow steady 3/4
is a song that plays no more

2 shiny escalator

shiny escalator making it's way
through level after level of pleasant shopping days
merchandise stacked up in bountiful rows
delerious spenders can take it all home
it's a hunger hard to kill just ends up in land filI
now i feel a bit uneasy as i walk into the store
is it the shrink wrapped goods or the have nots at the door
the piped in music or is it the way
some far off voice says have a nice day
well my soul's in need of some of that
money can't buy repair
get me out of here

(Top of Listing)
3 deepest well

head hung low at the foot of the bed
words to bring me back unsaid
no one's fault but blameful stiII
for simple needs unfulfilled
why does love have to be so hard to hold
it's slippin' through my hands i can't stand to see it go
cause you're the prettiest jewel my eyes have ever seen
you're the deepest well my heart has ever dreamed
I can't weigh your love with a scale
measure your pain follow your trail
this silence puts me in a bind
a prison of my own design
no right or wrong no quick answers
to times cold spelI we surrender

4 going north

onto the bridge and headin up
that highway 1 i know and love
got my guitar and a pair of boots
don't need much more for this northern move
gonna sleep in sacilea's barn take a trip to nonesuch farm
on a moon lit ride in a car we'lI rediscover the stars
sebastopol you'll never know
the things i've seen the wheres I've been
but then i've missed your simpleness
to the shady grove blackberry row
these city streets
don't smell so sweet
the air's too cold
my flowers wont grow
first tractor ride at 29
now it's in my bones I'm goin' home

5 happy woman blues written by lucinda wiliams

(Top of Listing)
6 stars

this room of yours is the brightest cave i've ever seen
there's wild boars in the phone when it rings
better times are stored somewhere beneath this bed
a way to make you smile is swirlin round my heavy head
don't forget to laugh 'cause
there's something funny about this tangle in our hearts
and i see a lot of stars
people will pass through the careless slippery day
it takes a lot to really want someone to stay
the city's big no matter how many people you know
you feel lost in the same damn place you always go
don't forget to laugh 'cause theres something funny
about this tangle in our hearts when i open my eyes
i see a lot of stars in our sky
i see a big moon hanging high
i see a lot of stars in our sky
i'm talking in circles with you again
but they're round and smooth and just enough weight
they're gaining momentum
it's gonna push me through
these hards times and help me see
somewhere between my cutting doubts and your belief

7 know you want me

here before me eyes soulful green open arms
he plays the heartstrings sounds pretty good
i want this to be a calm kind of love
turbulent seas i've had enough but now i'm swimming in the deep blue water
looking hard for the hand that's offered
you know i want it today to know you want me know you
running out of things to say to show you want me show you
i'll sabotage the whole thing to show you want me show you
if i don't lighten the claim to know you want me
know you want me know you want too
like an angel here before us strong but fragile
sings a chorus
i want this to be a calm kind of love
well are my fears unfounded schemes
and if so does my charm redeem
well wise folks say don't give it all away but
Its no secret i've got a weakness
well here before me well and able
put good meal out on the table
but what's this anger welling up
inside i wonder what's this hunger

8 went her way

was a woman headed west
west to catch up with her muse
bold and strong and talented had a lot of things to do
landed here in our home
found a place down the road
went her way went her way so glad we met
wasn't more than a month or so
heard about somebody missing
disappeared along the coast left a lot of people guessing
did she fall or was it man
always seems to be some man
went her way went her way the wild water
i sing this song in honor of
one i hardly got to know
i'd like to think of her somewhere
welI beyond the undertow
but never knowing how or why
makes for such a strange goodbye
went her way went her way the wild water
9 stop the sun, stop the moon (interlude)

10 my heart breaks

my smiling face will
not coax you lure or land you back in my arms
my saving grace wil not suddenly appear
and keep our faltering love from harm
cuz we said goodbye and i'm over the
shock but not past the misery
on this side it seems more like breakin' down
than breakin' up to me
no ugly scenes no returned rings
don't own a poison pen
make no mistake
my heart breaks with the best of them
a goodbye kiss on your have-to-do list
yes you treat it so par for the course
a few shared tears would have softened the blow
but you show no signs of remorse
i've got heart break back ache fever last night
it's showin round my eyes
meanwhile you breathe a sigh of relief
and hurry on back to your life
now this might sound suspiciously cheerful
for the way you know i feel
but i want dancin' shoes while i'm singing the blues
i will swing on this pain till it heals

11 bicycle

(Top of Listing)
out the door into the evening pedals under shaky feet
i'm goin down to that old restaurant
don't know if i can eat
it's been so long since we've spoken
car door quick swerve
second gear and into coastin'
lock her up get the nerve
on my bicycle
used to visit dad on sundays he had a bike there for me
handle bars long as my arms
and a cool banana seat i'd pedal endless figure eights
head swimming with hopeful thoughts
hidden treasures parents back together
make up songs on the spot
on my bicycle
skirt the edge of town
slice the midnight air
skirt the edge of town
slice the midnight air
old metallic brown
you don't hurt the air
such a way to get from point a to b
break into a sweat
keep it rollin keep it rollin
one more hill home
france and germany denmark spain
between the sidewalk and the street
smooth paved well-travelled bicycle lanes
that's what this city needs
yes i've burned my share of oil
said my share of mean words
but its not too late to cut back
heading home from such a civil evening
think i'm on a bright new path

(Top of Listing)

CD cat.# (n-160 ) $13.99
To Place an order, note Title and cat. #

Security Enabled Browsers

Non-Secure Browsers
CALL TOLL FREE 800-611-4698

Return To Artist Page
copyright © 1994-98 Harmony Ridge Music, El Granada, CA, USA
for more information contact hrmusic@rahul.net