Happy Fourth of July! As with basically any other autonomous country who celebrates their independence, the United States of America’s origin story came amidst some turmoil to say the least. But today we’re looking at another set of cross-national new beginnings courtesy of Noni Culotta.
Like countless non-native New Yorkers, Culotta’s escapades in the Big Apple only came after she was bit by the acting bug. Once up there though, Culotta recalled the traditional Irish American songs that filled her youth, embraced the spirit of busking, and went to work, eventually leveling up from subway platforms to the many bars and theatres abound in Brooklyn and Manhattan. This is when the turmoil turned up. The crushing weight of sudden COVID conditions, complicated further by a divorce, led Culotta to the tough choice of leaving the scene in which she’d seeded herself for a decade and relocating from one metropolitan area to another; from NYC to ATX.
It didn’t take all that long for Noni to acclimate back to her home state and click with fellow contributors to our “Live Music Capital”, thanks in no small part to her ever-growing repertoire of folk-pop originals in the ilk of Iris DeMent or late Austin City Limits veteran Nanci Griffith. With a reported hundred songs under her belt and an incandescent voice to match, Noni Culotta cut down her colossal collection of originals down to fourteen of some of her most heartfelt tunes and began arranging with her dream team of collaborators. The result is Noni’s debut full-length Gimme Sunshine, which came out towards the tail end of June. Looking at the forecast, that request for rays has been obliged just in time for July 4th, and the LP’s title track enters the pantheon of great “Gimme” songs, but where More, Danger, Shelter, and All Your Lovin’ tote somewhat of a “rockstar” edge, “Gimme Sunshine” instead radiates with wholesome Pet Sounds-meets-Tapestry energy whose luminous licks will have you photosynthesizing for months to come.