Sideshow – EmiSunshine and the Rain

East Tennessee’s EmiSunshine has come a very long way in a relatively short time. So too, the fact that she kicked off her career at an extraordinarily young age, is a testament to her talent. She began writing songs with her mother, Alisha Hamilton, at age five, and subsequently started performing professionally at the age of nine, gaining national exposure when she made her bow on NBC’s Today Show.

That was followed by numerous other network appearances as well as a performance at the Grand Ole Opry. It brought her to the attention of any number of producers, songwriters and record company reps, and in the years since, she’s enjoyed working relationships with the likes of Jim Lauderdale, Vicky McGehee, Kyle Jacobs, Leslie Satcher, Marla Cannon-Goodman, Matraca Berg, and Bootsy Collins, among the many. In addition, she’s headlined shows throughout the country, and also opened for such stars as Loretta Lynn, Rhonda Vincent, Vince Gill, Tanya Tucker, and others.

So far, she’s released ten albums under her own aegis and made guest appearances on recordings by several other artists as well. Her music shares insights and observations that are telling yet true, given that they convey themes having to do with love, loss, self-esteem, diversity, addiction, independence, and domestic abuse, all serious subjects that clearly require an astute intellect.

Her new album, Sideshow, finds her diversifying her approach to a certain extent, taking optimism into account by projecting it through the lens of her own personal perspective. The songs range from the playful punch of the title track, and the assertive stride of songs such as Off the Rails and Pine Box, to the meditative musings of What’s Best For Me, and ultimately, the wistful reflection immersed in the beautiful balladry of the song Gold Digger

Her ensemble, The Rain, is an able bluegrass band, but the songs are best defined by both meaning and messaging. What’s Best For Me reflects Emi’s own down-home demeanor. The title track shares a tale about life on the road. Scars and Wings talks about the need to overcome hurt and disappointment by finding a way to rise above it all. So too, Off the Rails speaks of summoning strength, especially when it’s not always evident that it’s there to be found. 

At only 19 years old, EmiSunshine not only qualifies as a seasoned artist, but a highly accomplished one as well. With Sideshow, her skill and abilities are again, as always, on full display.

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About the Author

Lee Zimmerman

Lee Zimmerman has been a writer and reviewer for the better part of the past 20 years. He writes for the following publications — No Depression, Goldmine, Country Standard TIme, Paste, Relix, Lincoln Center Spotlight, Fader, and Glide. A lifelong music obsessive and avid collector, he firmly believes that music provides the soundtrack for our lives and his reverence for the artists, performers and creative mind that go into creating their craft spurs his inspiration and motivation for every word hie writes.