Colorado Americana artist Sunny Gable released Contagious on March 20. The album is a continuation of Gable’s quarantine recording sessions, created entirely in her basement studio. “It is a mixture of new songs, written since my last release, and a few songs I’ve been playing with the band for a few years,” says Gable. The project was a team effort for the Colorado native as she collaborated with a few other musicians, including a drummer all the way in Connecticut. “It’s been a real learning experience piecing this album together with other musicians at a safe distance,” says Gable. “But a deeply satisfying one.”
The title track “Contagious” is a statement of what the album is themed around. The connection and energy we give and receive to the universe and the great beyond are elements that heavily influenced Gable’s creative process. Listeners will find notes on her connection to the moon’s phases, finding a deeper connection through love, missing the connection between friends during this isolating time, and much more. Unlike her previous releases, Contagious pushed Gable to step away from her typical deep folksy, singer-songwriter style.
Gable says while focused energy played a large part in the creation of the album, her intuition was just as important for the end product. The album’s topics were ideas that Gable heavily thinks about and experiences for herself. “This album is a culmination of many musical ideas melding into one group of songs that may surprise our fans,” says Gable. On top of the album release, her single “Until We Meet Again” will also release with a music video the week prior.
Sunny Gable is an Americana artist at the core, having known from the first time she touched an instrument that music was her calling. Gable grew up playing violin (among other instruments) and singing, and started reading music at the soft age of 4. Cultivating her musical gift through lessons, open mics, and playing regularly in bands, Gable continued to find her voice and purpose in the form of music as she got older. Her first break came when she joined UCD Denver’s Paramicci – a gypsy swing subgroup of the school’s famed Claim Jumpers. Since then, Gable has fronted her own gypsy swing project ‘A la Cote’ from 2013-2015, performed as part of The Great Contention for a few years on fiddle/mandolin/vocals, and finally crafted her own band Sunny & The Whiskey Machine. Sunny & The Whiskey Machine released their first EP New American Dream in August of 2017 as well as the EP Live at the Tucson Folk Festival in October of 2019. Audience of One served as a seamless transition for Sunny to step into a solo spotlight of her own, leading her to the most recent release Little Things in 2020 – also written in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
How has COVID-19 affected you, your band, your community? Aside from halting live shows (obviously), it has really shone a light on the level of commitment that is required to be a musician and maintain your skill. Without the motivation of practicing for shows, spirit wains and it can be easy to fall off the rehearsal wagon. I’ve always been an introvert so I can’t say it was too hard for me to stay home at first, but as the year has drug on I’m finding the lack of human connection to be difficult, both physically and mentally. I’m looking forward to the day we are all back together again.
What ways have you pivoted your goals to reach new fans and stay connected with your current fans during this global pandemic?
I’ve tried to become more engaging online, although I can’t say this is a strong suit for me. I’ve never been that into social media (I’d honestly rather read a book or practice), and living in a remote area I lack the resources to stream – my internet is simply too slow. So my focus has turned to writing, recording, and producing, which I find a very fulfilling path. I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to install a small recording studio in our basement where I can stretch my creative musical muscles in a controlled space. ‘Contagious’ is my second release during the pandemic. Hopefully the next release will be post pandemic!
If you could change anything about the music industry, what would it be?
Equality. I would love to see more diversity within the music industry, with all races and genders being considered and represented equally, without deep seeded biases and nepotism playing a large role in an individual’s success.
Who inspired you to make music?
I’ve had so many musical inspirations it’s hard to nail down just one person that inspired me to pursue this path, but I had a wonderful mentor and teacher in middle school and high school named Art Montzka. He always encouraged me to keep pushing myself and made me play a semester on each stringed instrument in our orchestra. This not only taught me to read music in all clefs, but encouraged musical diversity in my own training. I also played trombone and sousaphone in the marching band, and guitar in jazz band, which was totally outside my comfort zone at the time. I’d say these things kept me reaching outside my comfort zone in college and beyond.
What advice would you have for yourself 2 years ago?
I would tell myself to not be afraid of the process. To spend less time succumbing to fear and more time listening to my intuition. Rejection is part of being a musician. There’s no need to let it stop you or slow you down.
Can you tell us what your practice/rehearsal process is like?
I’m the mother of a special needs toddler so I am home most of the time, especially now during the pandemic. I play every day – my little audience of one is an enthusiastic one! I change gears a lot, from working on scales and arpeggios, to composition, to rehearsing songs for performance. I learned in music school that you just can’t practice enough and that confidence on stage comes directly from being wildly prepared for the performance.
Are you continuing to work on new music? After the completion of ‘Contagious’ I jumped right back into composing for the next album. The theme of the album is love, something I think every song has a little of, but I really wanted to focus on this subject for this project. I think if there’s anything the world needs now, it’s a whole lot of love.
Where does your inspiration come from?
There is so much to be inspired by these days it’s hard to narrow it down, but currently my children are a big source of inspiration for me. They hold a fascination for life that is hard to find beyond childhood. I am often drawn to look at the world through their eyes when finding perspective in my writing.