EmiSunshine And The Rain Achieve Harmony With New Album FAMILY WARS
Rain and sunlight are essential to life. True to that fact of nature, EmiSunshine and The Rain have been growing beautiful music since 2011.
Hailing from the mountains of East Tennessee, this close-knit family band is known for their unique blend of Country, Bluegrass, Americana, Blues and Gospel. The aptly titled album, "Family Wars," is their most personal to date, with help from legendary Nashville record producer Tony Brown.
EmiSunshine's mature lyrics, powerful voice and masterful ukulele playing converge as never before, on "Family Wars," with songs that cover such heady subjects as family strife, domestic violence, political corruption, love for America, the inevitability of mass violence in a polarized society, and more.
"The album is about working through different types of conflicts," Emi said. "I'm just voicing my opinion about what I see going on in the world, but hopefully in a way that won't offend. I'm looking at problems and trying to make something beautiful out of them."
The title track is a disturbing and yet darkly humorous portrait of a dysfunctional family, sung from the perspective of a young woman determined to find a better life. ("Sister's out here livin' in sin, Grandma's on the dope again, and no one speaks to Daddy any more...")
"I've been around a lot of different families, considering that I grew up in a small town," Emi said. "I wanted to write about what I see people struggle with, and how you don't have to be held down by other people's mistakes."
Indeed, "Family Wars," the album, is about all kinds of mistakes, some of which can be fatal.
"Scarecrow" tells the story of a woman's revenge on an abusive husband. "Politicians Dance" is a cynical look at elected leaders who take advantage of their people. "Jonas Black" is a haunting reflection on mass murders and a warning about more to come. ("It's happened before, it'll happen again, another nightmare is just around the bend...")
Emi teamed up with her older brother, John Hamilton, for the bittersweet duet "Oh, Caroline," about a young woman's graveside conversation with her brother's ghost, ultimately revealing a dark family secret.
Despite its overall somberness, the album strikes an optimistic tone with "Same Boat," a song that offers hope for the future, if more people could just learn to respect others with whom they disagree. Meanwhile, "Crimson Moon" is a lovely expression of self-confidence sung by a young woman who knows she will be fine, despite the end of a romance. (Yeah, I'm better off, all alone, a promise ring on my hand is still just a stone.")
Like any healthy family, EmiSunshine and The Rain know how to give and take, working together for the good of the whole. Though "Family Wars" is a collaborative effort, the ten songs and one bonus track are stripped to their bare musical elements, keeping the focus on Emi's powerful vocals. Besides Emi, the band consists of her father, Randall Hamilton, on upright bass, bass guitar and vocals; her brother, John Hamilton, on acoustic guitar, mandolin and vocals; and "Uncle" Bobby Hill on drums.
During the recording of "Family Wars," several guest artists lent their talents. Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Jim Lauderdale co-wrote and provides vocals on the upbeat song, "There's Got To Be More." The McCrary Sisters sing background harmonies on both "Crimson Moon" and the bonus remix of "Jonas Black," with Jeff Taylor (The Time Jumpers) on accordion. IBMA award-winner Justin Moses adds fiddle on "Oh, Caroline." Kyle Jacobs co-wrote and plays piano on the exquisitely beautiful "Meanwhile In America," about freedom-those who have it, and those who seek it.
"This is a song of thanksgiving for living in America," Emi said. "It's not conservative or liberal; it's about appreciating what we have in this country, without being boastful."
Rolling Stone once listed EmiSunshine among "10 new country artists you need to know." For anyone who has never heard her, there is no better introduction to this precociously talented teenager and her equally brilliant family than "Family Wars."
"Family Wars" is available through most digital platforms and at theemisunshine.com.
1. Family Wars
2. There's Got to Be More (feat. Jim Lauderdale)
4. Oh, Caroline (feat. John Hamilton)
5. Crimson Moon (with The McCrary Sisters)
6. Jonas Black
7. Politicians Dance
8. Same Boat
9. The Ghost of Hank Williams
10. Meanwhile In America
11. Jonas Black (bonus, with The McCrary Sisters