Thursday, July 28, 2011

Sonia Leigh, "My Name Is Money"

Songwriter:  Sonia Leigh

Country superstar Brad Paisley put his cleverness to good use with his 2005 hit, "Alcohol."  With that left-of-center composition, he played the role of a character who could "make anybody pretty," or "make you believe any lie."  Singer-songwriter Sonia Leigh, signed to Zac Brown's Southern Ground label, utilizes a similar personification technique with "My Name Is Money," in which the so-called "root of all evil" is given a voice of its own.

With a gritty, attitude-driven vocal performance, Sonia makes a series of bold, brash declarations of what she - "Money" - is capable of.  "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 'em all."  She may seem to be talking big, but we well know that every one of those boastful assertions is true.  "My Name Is Money" displays a level of poetic ingenuity and cleverness that sets it far above most of what's coming out of Nashville these days.

Smart songwriting meets a dynamic performance on this track.  Sonia seems to revel in the unique destructive power that her character "Money" possesses.  Hearing her vocal delivery is like a sonic equivalent to watching a film actor portray a character that you just "love to hate."  She's backed by a catchy, country-rock arrangement that rocks and twangs in all the right places, working together with her raspy vocal to bring the track to life.

Obviously, this single might as well not even exist as far as mainstream country radio is concerned, but the fact that such sharp material is often rejected speaks volumes for the reason why country radio has become such a boring listen.  When you've been overexposed to the bland and uninspired fare that often passes for country music today, a refreshing talent like Sonia Leigh is a breath of fresh air indeed.

(Scores are given on a scale of 1 to 10)