“Right Here, Right Now”
“Right Here Right Now, is the debut Shining Stone Records CD from Massachusetts-based blues singer Sunny Crownover.
Produced by Duke Robillard, “Right Here, Right Now” showcases Crownover’s stunning voice backed by an all-star cast of musicians, including Duke Robillard on guitar, Bruce Bears on keyboards, Brad Hallen on bass, Mark Teixeira on drums, with a horn section that includes Doug James on sax. Multiple Blues Music Award nominee Sugar Ray Norcia also guests on harmonica.
Those who first heard Sunny Crownover in her earlier collaborations with Duke Robillard, such as her “Introducing Sunny and Her Joy Boys” CD in 2009 or Duke’s “Stomp! The Blues Tonight” and “Tales from the Tiki Lounge” albums, which were exercises in mostly vintage jazz and blues, and classic pop, her vocals on “Right Here, Right Now” will be a revelation. From the opening track, “Oh Yes I Will,” Sunny is right in the pocket, her vocals dripping with blues and soul on a song that could have come from the classic Stax era in Memphis, with Duke even channeling the great Steve Cropper on some funky guitar grooves.
“This CD was over a year in the making,” recalls Sunny Crownover about the pre-planning, songwriting and recording sessions that yielded the new disc. “On the ‘Sunny and Her Joy Boys’ album, I focused on emulating that pure, refined, and slightly restrained vocal style to fit the instrumentation. Then, on ‘Stomp!’, the tracks that I’m on showed a little more diversity in the vocals, still with a hint of that style from the jump blues era. So, a lot of people think that’s what my vocal style is all about. Duke and I decided it was time for me to do a solo CD and to go back to my beginnings with contemporary blues/roots and R&B, which is more of what folks in Austin (where she spent her early singing years) knew me for; and also what people in New England first knew me for when I arrived on the scene as a vocalist in the band 2120 South Michigan Avenue.”
“Producing and playing on this album has been incredibly fun and gratifying for me,” says Duke Robillard in the album’s liner notes. “When Sunny first spoke to me about wanting to do a contemporary blues album, I was not sure it was the right path for her to take after recording more traditional jazz, classic pop and early R&B with her. It didn’t take long before we realized it was a perfect fit for her versatile sound.”
When it came time to assemble songs for â€œRight Here, Right Now, Duke took a then unique tack of looking to social media to solicit some of the new material. “Our first try was to request new blues related tunes from my many Facebook musician friends,” says Robillard. “The idea was a new and fruitful one and we soon had several tunes that fit Sunny’s style and personality. We recorded that first batch of songs and realized we had the beginnings of a really good CD.”
“My next step was to contact my new friend in Nashville, Gary Nicholson, who had mentioned writing together sometime upon meeting. Gary, besides being a great artist in his own right, is one of the most amazing songwriters of our day. It would be an understatement to say that the chemistry was there. In two afternoons we managed to write basically half the album and tailor the tunes to Sunny perfectly. I left for Nashville with orders to write a tune called “Hi-Heels and Home Cookin’,” that being two things Sunny was known for amongst friends. And write one we did! Sunny came through with a sultry and sassy performance that is one of the most fun tunes on the album, done in a mock twenties blues fashion but appropriately updated.”
The Robillard/Nicholson collaboration yielded four songs, plus one solo composition by each of them. Added to the tunes solicited from Duke’s Facebook friends, including one from long-time buddy and former Roomful of Blues bandmate Al Basile (“I Might Just Change My Mind”), as well as others from LA-by-way of Texas blueswoman Brenda Burns (“One Woman Man”) and several others. Right Here, Right Now came together in a “perfect storm” of artist, songs and musicians. Some of the CD’s other musical highlights include the rollicking Chicago blues of “Roll Me Daddy,” the funky, rockin’ “Cook in Your Kitchen,” the cautionary, horn-fueled tale, “Warned” and the beautiful title track love ballad, “Right Here, Right Now.”
“We really liked the idea that some of the tunes came from local Boston songwriters,” says Crownover. “In some cases I knew within a few notes that I absolutely had to record them; a couple of examples are ‘Love Me Right’ and ‘Trust Your Lover.’ The ones we selected all were chosen to really give people a chance to hear a more contemporary, bluesy, soulful side of my voice. A huge amount of work went into this, with the aim of producing something that has a wide appeal and showcases a more contemporary, bluesy and powerful side of my vocals.”
For fans of Blues, R&B and a good time, “Right Here, Right Now” is your ticket.
Here is what the critics have to say about Right Here, Right Now:
“Like they say, everything’s bigger in Texas and the bluesy vocals of songstress Sunny Crownover are no exception. On her latest release, Right Here Right Now, Sunny belts out the tunes with a strength that shows this girl was clearly formed from one of God’s music moldsâ€¦ I say BUY IT if you like good blues, jazz and a little bit of everything in between.”
-Music News Nashville
“Sunny Crownover is known for her sultry interpretations of classic swing, jazz and blues tunesâ€¦ this CD presents Sunny Crownover in a whole new light. â€¦If you are a fan of Sunny Crownover, or indeed Duke Robillard, you can’t afford to let this album pass you by. A big thumbs up from this reviewer.”
-BLUES & RHYTHM (UK)
“Crownover steps up to the mic with a load of blue eyed soul â€¦Here’s a white girl that has real soul that goes deeper than just performance. Well done by a crew that can’t deliver any less.”
– Midwest Record
“Sunny Crownover is mostly known for her scorching interpretations of classic swing, jazz and blues tunes alongside Duke Robillard, who produced this album. With Right Here, Right Now, she broadens her sultry appeal. She has a voice that works as well with new material as it does with the classic material that she’s known forâ€¦this album is full of surprises like that, whether it’s Sunny Crownover’s ability to phrase unpredictably, or the stellar blending of her vocals with the supporting instrumentation, the balance of which is always perfection”
“Crownover’s voice is a joy as always, and the program offers a nice assortment of torchy soul, uptempo blues, classic soul, and even a little bit of trad jazz. Very fun.”
– CD Hotlists (Library Reference)
“For her debut solo effort, she has returned to her blues-based R &B roots with a dynamic and powerful “statement” album entitled “Right Here, Right Now.” Sunny Crownover has scored a big hit with this oneâ€¦ and gets two big thumbs up from us!”
– Nashville Blues Society