Forest Sun feels like A Million bucks in his optimistic new single — premiering exclusively on Tinnitist.
The first entry in a year-long series of free monthly singles available to the San Francisco singer-songwriter’s Patreon supporters, A Million is a sweetly sunny slice of finger-picked country-folk that captures the spirit of anyone who ever left a small town with big plans.
“ ‘Gonna move into the city, that’s what I’m gonna do. Gonna make a million dollars and give it all to you,’ goes the first verse of A Million,” says Sun. “Everybody knows someone moving to the city. I wanted to capture that wide starry eyed optimism of actors, musicians, and entrepreneurs flocking to the proverbial city to chase their hopes and dreams.
“I am releasing a new song every month thanks to my Patreon supporters. I am so grateful for their love and encouragement to keep creating. A Million is the first song of this new year. The song was recorded and produced with Gawain Mathews (Mickey Hart Band, Ben Lee, Tony Furtado Band) at his studio in San Pablo, CA.”
It’s not the only music Sun has released in 2021. The prolific artist also dropped his 10th studio album Stubborn Breathing Heart on New Year’s Day. A fully realized vision that swings gracefully from gospel to folk and soul to reggae and back again, the 12-song expedition delivers the introspective depth and playful, uplifting, soul-nourishing songwriting fans have come to expect.
Produced with Mathews, Stubborn Breathing Heart features special guest Hannah Meyers (from Nashville’s The Bittersweets) singing harmonies on the title track, along with drummer Rob Hooper (Seth Walker, Carolyn Wonderland, Hot Buttered Rum). Long-time collaborator and saxophonist Alex Budman (Mavis Staples, Elvis Costello, D’Angelo, Susan Tedeschi) plays horns on a spirited cover of the ’60s soul classic Something You Got.
After a 53-city tour in 2019, the unexpected solitude and time at home these past nine months allowed Forest to focus on songwriting and painting. His artwork has been shown at the Sala Lola Anglada in Barcelona, The Sebastopol Center for The Arts and the Marin Museum of Contemporary Art. “Creativity is a refuge for me in turbulent times” he says, “music and art have been good friends when I needed them.” This new album will feel like an old friend.”
Sun was born in upstate New York to folk-singing back-to-the-land hippie parents. His dad used to chop wood with neighbor Garth Hudson of The Band and literally built the floor that Bob Dylan stood on at manager Albert Grossman’s Bearsville studios in Woodstock, NY. His mom heard Pete Seeger and Joan Baez play in her uncle’s living room in Boston and dated one of the Chambers Brothers before she met his dad. Weaned on a diet of Jackson Browne and Toots and the Maytals, some of Forest’s earliest memories are of his dad playing Poncho and Lefty by Townes Van Zandt and his mom singing Elizabeth Cotton’s Freight Train.
Forest wrote songs with Rory Block when he was six, learned to juggle with Wavy Gravy when he was nine, and studied drumming with the late African master percussionist Babatunde Olatunji as a teenager. In college, he played in a band with SNL star Maya Rudolph, opening for No Doubt at the Catalyst in Santa Cruz before leaving to study art in Spain.
Mining his deep folk roots and love of gospel, soul, reggae, Americana, blues and jazz, his laid-back soulful style draws comparisons to everyone from Jack Johnson, John Mayer and The Avett Brothers to Van Morrison and Bob Dylan. An award-winning songwriter, he recorded his first record in 1999 in his bedroom in San Francisco with bassist Seth Ford Young (Tom Waits, Edward Sharpe). His songs have been streamed more than 75 million times.