Sonny Gullage
New Orleans - Louisiana - United States

Kevin “Sonny” Gullage was born with what you might call “blues wisdom,” a mixture of empathy, sensitivity, and keen observational skills. The first song the New Orleans, Louisiana-based artist wrote as a 12-year-old was about the BP Oil Spill, and its devastating environmental and economic effects. Put simply, Sonny has always been an old soul.

Now, Sonny is 25 years-old and the blues singer-songwriter and keyboardist is releasing his debut full-length album, Go Be Free, out August 23 on the legendary blues label, Blind Pig. The uplifting and purposeful 12-song collection is produced by four-time Grammy Winner and nine-time Grammy nominee Tom Hambridge (Buddy Guy, B.B. King, Susan Tedeschi, Delbert McClinton), and it features an incendiary cameo by guitarist Christone "Kingfish" Ingram.

“It was almost a revelation when I discovered I could sing the blues—it just flowed out of me—and I realized that’s how I wanted to connect with people,” Sonny shares. “When I sing, I don’t sing for people to understand me, I sing for people to understand themselves.”

Rock & Blues Muse has praised Sonny for his: "big-league voice, top-tier keyboard skills, and a hip, sophisticated style that he's currently using to romance blues listeners all over the world.” He’s also a first-rate songwriter with a touch of gospel uplift and urbanity in his blues.

Sonny’s exhilarating debut, Go Be Free, is both a culmination of a life in music, and the start of a promising career as a gifted singer- songwriter and instrumentalist. The title track opens with the kind of stomping beat you’d hear in a Southern church. Accompanied by a propulsive groove, Sonny sings: I remember back when I was young/Daddy called me said, "Come here my son”/He said, "If you want to be like me/You gotta learn to keep your mind at ease”/Said, "Go be free.” The song swells with a euphoric feeling that’s equal parts gospel salvation and blues-based self-realization.

The tender R&B ballad, “Separate Ways,” smolders with tasty blues guitar licks, emotive pop hooks, and lovelorn lyrics. The jazzy, pop-infused “Worried About the Young” is a socially conscious modern blues tune addressing the economic hardships plaguing Sonny’s generation. Riding shotgun with him on the track is Christone "Kingfish" Ingram, who, like Sonny, is also 25. Here, Kingfish squeezes out stinging blues licks before digging in with a lyrical but fiery solo. “When we finished the track, I remember [producer] Tom saying people don’t have to worry about the blues with us young guys around,” Sonny says laughing.

Sonny shares hard-earned wisdom from his grandfather on the reflective, R&B-flavored ballad, “I’ve Been There.” He explores trad Chicago blues on “Blues All Over You,” smoldering minor blues on "Tattooed Wings,” and dirty, Delta blues on “Hot House.”

Sonny’s origin story begins with him as a kindergartener writing out music rhythmic notation while his father looked on incredulously. “He asked me if I could clap out the rhythms, and I did. That was the start of my musical journey,” Sonny reveals.

It was inevitable Sonny would be a musician. His father is bassist Tony Gullage who has performed with Henry Butler, Dr. John, and other prominent blues and roots musicians around New Orleans. Sonny’s grandmother, Sister Alberta Gullage, released gospel records for the Wajo label in the mid-1960s. In addition, Sonnys family surname was originally Ledbetter, and he is believed to be a relative of seminal blues/folk legend, and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Huddie Lead Belly” Ledbetter.

Sonny explored his innate musical talents as a multi-instrumentalist before focusing on the keyboard. His church upbringing remains bedrock to who he is as a person and a musician. “Gospel and blues come from the same place. Gospel is the music of man trying to understand a Higher Power, and the blues is man’s struggle to understand humanity,” Sonny shares.

He earned his bones as a blues musician while performing as an artist in residence at B.B. Kings Blues Club in New Orleans. When the club shut its doors during the pandemic, and all gigging stopped, he tried out for American Idol, upon his dad’s urging, and advanced to the Showstoppers round. From there, Sonny embarked on a robust touring schedule overseas. 

He has since captivated live audiences in the U.S., Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Germany, Slovenia, and Croatia. Hes composed music for film and podcasts, and Sonny's voice was also featured in the 2019 release of Disneys Lady & The Tramp. Sonny’s diverse and accomplished musicality has also earned him guest spots performing alongside jazz icon Bobby Watson and jam legends Blues Traveler. Sonny is also a Hammond Instruments endorsee. In addition to his music career accomplishments, Sonny has made cameos in movies including The Last Laugh, starring Chevy Chase, and Burning Cane, starring Wendell Pierce.

Mulling over his journey thus far, Sonny is pensive. He says: “I feel like a tree with many roots that include my father, and all the musicians who have inspired me. Now, I’m growing branches, and, hopefully, sharing the blues with the next generation.”


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Go Be Free
Details

Label: Blind Pig

Genres: Blues, R&B

Styles: Contemporary Blues, Soul Blues, Soul, Contemporary Swamp Blues, Blues

Songs on the Album

Track # Song Title Style Genre