Sonny and the Sunsets: It's an immaculate summer day, and we are interrupting Sonny Smith. He's sitting under an umbrella at Dolores Park Cafe, eating a cup of yogurt he'd been carrying in his pocket, trying to answer a question about whether being signed to the respected indie label Fat Possum makes his life and work any easier. "I would assume so, but I don't really know," he says, somewhat unhelpfully. A fire engine suddenly dumps a huge quantity of water nearby on 18th Street, and Smith is fully wowed for a moment by the deluge. Behind his thick-rimmed sunglasses and olive-drab Army blouse, he is polite and thoughtful, but reserved. He's been preparing to go on tour, which means budgeting and booking flights and renting vans. He doesn't like doing that kind of stuff. He seems to like sitting down for interviews only a smidgen more. "Maybe the irony of success -- it's a big plot to keep you from being creative," he muses. "I can kind of see why people who get successful get less and less prolific. Maybe it's because they're on book tours and television shows and they're in airports and they're on airplanes and they're doing that all day rather than just grinding it out."
Indeed, if there is one thing Smith does like, it's grinding it out. He is amazingly prolific, even by contemporary standards... [Continue reading]
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