Poetic Memory: Sonny and the Sunsets (List)

San Francisco-based Sonny & The Sunsets are preparing for the release of their new album. Out on August 31st through Fat Possum Records, the aptly titled Tomorrow Is Alright envelopes the listener in its soothing melodies and sun-soaked guitars, washing away even the smallest hint of pessimism.

Frontman Sonny Smith was kind enough to give us a glimpse of the influences that help him create perfect tunes for the endless summer romantic in all of us. Check out his Poetic Memory below.

Listen: “Too Young to Burn” by Sonny and The Sunsets

Amy Goodman: Every morning I turn on Democracy Now and get inspired to find out the truth. I’m constantly reminded how the big corporations, the government, and the mainstream media are duping us.

Chris Burden: My favorite artist. I have a picture of him crucified on a Volkswagen bug. He’s intense, childlike, funny, and dark at the same time.

New Day With New Possibilities: A print by Chris Johanson, another favorite artist. I have it in my bedroom so I see it every morning when I wake up. It’s a great etching.

Leaves of Grass: I always have this book around. [Walt] Whitman wanted to meld into all things. I just try to zone out on the possibility of embracing everything into myself.

The Hound Blog: I visit this WFMU DJ’s archive of his shows but I don’t even listen to the music; I just peruse the list of all the songs he’s ever played. I read the titles like you’d read a poem. The song titles one after another inspire me.

Woody Guthrie: I have his book on my mantle. I look at his face about every day. I liked that he was so prolific, just swimming through songs, swimming through poetry and stories. He reminds me to keep looking for stories and ideas and songs.

Tim DeChristopher: This guy put it all on the line. He stood up to big business, threw his life against the big machine. He’s a hero in my book.

Kelley Stoltz: Kelley is my friend and in my band now too. I sometimes observe him navigating his way through life: friendly, funny, positive. I get influenced by my friends — for better or worse — sometimes more than anything.

John Dwyer: Another friend. I go to see his band live and let myself be blown away!

The Ocean: I look at it every day from my window. I once almost drowned in it, which I think about a lot. And I like to swim in it and be at the edge of it and look out at it and dunk my head in it and run around with my son by it and play tunes by it.

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