by Mae Ernst
Singer-songwriter Sonia Leigh held her CD release at Little Five Points Variety Playhouse, what could be called the heart of this country rocker’s home turf in Atlanta, GA. Leigh is signed to Zac Brown’s Southern Ground Artists record label and is swiftly making a name for herself, one memorable performance at a time.
The show opened with six-piece band Sol Junky, who exuded strong charisma within the first few notes. The crowd cheerfully approached the stage to sing and dance to the upbeat country tunes. Lead vocalists Clint Ivie and Abby Wren complemented each other flawlessly to create a solid duet among the instrumental interaction, which consisted of guitars, drums, tambourines, and the pleasant southern sounds of a banjo. Unexpected rock melodies and dynamic compositions contributed to the band’s high-energy performance.
Next up—Aspen Countryman. This 12-year-old singer-songwriter was discovered by Sonia Leigh and solidified a spot playing two original songs before the headliner. Countryman may be identified as an early Taylor Swift with her genuine personality, pure appearance, and creative songs that reflect the familiarity of a young girl’s life. However, this rising star should not be categorized. She is paving her own way to a flourishing musical career.
Leigh entered the stage to The Rolling Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil”—a great song choice to introduce her set. She opened with a crowd favorite, “Ain’t Dead Yet.” Her raw performance captivated unmarked territory. At times, her voice was intriguingly rough, as in “Roll in the Hay.” Other times, it was adequately smooth, as in “I Love You,” accompanied by a saxophone. Even so, there was a consistent maturity among the vocals.
Leigh and her band delivered each song with a sense of electrifying empowerment, as if there was no turning back. They were here to uphold the art of true live music. Their connection with the audience was effortless. At one point, different-colored glowsticks were thrown into the crowd and set up a luminous atmosphere within the intimate venue.
Leigh’s solo performance was 100% believable. She seemed to be speaking directly from the heart while calling upon her life’s experiences. One of Leigh’s greatest musical inspirations, her father, made an appearance during the show, along with other fellow artists including Zac Brown. Everyone on stage seemed to have a family-like bond with one another, making the show that much more authentic. Each member was highlighted in a special way, showcasing his or her individuality; that’s not something you get to see every day.
Toward the end of the show, Zac Brown made a statement saying that he couldn’t be more proud of an artist than Sonia, that she is blowing people away at each performance of her tour. Based upon the reaction among fans and supporters that night, they clearly agreed with Brown’s assessment of this thriving artist.
For more about Sonia Leigh, visit her website at www.sonialeigh.com
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