Throw a stick in Durango, and you're likely to hit a member of a bluegrass band. That's according to singer-songwriter Sunny Gable, who says that although she's not a bluegrass musician herself, the sound has definitely rubbed off on her.
Gable's a natural storyteller. Her latest release, Little Things, comprises twenty minutes of self-recorded gems about staying on the bright side of life during tough times.
Raised outside of Chicago, Gable started reading music when she was four and grew up playing classical violin. In high school, she learned guitar and began singing at open mics; in college, she studied viola, composition, writing and recording.
Over the years, she's played in a number of Durango bands, including Gypsy swing act La Cote and Sunny & the Whiskey Machine, which formed in 2016. As her namesake band moved on, she decided to continue making music under her own name, recording her first EP, Audience of One, last November. Now, after being cooped up during quarantine, she's released Little Things.
Gable lives with her husband and four children, who range from twenty months to twenty years. They raise most of their own food, and between her baby's naps and tending to animals and gardens, Gable writes songs. When she had time, she'd play live. But now, with a child with Down syndrome who is high-risk for respiratory infections, Gable has been staying home. She wants to keep her family safe.
Still, without the pandemic, Gable doubts Little Things would exist.
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"Like many artists, I slowly came to terms with the fact that the changes we were seeing were not temporary," she says. "So in the spirit of forging on despite difficult circumstances, I decided to record and produce an EP of songs that were written right before and during quarantine. I’ve lost most of my income — luckily, my husband is still employed — so I decided to try my hand at producing my own album this time around."
The title track, "Little Things," was written the day after singer-songwriter legend John Prine died.
"It was a sad day for so many in the songwriting community, and got me thinking about how quickly our legacy can be cut short and our friends and family left with a gaping hole in their heart," Gable says. "This song is a reflection of living in the moment and appreciating life for what it is and what we have."
The second song, "Seventeen," looks back at the simplicity of her life when she was just seventeen, and how, even though things felt rough at the time, they weren't so bad after all. It's a lesson that she now applies to her current struggles, Gable explains.
The other songs on the album detail the difficulties of accepting the end of relationships, the struggles of dating (she wrote "Love Me Not" for her daughter, who was dealing with the toils of romance), and a song about human connectivity.
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"The album is both a reflection of needing a purpose when everything that was planned suddenly got canceled and a desire to create something positive and uplifting in such dark times," she says.
And she's not through making new music now that Little Things is out.
"I’ve started recording on my next EP and expect it to be out in late fall of 2020," Gable says. "As long as I’m home and unable to tour, I plan to keep recording and releasing music. I’ve got quite the backlog of original music, and would love to get it all recorded while I continue to write and record new material, as well."
Hear Little Things at Sunny Gable's website.