Session 213: SONTALK // Erik Koskinen

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SHITT BARN Insta Sontalk Poster Design: Michael Sambar

May 16, 2019

By way of familial candor and visceral vulnerability, singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer Joseph LeMay shares personal trials, tribulations, and triumphs under the moniker SONTALK. Throughout his burgeoning career, the artist had attracted a fervent following and critical acclaim on the 2014 solo offering, Seventeen Acres, released under his legal name. In the years since, the music transformed into a blend of delicate dissonance, distorted slide guitar transmissions, sequenced beats, vinyl samples and warm electronics, culminating in the April debut of SONTALK: Act I EP on Sony Music Masterworks. Initially meant as an introduction to his full-length debut, the EP’s lead single “I Am a War Machine” garnered praise right out of the gate as Stereogum claimed, “LeMay sounds vulnerable, but the sunny thumping instrumentation delivers enough momentum to aid in a kind of soul-saving atonement.”As he took the project on the road, the track generated over a million streams within a few months. The conversation has just begun.  The new SONTALK album, Stay Wild, comes out on Sony on March 14th

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Musically sprouted from the blend of American folk, country, rock-n-roll, and blues, Erik Koskinen and his top-shelf band realize a sound that is distinctive and fresh while familiar and classic. Koskinen’s albums are a lyrical and musical metaphor of American’s theaters of war, of history, of relationships, and of the reflections in the mirror. Knowing but not didactic, Koskinen channels the ways of Whitman and reverently enters the anthology of uniquely crafted wry songs with the likes of Woody Guthrie and Ry Cooder while speaking as plainly as your neighbor.  

The Minneapolis Star Tribune calls Koskinen “the real deal” and “the best country songwriter in Minnesota.”  After releasing Cruising Paradise as an EP in November 2017, Koskinen added three new songs and pressed to vinyl in July 2018. Cruising Paradise follows Koskinen’s first three albums, America Theatre (2014), Live At the Real Phonic Radio Hour (2015), and Keep It to Yourself (2010).

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