Sonny Smith boasts an eclectic repertoire that includes a large, diverse catalog with Sonny And The Sunsets, a musical, and perhaps most notably his 100 Records project, for which he wrote and recorded 200 songs for 100 made-up bands. His forthcoming Dan Auerbach-produced solo album for Auerbach’s Easy Eye Sound label, Rod For Your Love, strips down his practice to its classic rock-inspired bones. Smith’s latest single “Burnin Up” is a twinkly, soulful duet with fellow old soul Angel Olsen. In its video, Smith and Olsen play two partners driving in separate cars, singing the same song of longing. Some words from Smith:
I wrote the song after hearing Tracy Chapman’s Fast Car on the radio while on tour. Not that the song has anything to do with it. But that’s how that happened. If you listen closely there’s a similar little guitar type riff. Then asking Angel to duet , that was a no brainer cause I really like the way she sings, so that’s how that happened. The video was also kind of tied to the 80’s in that after the song was all recorded I was watching Springsteen’s “I’m on fire” video and felt a kind of kinship in a way, ‘burnin up/I’m on fire’ and all that, and I liked his car scene. John sayles did that. I have this white cadillac I bought off this shifty guy from Vegas named Ronnie Bimbo, and I love this car, so I was thinkin how to have a video with it, and having these two people leaving their homes to drive into the night, just felt real, So Ryan Browne really made that happen, cause we both love fake car scenes from movies, so that’s how that video happened.
And here’s Olsen explaining how she ended up in the video despite her ridiculous touring schedule:
Dear people of the internet,
I’ve been a fan of Sonny’s for a long time now. I was pretty busy traveling when we talked about me being in the vid for the song I sang on, but what can I say? I like the guy. And I don’t mean to be an ass or anything but I don’t want to be in all the videos of the songs I sing on. It’s not always my place.
Maybe it’s still not.
I came home from a trip to Mexico and the director, Ryan Daniel Browne had been writing me and so we planned for him to come to my apartment, explaining it wouldn’t take much of my time to shoot something for ‘Burnin Up’.
Later I realized Ryan not only was a friend and sometimes bandmate of Sonny’s but he had also shot a video I really liked for the band Big Search, and to tell you the truth I liked it so much I went to see the singer play in LA at some warehouse when we were recording my last record: https://vimeo.com/153988048
After putting all this together I trusted him, and what I mean by that is that I trusted his aesthetic. I knew he’d find a way to create something with our images that could be simple and real, and I also knew he had Sonny’s best interest in mind.
I’m always so relieved to realize that the director and the songwriter are old pals. As it should be.
Rod For Your Love tracklist:
01 “Pictures Of You”
05 “Live, Love And Be Free”
06 “Rod For Your Love”
07 “Burnin’ Up”
09 “More Bad Times”
10 “Bores Me To Tears”
Rod For Your Love is out 3/2 on Easy Eye Sound. Pre-order it here.