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Young Tennessean to bring “old time” Appalachian music to Highlander Pub

Emi Sunshine, a talented Tennessean singer-songwriter, is coming to perform at the Highlander Pub in Pictou, on July 6.
Emi Sunshine, a talented Tennessean singer-songwriter, is coming to perform at the Highlander Pub in Pictou, on July 6. - Contributed

Emi Sunshine is looking to bring the sounds of her old-timey Appalachian tunes to Pictou County once again. She will be performing at the Highlander Pub in Pictou on July 6.

Emi, a singer, songwriter, instrumentalist and producer whose real name is Emilie Sunshine Hamilton, is excited to return to Pictou. She has performed at two previous Lobster Fests. “I always have wanted to come back to that area for a long time. When we go, I always ask ‘When’s the next time we’re going to go to Pictou?’

“Whenever we go, it’s such a nice time, and it’s easy to work with everyone. I think it’s a great part of Canada,” said Emi, who plays the ukulele, mandolin and guitar. “It’s peaceful – a great way to get away from all the crazy stuff going on in your life.”

Emi’s appreciation of the peacefulness of Pictou county comes naturally. She said she hails from a “blink and you miss it” small town near Nashville – and has a style heavily influenced by the music she listened to growing up, which originated in the Tennessee area. It’s a combination of Americana, bluegrass, gospel, and country – all with “a sprinkle of blues.”

Emi does not shrink away from anything in her songwriting or range of musical expression, describing her sound as “torn and ragged music,” with “honest lyrics and lonesome tones.”

Emi attributes the way her music sounds to legends like Loretta Lynn, Tanya Tucker and the Louvin Brothers.

“It just comes together for me,” said Emi, in a phone call with The News, describing how she mixes elements of other musical styles to create her own. “I loved so many types of music when I was younger, so I thought about my own style and how I can make it into whatever I want it to be. I call it ‘old time.’”
Emi is known for her thought-provoking, often deep songwriting. She noted that her music revolves around what she and her mother collaborate to write.

“I’ve been writing since I was about five or six years old with my mother. My mother was a writer, and she stopped doing it for a while. But when I was born, she picked it back up, and has been writing ever since,” she said. “We just kind of bond over it, and it turned into something later on.”

The performance at the Highlander will feature 15 original songs, such as Ninety Miles – a song based on her interpretation of autism. Emi will be performing songs from her newest album, Ragged Dreams, at the Highlander Pub.

For more information on the artist, check out

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