This week on Art of the Song, Baltimore indie singer SONiA of pop/folk band Disappear Fear is the featured artist.
About the musician:
The original band consisted of sisters Sonia Rutstein a.k.a. (stylized as) SONiA and Cindy Frank a.k.a. (stylized as) CiNDY and expanded the following year to include guitarist Howard Markman. Their lyrics often addressed love, life, Baltimore, LGBT rights, and progressive political issues. The pair have released five albums as a duo. (According to the band’s official website bio, more than a half million copies of Disappear Fear records have been sold through 2009.) In 1994, after self-releasing their music via their own Disappear Records label, the band was signed to Rounder/Philo Records. Two years later, Cindy stopped performing regularly with the band in order to focus on her growing family. Occasionally, she still provides harmony vocals for the group, and of late, Cindy’s teen son Dylan Visvikis has shared his talents on vocals and piano. From about 1996 through 2004, Sonia Rutstein started a solo career that took her across the nation and around the globe. She released four well-received LPs under her own name and established herself as a compelling, captivating and popular attraction in the world of LGBT, Lilith Fair, and alt-folk artists, thanks to her passion for her subjects, the honesty of her lyrics, and her warm, positive, and eclectic blend of folk, pop, rock, blues, global sounds, and Americana. Among the major events Rutstein has graced either alone or with the band are the March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation and the Concert for Peace at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC with Peter, Paul and Mary (March 2003). Her performing destinations have taken her as far away as Jerusalem (where she toured bomb shelters), Fiji, and Australia‘s Sydney Opera House. The newest Disappear Fear recording is 2011’s Get Your Phil, an album steeped in folk and Americana sounds. Playing on the album are Sonia (songwriter, lead vocals, acoustic guitar, harmonica, piano), Cindy (vocals) and Tony Correlli (piano). It is a tribute/cover album of the late folk singer/songwriter Phil Ochs‘s music.