Sunny Ledfurd - "Greatest Hits 2003-2009"
By: Matt Bjorke
The first thing you need to know about Sunny Ledfurd is that he's not mainstream country music. The second thing to know is that he is country. But like any artist who's trying to carve out his own niche, Sunny Ledfurd makes music that is real to him, even if he can sing any song like a human jukebox. With his trusty acoustic guitar, Sunny Ledfurd started recording his own songs in the early part of the 2000’s decade and after building up a loyal fan base, he made album after album. Rather than have new fans buy each of his older recordings, he decided to release Greatest Hits 2003-2009 to give them an easy introduction to his brand of country music, which feels like an amalgam of Sublime and some Jack Johnson-ish tunes with Texas country music like Charlie Robison (who is a close vocal cousin to Ledfurd).
The songs are sing-songy with lyrics that will speak to fans who like their music raw like David Allen Coe and honest like many Texas artists or Ledfurd’s label mates Brantley Gilbert and Colt Ford. In fact, Colt Ford joins Sunny on the track “Nickel Size Hail (& The Damaging Wind).” The song features one of Colt’s most inspired vocals while the song really moves from ‘laid-back’ to roadhouse country rocker after Colt does his thing. The harmonica solo in the song is brilliant a la Mickey Raphael and that helps make this an interesting slice of alt-rock inspired country music. “Pontoon Boat” (listen here) is meant to be nothing more than a fun summertime party anthem and it delivers in that context. “I Don’t Remember” is a song that finds Ledfurd singing about a drunken night while “I Sent Her Flowers” is a dark song sung over a jovial beat and honestly it’s not all that removed from Jaron and the Long Road To Love’s “Pray for You” in terms of sentiment. It may not be ‘Christian’ to sing or talk like Sunny Ledfurd does on this track but it’s a song that is relatable to many.
“Place To Stay” is a song about a guy who would do anything for the friends he has, including lending them a room at his home. The song interpolates a lyric of “Paradise City” from Guns & Roses in the chorus but it’s a clever way to use two lines from a classic song to show what true friendship is about. “The Reasons Why” and “Adderal” are both tunes that wouldn’t be out of place on a Shooter Jennings record while “Lost At The Lake” is a ballad about a guy who just got kicked out of his place and recalls it as “that’s what life is like when you get lost at the lake.”
Greatest Hits 2003-2009 is an album that finds Sunny Ledfurd part of a burgeoning scene that is focused on making music that touches on multiple genres but is based in real life. This scene is more ‘tuned in’ (or appealing) to young, mostly male fans that typically enjoy party- ready tunes. The real life part of the songs is what ends up making Greatest Hits 2003-2009 country music. Sunny Ledfurd won’t win any singing contests but he uses what he’s got to great effect and has a style of music that is undoubtedly different from what is typically released to mainstream audiences.