Sonny doesn’t get to rave no more. Like it was a universal truth acknowledged by all, we nodded in unison. We accepted it. He accepted it. This was to be the new deal – the price of for all the days that had passed, and the toll for the days to come. He was a man now, and more than that, he had responsibilities. He’d always been a conscientiousness child, but those were relatively carefree times. Now his days of roving and longer nights, by necessity had come an end. At least that’s the picture Cape Breton’s Villages paints for us in their new single, ‘Sonny’.
Villages come off like the Cape Breton version of The Shins singing in the key of NoFX. They’ve revisited the fate of Bob, who drank for fifteen years until his liver exploded. It’s an inevitability that comes for us all; that we’re going to get tied down to a life one way or another. But this song has a much longer history, and actually harkens back to a song by St John’s song-writing legend Ron Hynes.
“It was inspired by what we think is one of the great songs of all time, ‘Sonny’s Dream’,” says Travis Ellis of Villages. “We thought about the lyrics, of him settling in the wide open spaces. And maybe coming to the realization that he feels trapped. Kind of a silly idea, but it’s something we’ve all felt I guess.”
In the original song Sonny is but a wee lad caring for his mother, but is yearning to go to sea where his father lives, or the village, or the whole of the wide world around him. He’s just on the cusp of life, but already he’s setting down roots. Villages presumes the tale end of that story, where Sonny is running out of options. It’s a nice nod to late great Hynes.
“Just tons of respect for him. He was a legend. I’d say a bit of an ode. ‘Sonny’s Dream’ was such a massive part of our childhood. We come from a very musical family. A lot of get togethers, everyone could play. That song was a staple at any party. I think Cape Bretoners like to feel sadness when they party. I’m not sure where that comes from. There’s just a melancholy there. Whenever we party together, it’s 2am, and we’re like, ‘Let’s put on Fare Thee Well’ by the Rankin’s or something of that nature. Not exactly the most uplifting song.”
Villages have recently produced four songs with the aid of the mighty Joel Plaskett, and expect to be releasing a few singles over the course of the next couple months, with a full album coming later this year.