On the front of Stephen Sanchez’s new album he is wearing a black bowtie and a velvet polka dotted jacket. His hair is greased like a young Elvis Presley. Behind him are the red drapes of a theater and in front of him, a blonde woman, leaning in for a kiss. It’s a cinematic image of a love uncomplicated by modern life. It captures in image what Sanchez’s songs catch in their melodies, a simple love that has been in our ears and eyes since before we were even born. The kind of love Roy Orbison crooned in “I Can’t Stop Loving You” and that is longed for in the voice of Frankie Valli in “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.” Does that love still exist? Did it ever? Even if it didn’t can we pretend for two minutes and forty-five seconds?
Just a couple years ago Sanchez was in a hoodie, playing songs like this on an acoustic guitar and putting the videos on the internet. In the three years since he uploaded his first video his star has burnt far and bright. And like the tuxedo-donning night club singers of this playlist, next month he will don the bowtie at The Ryman for two nights in a row. It’s a storied stage that seems appropriate for his old soul.
As part of being our Nashville Artist of the Month, Stephen Sanchez has made a playlist of his contemporaries at heart.