Steve Azar’s career, to say the least, has not been one of commercial success. Strangely, his long string of duds doesn’t stem from lack of quality; indeed, there might have been a bit of a mainstream tinge on his long-forgotten Heartbreak Town back in 1996 or his 2002 effort Waitin’ on Joe (whose title track is easily one of my favorite single releases of the 2000s), but even those showed a great deal of promise — promise that didn’t really come into full focus until his pair of albums on his own Dang label.
Earlier this year, the silly but engaging “Moo La Moo” brought Azar (barely) back into the 40. He tries the opposite tack this time around, going for a slow, gentle ballad. The lyrics are simple and effective, staying away from the possible clichés that they could easily have developed into — while indeed, there are many, many songs in which the narrator says that his lover is the sunshine of his life, Azar’s lyrics come across as heartfelt and sincere, not cloying. Also working in the song’s favor is its production: acoustic guitar, a couple raspy harmonica solos, congas and of course, his slightly grained, laid-back delivery.
Will this song get Azar back on the charts? Who knows anymore — there’s obviously a certain degree of name-recognition, if the fact that he’s still charting is any indication. “Sunshine” isn’t exactly your typical radio fare, but then again, there’s been no shortage of acts having success on indie labels, and no shortage of artists having dark-horse hits with stripped-down ballads just like this. This certainly deserves at least a little bit of chart action.
You can listen to “Sunshine” by clicking here.
You can read the lyrics to “Sunshine” by clicking here.