It's been nine years in the making, but it's been worth waiting for. BIG HEAD DIVA, the long-awaited release by Houston singer and songwriter Myrna Sanders, delivers 11 new tracks that expand Sanders' already broad musical palette to paint new images covering a range of Americana sounds, from blues to country to rock and pop. When Sanders got together with a songwriting partner in 2007 to come up with new material for the follow up to her debut 2003 release, Riches to Rags, she concedes she had no idea the journey to the release of Big Head Diva would take this long. But she says the extra time was well-spent, as she worked on her successful side project, Janis Joplin tribute Kozmic Pearl, and added regular weekly solo gigs to tweak the songs in preparation for recording sessions at Houston's Sugar Hill Studios. “I wrote six of the new songs with my friend Joey Benz several years ago, but really was interested in doing more steady gigging so I took a while to get back to working on the other songs,” she said. “Well, I guess it look a lot of extra time looking back, but now I can't wait to get out with the band and play the new material.” While Sanders' first release, highlighted by the single “Good Thang,” actually was inspired by darker themes such as the death of her parents, a divorce and other life lessons, Sanders says the songs on Big Head Diva reflect her own maturity and her appreciation for all of the positive influences in her life. The song “Sweet Life,” for example, deals more with looking back over what a strong foundation her parents laid down for her, growing up near Telephone Road in Houston's East End. Other tracks, such as “Stand Down,” “Life's Too Short” and “Let You Go,” reflect on her realization that hanging on to bad memories, or letting situations or people get under your skin, creates too much emotional baggage. Speaking of positive influences, Sanders also wrote a song about her husband, David, titled “So Damned Cool.”
Sanders, who started playing bass guitar at age 18 and played in Houston thrash metal band Bad Heaven in the mid 1980s, plays bass and rhythm guitar on all of the 11 tracks, and is joined by songwriting partner Joey Benz on lead guitar for their six co-written songs. Several well-known Houston studio musicians also worked the sessions, including keyboardists Randy Wall and Paul English. Sanders worked with Sugar Hill's Andy Bradley on this album. The sound includes more slide guitar and resonator, leaning more toward blues and Americana. As for the timing and sound of the next group of songs, Sanders, who cites Lucinda Williams as a major influence, says she has been listening to a lot of country lately, and that has influenced her most recent compositions. And considering she doesn't exactly work on a strict recording timetable, Sanders knows she has plenty of other sounds to explore. “It all depends on where the road takes me,” she says.
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