Folly Favorites Sunflowers & Sin Release much-anticipated debut album
By Miranda Steadman | Contributing Writer
After years of writing and recording music together, beloved local duo Sunflowers & Sin are releasing their first album this month. Entitled Of Water & Whiskey, the album was recorded and mixed by Will Evans of the popular local band The Dead 27s.
“We can’t begin to explain our appreciation for all of Will’s help. He pushed us out of our comfort zones,” admits Lorra Amos, one half of the duo Sunflowers & Sin. This was both S&S’s first time recording and Evans first producing an album. “We learned together, that’s why it [recording the album] was so fun,” adds Kaitlin Casteel, the other half of the duo. Amos and Casteel have been friends since middle school in Tennessee, long before washing up on the shores of Folly Beach.
Singer/percussionist Casteel grew up listening to classic country, while singer/guitarist Lorra Amos listened to classic rock growing up. “We’re a little bit country and a little bit rock n’ roll,” they joke. “Whenever I was growing up listening to classic rock I never thought I’d play music,” says Amos. These days the ladies of Sunflowers & Sin are having fun “bringing the music of the mountains to the shore” with their Americana folk sound accented with hints of the blues and classic rock n’ roll.
Sunflowers & Sin played their first show at Surf Bar on March 5, 2014. Five years to the month, the girls are holding a release party for their first album at the very same bar on Saturday, March 23. But first, they’ll host an Of Water & Whiskey Listening Party at Drop In Bar & Deli on Tuesday, March 5. After listening to the new album, Sunflowers & Sin will play a set before the Honky Tonk Tuesday tunes begin. Drop In co-owner and Sunflowers & Sin fan Lewis Dodson, has agreed to come out of Honky Tonk retirement to guest bartend the event.
In addition to Of Water & Whiskey’s release party at Surf Bar, Amos and Casteel are excited to travel back to Greenville, Tennessee to play another album release party in their hometown.
The opening track on Of Water & Whiskey “Devil Ghost” takes you to a smoke-filled saloon in the Wild West with its chilling acapella intro, rhythmic build, and stomping Americana beat. The track features the talented Matty Thompson from local bands Sol Driven Train and Hans Wenzel and The 86’ers on bass.
The second track “Just For You” is a song written by Folly’s own Jess Strickland, who first encouraged Amos and Casteel to sell their souls to a life of rock n’ roll. “He pushed us to start the band,” says Casteel. Listen for Wallace Mullinax from The Dead 27s and The Reckoning slaying slide guitar on this tune.
On the third track “I Told You, ” the lyrics “I told you I write songs about cigarettes and whiskey” and “You can find me down by the shore,” refer back to the album title Of Water & Whiskey with references to both drinking and bodies of water, an idea borrowed from the band’s friend Bryan Austin from Under The Sea records.
The fourth track, entitled “Rough Neck”, begins with words of wisdom from Amos’s parents. She wrote the song about a near-death experience her father survived while working on an oil rig down on the Gulf Coast of Louisiana. Both Amos and Casteel admitted “Rough Neck” is their favorite track on the album because of the emotionally-driven situation that inspired Amos to write it. The girls thank longtime friend and Planet Follywood bartender Mackenna Perry for contributing to the writing of “Rough Neck”
The fifth song “Slumber” was written by local jam band Dangermuffin. Dangermuffin guitarist and longtime supporter of Sunflowers, Mike Sivilli, plays guitar on “Slumber”.
The sixth track on the album is the self-titled “Sunflowers & Sin.” The lyrics of the song describe the sultry singers starting a day with margaritas in their coffee cups and a “Jameson January.” These girls know how to have fun.
The seventh and last song “Wild Child Siren” refers to the album title Of Water & Whiskey in the lyrics, “We’ve been running on water and whiskey.”
In addition to their original songs, Sunflowers & Sin love playing covers from artists such as Shovels & Rope, Jason Isbell, Tom Petty, and Fleetwood Mac.
All of the album art on Of Water & Whiskey was created by local artist Kate Barattini, who also bartends at Drop In. In addition to the listening party at DropIn on Tuesday, March 5 and album release party at Surf Bar on March 23, you can catch Sunflowers & Sin at Smoky Oak Taproom on James Island March 16 and at The Tattooed Moose on John’s Island March 30.