There is a lot of freedom and maturity associated with an American youth turning 18. The Dubb Nubblettes are on their way to becoming all grown up and Sunrise Sleepy Eyed is proof that at least their songwriting is progressing by leaps and bounds. This, their 3rd studio album, is 11 songs of quirky vocals, acoustic instruments, and breath-taking lyrics.
One would think after performing give-or-take 20 shows with these twin sisters (now + 1 more sister), I would tire of these songs, not so. Every night I would look forward to singing along, “Tell me ‘bout my clouds, hangin’ over me,” on the moody, Karen O –vibed song.
The ukulele driven “Don’t Ever Find Me” gives the impression of Delia Rainey’s solo tunes as Dee Bird, but after the first verse drums and additional vocals spice up the short remainder. This song is beautifully heartbreaking.
Delicate guitar playing by classically trained Hannah Rainey creates character for “Gravestones”. The song crescendos to an anthem-like chorus, “I have nightmares about gravestones!” accented by staccato snare drum hits and a touch of cello from special guest Cecilia Miller of Knoxville, TN. Cello is also a mainstay on the catchy “Tennessee Mountains”, the opening track of Sunrise Sleepy Eyed, previously released as part of the Shiny Mountain Split 7”.
An obvious Bob Dylan influence shows itself in story songs like “Johnny” and the chilling “Solider”. The girls spin tales with their entrancing melodies; any assumed allusions to teen angst aside, these songs craft such imagery that the listener becomes emotionally attached to the fictitious protagonists.
The biographical story of a grandmother’s young romance adds the oldest Rainey sister, Nicky, to the mix as lyric-writer of “Kindergarten Wedding.” The hook of the song played by percussionist Amanda Rainey, on the beloved bell-kit affectionately named Glocky. (Previously released on the Family Portrait Compilation).
The album finishes strong with a hometown tribute to the city of St. Louis, titled “Mound City Baby.” The modest ringing of a single guitar string beneath biting vocals personifies the decay of the city “watch ‘em shiver, watch ‘em shake, oh this city’s gonna break,” all the while building with charm and a powerful sense of identity, “I’m a mound city baby, I was born and raised in the gateway, I’m a muddy river baby, and I’m comin’ home.” (also available as part of the Feels Like Coming Home Compilation.)
Sunrise Sleepy Eyed is undoubtedly the best effort yet by this young family of musicians. Every song is a single, standing strong on it’s own, combined forming a genuine collection that warrants listen after listen. The sun is just rising for Dubb Nubb; there is a bright future ahead.
This album and more can be downloads, name-your-own-price style at: