According to music label Soft Abuse's bio of Sonny Smith, the head of Sonny and the Sunsets, the multi-faceted musician didn't get "started with music" until he moved to Gunnison, Colorado. However, check out the video montage of a young Smith on his own site and a clearer picture emerges. A pre-teen Smith covers Billy Joel's "Just The Way You Are," pops and locks and shows off his numerous artistic interests. Unsurprisingly the San Francisco-born musician crisscrossed the North and South American continents exploring different visions before settling back in San Francisco in the mid-'90s. He began releasing records as a solo artist throughout the '00s, made short films, earned a couple residencies and wrote for several literary journals. In Spring 2010 he showcased his 100 Records project, which featured 100 records by fictitious bands with music by Smith and cover art by other artist friends. All of his projects have revolved around the imagination of a genuine music enthusiast.
Smith increasingly began earning a reputation in music circles after touring with Neko Case. He formed Sonny and the Sunsets with friends Shayde Sartin, Tim Cohen (both being from Fresh & Onlys), Tahlia Harbour (Citay and The Dry Spells) and Kelley Stoltz in 2007. The band released their home-recorded debut Tomorrow Is Alright in Fall 2009 on the Soft Abuse & Secret Seven label. The album is scheduled to be reissued via Fat Possum in Fall 2010.