Fri, May 13, 2016 at 8pm
It’s impossible to explain the exceptional talents of EmiSunshine, an 11-year-old East Tennessee prodigy who has captured the nation’s attention as a singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. Steeped in Appalachian music, she is a true vocal stylist, one who instinctively knows how to interpret the nuances of a song with her impressive range, even though she has yet to gain the life experience and empathy seemingly necessary to fully comprehend the words she sings. Despite a given name that reflects optimism, she is drawn to darker themes of pain, anguish and even murder, like that of The Louvin Brothers, whom she loves.
The Tennessean is just the latest to describe her as “an old soul,” noting, “Onstage, this soul’s presence is commanding and her singing voice authentic and folksy.” While her youth might remind many of Taylor Swift, a more apt comparison would be to artists such as Dolly Parton, Alison Krauss or members of the Carter Family.
Whether she’s performing on the Today show or the Grand Ole Opry or taking the stage at Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium, she is fearless, confident and firm in her musical direction. As she says, she sings “old-time music,” but it’s her own unique blend of roots music that is equal parts Americana, bluegrass, gospel, and country, with a little bit of blues thrown in for good measure. Her talent is indescribable and inexplicable, but fortunately, it doesn’t have to be understood to be appreciated.