Clay Cook; Matt Mangano; Frank Sadler; John Kelton; John Driskell Hopkins
Clay Cook; Matt Mangano; John Driskell Hopkins; Zac Brown
Number of Discs
41m : 31s
Album Notes and Credits
Personnel: Sonia Leigh (vocals, acoustic guitar, percussion); Clay Cook (vocals, acoustic guitar, acoustic 12-string guitar, electric guitar, electric 12-string guitar, lap steel guitar, baritone guitar, piano, Wurlitzer organ, Mellotron); Zac Brown (vocals); Matt Mangano (acoustic guitar); Courtlan Clement (electric guitar); Chris Fryar (drums, percussion).
Audio Mixer: John Kelton.
Recording information: 800 East Studios, Atlanta, GA; Studio 737, Nashville, TN.
Photographer: Bryan Allen .
Although 1978 December is Atlanta-based country singer/songwriter Sonia Leigh's debut national release (discounting the earlier independent disc Run or Surrender), she is anything but a neophyte, a point she makes on both the first and last tracks of the album. The leadoff song, "Ain't Dead Yet," is a statement of purpose full of country truisms sung by someone who's been around the block a few times; the closing ballad that is the title song makes it clear that the singer was born in December 1978, making her 32 on the album's release date, and that she "came out screaming at the world/Determined to be heard." In between, Leigh examines a familiar subject matter for a country performer, reflecting on hard drivin', hard drinkin', and hard lovin', singing in a throaty alto twang over countrified rock. She is somewhere between a thinking man's Gretchen Wilson and a drinking man's Lucinda Williams, not, perhaps, as honky tonk as Wilson, nor as intellectual as Williams, but merging their approaches into a style that has potential in the country charts. It's no surprise that she's a prot?g?e of Zac Brown, who co-produced the album, which has been released on his Southern Ground Artists label, as well as playing on it, co-writing a couple of songs, and singing a duet on "Roaming." Like Brown, Leigh has genuine roots in both rock and country, and she also brings in a folk sensibility that makes the guest appearance of Indigo Girls' Amy Ray on "Virginia" a good match. That combination also may spread her appeal beyond country fans. ~ William Ruhlmann