Sonny Rhodes, Master of the Texas Lapsteel Guitar
Performer of "The Ballad of Serenity"
(...and Our Very Own Big Damn Guitar Hero...)
Sonny Rhodes is a consumate Bluesman. His defining statement to the world is, "Blues Is My Religion," and no statement about a musician was ever truer. He started life picking cotton but then in one graced moment, began a career that would take his voice and guitar round the world, and then into the hearts of every Browncoat when Joss Whedon chose him to perform and sing the title theme to Firefly, "The Ballad of Serenity."
Sonny Rhodes isn't your run-of-the-mill Bluesman. For one, he really dresses up for his gigs, sporting a turban and always in colorful clothes that grab attention. When he's not performing, Sonny's on-stage manner is smart and affable, and he's a story teller. But when the music starts, the passion charges out. His voice has been describes as "grits-and-gravy," and his work on the lapsteel and other guitars is nothing but mesmerizing.
He gladly tells his story of the serendipitous beginning of his carrer in music. The year was 1949. He was picking cotton and that year's crop was'nt going to be good. That would mean no Christmas presents. So, he was crying. The man for whom he was picking cotton heard the young Sonny crying and rummaged around in the old barn to find an old guitar which he gave to Sonny.
No gift wrapping, but that wasn't a problem. He fell into the "wrong crowd" of the youth of his day: those who loved the low-land blues. He got into gospel music, as well. "When I heard Bessie Smith and Lightnin' Hopkins, well, I knew what I wanted to do."
He went into the Navy but returned to his home state of Texas and started playing for the likes of Albert Collins and Freddie King. Having a hunger for more Blues, he moved to Oakland California to continue his career. In those years he got the idea for his now famous turban from R&B man, Chuck Willis. He's kept the look ever since.
His musical soul was unquiet and kept hungering for more. So, he branched out into Kansas City swing blues, Texas boogie, Chicago mean blues, and British blues-rock.
His music runs the range from high-energy, riff and stomp blues to soulful, heartrending laments about the human condition. His style is all his own. No mincing through other people's musical ideas: what you hear wailing from the amplifier or from your stereo speakers, the sound is all Sonny, and nothing but Sonny, so help him god!
Sonny and Firefly: Making Browncoat History
We Want More Sonny!
Browncoats have sent me several emails asking whether Sonny goes on the road to play his music, and where they can listen to him. The answer is YES, he's always playing somewhere in the 'Verse!
You Wanna Hear More Sonny? (I sure do). How about going to one of his concerts and showing him the support of Browncoats worldwide! Check the links below for Sonny's Rhode Work to see where he's playing next---and GO listen to our man!
Good Day to Play The Blues/2001
Born to Be Blue/1997
Don't Want My Blues Colored Bright/1997
Sonny Rhodes Live in Europe/1997
Out of Control/1996
Won't Rain in California/1996
The Blues is My Best Friend/1994
Disciple of the Blues/1991
Links to all things Sonny
Sonny's Home Page: Sonny Rhodes Homepage
Where's Sonny Playing Now? Sonny's RhodeWork
Sonny's Management: GREATER PLANET ENTERTAINMENT
MICHAEL J. HENEGAN
PO Box 439 Quakertown, PA 18951
ph: 215.453.1803 - fx: 215.453.7
We're Flyin Again!