Sonny Smith began playing Jimmy Yancey covers on piano in little mountain town clubs of Colorado when he was 18. These piano gigs led him to Denver and then into Central America where he busked up and down the Telemanca Coast with a couple friends in a band. At this time he was working on screenplays which ultimately broke apart into long-winded songs with characters and dialogues and plots.
In 2009 he released Tomorrow is Alright (soft abuse/secret seven) with his band Sonny & the Sunsets, a loose collective of musicians including Shayde Sartin & Tim Cohen of the Fresh & Onlys, Tahlia Harbour of Citay and The Dry Spells as well as Sub Pop recording artist Kelley Stoltz. The Sunsets now include Ryan Browne, Tahlia Harbour, and Kelley Stoltz.
In March of 2009, he gained another residency through The Headlands Center for the Arts to begin a large project called “100 records” in which 100 artists make 7” record covers of fictional bands that he supplies the music for. The show debuts for a five week run at Gallery 16 in San Francisco in April 2010.