There is a stark contrast that lies at the heart of singer / songwriter Sunny Ozell’s new album Overnight Lows. It exists between Ozell’s angelic and seductively beautiful voice and the defiant, pragmatic, and sometimes biting lyrics of the songs she sings on this quietly spectacular record.
While the pop music sweetness of her vocal offerings may tend to make you believe she is soft and shallow on first listen, lean in and listen closely and the lyrics of her songs will tell you that the woman who is singing them is a resilient, strong, and clear-sighted person who is not afraid to tell you the truth.
Starting the album off with the soulful, bluesy and inspirational “Driving Highways,” Ozell sets the tone for the album in the first verse with the blunt words: “ I don’t know what I wanted from you in the end / You ain’t a lover and you’re not my friend / You should know that I’m gonna be around / Keeping my feet planted on the ground.”
These are the words of a woman not intent on surrendering or bowing down to anyone or anything and who is unmistakably declaring that while times may be tough, she is too.
It’s a theme that Ozell revisits repeatedly on the record with songs like the unyielding and determined “Not Afraid”, the mournful and poignant “The Garden,” the seething and fierce “Hammer and Nail” and the album closer, the resolute and candid “Take You Down” leading the way.
The sequencing of “Take You Down” turns out to be a masterstroke in that it contains the sublime lyrics “ I know what people see and I know what people say / No one is stopping me and no one is leaving today,” words which perfectly sum up the unapologetic attitude that smolders beneath the surface of Ozell’s mesmerizing voice throughout this entire blues, country, and jazz soaked collection of original songs.
At album’s end, we find that Ozell is not only a woman who is tired of putting up with and being silent about the inequalities and unfairness of relationships, love, and life, but that she is also a woman who has created a 2020 musical masterpiece as well.
Overnight Lows by Sunny Ozell on Chitin Records which features studio musicians Jay Bellerose, Tyler Chester, Andy Hess, Adam Levy, Rich Hinman, and others was engineered by Mike Piersante and is available on her website .