Sonia Leigh — “My Name is Money”

Juli Thanki | July 27th, 2011

sonialeighHow many country songs are about money, or, more often, the lack thereof? In Sonia Leigh’s new single, that root of all evil finally gets to speak for itself. Not surprisingly, it reveals itself to be, well, kind of a jerk.

Leigh, signed to Zac Brown’s Southern Ground record label, is perhaps one of the year’s most dynamic new talents. The first single from album 1978 December (due out in late August) is one of her strongest songs, an accessible country rock track with a toe-tapping arrangement heavy on twangy guitars. “My Name is Money,” which has Leigh singing from “Money’s” point of view, begins with the boast “I can make a woman weak/I can make a small man stand tall/I can start wars/And I can put an end to them all.” Three minutes of similar assertions (“I can bring you love/But I’m not the settle down kind“), and it’s no wonder why all those songs are about money: besides love, what can drive a person like cash?

Leigh’s voice is deliciously raspy, reminiscent of Mary Gauthier with a dash of Tanya Tucker sass; here, she flawlessly embodies the swaggering—though not untrue—declarations made by the “character” of Money. She’d add some much needed life to country radio, which hasn’t had a voice like hers since Gretchen Wilson burst onto the scene with “Redneck Woman.” “Money,” grittier than your average single from a female singer, might not fit in a playlist brimming with the pretty, hook-heavy pop-country of Lady Antebellum and Taylor Swift, but it’s definitely worth hearing.

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  1. J.R. Journey
    July 27, 2011 at 8:56 pm

    Yes, this is definitely worth hearing. I’ve been interested to hear the artists Zac Brown’s label brought us. Good stuff.

  2. Andrew
    July 27, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    I was very impressed with Sonia when I saw her open for ZBB. And I love her voice.

  3. Ken Morton, Jr.
    July 27, 2011 at 10:28 pm

    I agree that this is probably much too gritty for current mainstream country radio. It’s a very interesting track but a pretty big leap for most programmers who play it safe. I’m somewhat surprised they didn’t go with the mellower but equally strong “1978 December.”

  4. Rick
    July 27, 2011 at 11:15 pm

    To me Sonia’s vocals make me think of what JoDee Messina would probably sound after an extended bender where she lived for days on nothing but beer and cigarettes! (lol) Actually it does seem more like a cross between JoDee and Bonnie Raitt, to a point.

    This is a fun song and Sonia’s loose and even somewhat sloppy vocal style seems to work well with the instrumentation and production. I agree that Sonia’s vocals are probably too rough for Top 40 Airhead Country radio. In fact I think the intentional lack of polish and glossy sheen would cause most radio station programmers to take a pass on this one within seconds! On the other hand if radio did spin it I think the listeners would respond in a positive manner.

    I’m going to see Sonia live tomorrow night as part of a “New Artists” concert which also features Eden’s Edge and Ty Stone. I bought the ticket just to see Eden’s Edge but now will stick around for Sonia’s set as well. Apart from the hassle of parking at “Downtown Disney” in Anaheim, it should be a fun night!

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