“A lot of tribute and cover bands of this [genre], you could come to expect pudgy, middle aged men dressed in badly fitting jumpsuits and wigs, putting on phoney American accents. We’ve built our idea on a genuine passion and influence of this music. Particular attention has been paid to how the music was originally recorded and we present it this way. The music is tied together with amazing stories and anecdotes that relate to the music, the artists and Sam Phillips- the man who discovered it all. The show is presented in an energetic and passionate way, infectious to all who come!”
Sun Rising are a far cry from ‘just another cover band’. Pianist and vocalist Damon Smith tells me how this exciting tribute to the age-defying Sun Records, also known as the birth place of rock and roll, came to be. For those unfamiliar, Sun Records is an American independent record label founded in Memphis, Tennessee by Sam Philips. The label was responsible for discovering and first recording such influential musicians as Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash.
“Dave and I had been playing our original music together in bands for ages and we used to talk a lot about the music of Sun Records,” Smith says. “It made sense after a while that we should work on a show that clearly and passionately depicted how incredible the artists and music from Sun are…or at least how much we love this era.”
Damon, together with David Cosma, consequently formed Sun Rising with rockabilly regulars Adam Coad (Drums), Adrian Whyte (Guitar) and Trent Mckenzie (Upright Bass). This Australian tribute to the legendary Memphis Sound of the 1950’s is critically acclaimed. They have recently played across four states to packed out venues.
“We played a Jerry Lee Lewis tribute night a few weeks ago and it was killer” he says. “We actually thought the stage was going to collapse at one point as the energy was just ridiculously full on! This year we have played across four states already and most of the shows have been dynamite!”
Damon and David have both been to the actual Sun Records and Damon was lucky enough to record there and drink whiskey in the control room. Their show has been endorsed by the family of founder and director, Sam Phillips.
“The cold hard fact that can’t be ignored is that Elvis, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Howlin’ Wolf, BB King and so many more, recorded and more importantly, debuted their careers at Sun!” beams Smith.
“Bringing our idea of this show to the stage and seeing the fans of the music dance and smile uncontrollably for the whole show is a real buzz, The music is clearly still so powerful after all these years and the energy we are able to muster up on stage while playing this music is actually quite mind boggling.”
When&Where: Geelong Performing Arts Centre – July 18 and Capital Theatre, Bendigo – July 19
Written by Abbey King