Own Way Home was recorded at Piety Studios over five days during the height of August heat and combines the rhythms and horns of Sonia’s New Orleans roots with the indie rock heart of her Atlanta musical history. Engineered by Wes Fontenot, the album includes 13 tracks that feature (in alphabetical order) Shamarr Allen on trumpet, Eric Bolivar on drums, Bruce Giaimo on B3 and piano, Craig Klein on trombone, Mary Lasseigne on bass, Alex McMurray on guitar, Matt Perrine on sousaphone and upright bass, Paul Sanchez on guitar, Beth Wheeler on mandolin, and harmony vocals by Linda Bolley, Debbie Davis, Arséne DeLay, Shoeless Pashley, Ruby Rendrag and Becky Shaw.
“I cannot express how grateful I am to have had so many friends contribute their incredible musical talent to help me bring these songs to life. It especially meant the world to me to have members of both the Rolling Road Show and Roxie Watson on the record. We had an absolute ball in the studio and I can’t wait to share the songs with you!”
Own Way Home is a collection of songs that explore themes related to home – leaving to make your own way, memories and the ties that forever bind, healing and the roadblocks to returning and ultimately letting go of trying to figure out the how or why and trusting instead that the way home will reveal itself in its own time. “I have worn grooves in the interstate traversing the miles between Atlanta and New Orleans week after month after year,” said Sonia, “but the long drives have also offered me much time for reflecting on the roads that lead us away and pull us home. I chose these songs for the album because they all relate in some way to those reflections and my own journey.”
Sonia grew up in New Orleans back when Rex still rolled down Napoleon Ave. Her family lived on the parade route in a large uptown house that had been carved into apartments they rented out to college kids. Sonia’s family was musical in a classical way; both her parents and older sister sang in the Symphony Chorus, and Bach and opera blasted from the home stereo. But it was when one of the students living at their house threw out his radio because he said it had roaches in it that Sonia’s own love of music truly began. She pulled the radio out of the trash, sprayed it with Raid and discovered her very own portal into the transformative world of rock ‘n roll.
Besides her love of listening, though, Sonia was an unlikely musician. Growing up, she was mostly preoccupied with school and navigating the struggles of youth. It wasn’t until her sophomore year of college, when she went to see Melissa Etheridge perform at the Saenger Theater and got her first glimpse of a woman playing guitar and rocking out that something just clicked. Sonia went out the next day, bought a guitar and a chord book from Jimmy at the Louisiana Music Exchange, and started writing songs. About a year later, she announced to her family that she was going to be a musician and moved to Atlanta to immerse herself in the fertile songwriting scene that produced the likes of John Mayer, the Indigo Girls and Shawn Mullins. (You can imagine how well that went over.)
Over the next decade Sonia transformed herself from a fledgling acoustic songwriter to the front woman of her own critically acclaimed punk-rock trio, STB, to the bass player for Cowboy Mouth, to the guitar & mandolin player for Paul Sanchez and the Rolling Road show, to the banjo picker for alterna-grass group, Roxie Watson. Along the way she has continued to hone her craft as a songwriter and evolve as a musician, weaving together all the different musical styles she’s explored, while always keeping it rooted in the beloved rock ‘n roll that changed her life. Her lyrics have been called, “uncompromising yet undeniably intimate,” (Michael Andrews, Athens Flagpole) and her music runs the gamut from, “rocking with a barely contained intensity,” (Hal Horowitz, Atlanta Press) to, “mellow but soulfully intoxicating,” (Jeff Clark, Stomp and Stammer).