Monica Rizzio,
The TVD First Date

“There was not a lot happening in East Texas when I was growing up, besides tending to the cattle and horses on my parents Pleasant Valley Ranch in Quitman. Well, that and going to church several times a week.”

“But my dad had a record player and he was always spinning those good old country records. I distinctly remember Red Headed Stranger always making its way to the top of the pile of albums we listened to while getting ready for school.

I guess it was country music in the morning, but my dad is a New Yorker and obviously Italian, so the nighttime was saved for Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Judy Garland. We would listen and sing along to them all night and I could tell my dad was using the songs to escape Texas and get back to New York, if only in his mind.

When I am out touring, I always stop at thrift stores, because I usually find some pretty good vinyl deals. I scored an epic Bill Monroe live album in Amarillo last year and a mint Dottie West record in St. Augustine (They have amazing thrift stores, by the way). Usually about twice a year I escape up to the Portsmouth, NH; they have the best restaurants, and I always stop at Bull Moose and then cross the river to Kittery where this little cafe, aptly called Lil’s Cafe, has a great collection in the back.

On my first record, Washashore Cowgirl, I did not make vinyl, which I regret now, but I just didn’t have the money. So when I started writing, recording, and sequencing Sunshine Is Free, it was all designed for vinyl. I could not wait to drop the stylus on the vinyl when the pressings came and I could hear the crunch of Will Kimbrough’s baritone guitar on the title track, and it didn’t disappoint!”
Monica Rizzio

Sunshine Is Free, the new full-length release from Monica Rizzio, is in stores now—on vinyl.

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PHOTO: JOE NAVAS

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