Join us for a special concert celebrating the release of Monica’s brand new album, Sunshine Is Free!
“It don’t cost no money, if your pockets are empty, sunshine is free.” It’s clear when speaking with singer-songwriter Monica Rizzio that she sees the bright side. Her new album, Sunshine Is Free, is all about doing just that: appreciating how the little things in life make it all worth it. A bonfire on a beach. A couple of days with the one you love. Simply doing…nothing.
With a perspective equally influenced by her Texas roots and her Cape Cod home, Monica has emerged as one of the finest talents in the East Coast music scene. After a decade with Tripping Lily, a folk acoustic-pop band, to which she added fiddle and vocals, she’s now embarked on a solo career that draws on her East Texas rust upbringing for a countrified Americana sound.
She released her debut album, aptly named Washashore Cowgirl, in 2016; the collection is a testament to the relationships she has forged throughout the years with other artists, including appearances by Mark Erelli, Sierra Hull, Abbie Gardner & Molly Venter (Red Molly), Tim Chaisson (The East Pointers), Brittany Haas (Hawktail) Mark Erelli, and Laney Jones.Where Washashore Cowgirl was Monica’s solo introduction, Sunshine is Free is her expansion — after time spent on the road touring with Washashore Cowgirl, she realized it was time for her to start collaborating again.
“I approached this record entirely different than my first album,” Monica says. “Collaboration is really what connects these songs. I lived in Nashville in the early 2000s; it was at those iconic open mics at 12th & Porter, Douglas Corner and The Bluebird Cafe when I first heard songwriters like Mindy Smith, Hillary Lindsey, and Elizabeth Cook. I learned a lot about songwriting from these women, and I wanted to get back to Nashville to harness my creative spirit and start co-writing, something I have struggled with. Starting in October 2018, I would fly down to Nashville every few weeks for writing sessions. The only constant was me and my vision for the album, everything else was new.”
Monica returned to Nashville’s Skinny Elephant Studio to record Sunshine Is Free over a week in April, along with producer Michael Rinne (Kelsey Waldon, Erin Rae, Caroline Spence). The album includes a stacked lineup of guest musicians including Mindy Smith, Maya de Vitry, Joe Pisapia (Guster), Gwen Sebastian (Miranda Lambert), Will Kimbrough (Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell), Todd Lombardo, Spencer Cullum Jr. (Miranda Lambert), Danny Mitchell (Miranda Lambert) and Eamon McLoughlin (Emmylou Harris, the Grand Ole Opry) along with co-writers including Mindy Smith, Michael Rinne, Gwen Sebastian, Aaron Raitiere (A Star Is Born, Lori McKenna, Anderson East), Carl Anderson, Mark Erelli and Hayley Sabella.