Sunny Ledfurd

A singer and songwriter whose music grafts rock & roll attitude and hip-hop swagger onto modern country melodies, Sunny Ledfurd is the stage name of Jonathan "Dugi" Bakalli. Hailing from Chattanooga, Tennessee, Bakalli spent most of his childhood in Gaston County, North Carolina, and he began playing guitar when he was 15. Drawing inspiration from a wide range of artists, including David Allan Coe, Guns N' Roses, and Snoop Dogg, Bakalli soon wanted to make music his career. While still in high school, he formed a band with his friends; inspired by Lynyrd Skynyrd, they named the group Sunny Ledfurd, using a goofy spelling of a friend's name. Playing rap-rock in the manner of Kid Rock and Limp Bizkit, the band won a local following with their independent debut album, 1998's Rather Die Young. Thanks to Sunny Ledfurd's indie success, they landed a deal with MCA Records, which released The White Disk in 2001. The album didn't fare well in the marketplace, and the group began to splinter. Bakalli opted to go solo, and took Sunny Ledfurd as his stage name. Rather than dealing with record companies, he started his own Ledfurd Recurds label, and built a home studio to refine his musical ideas. Beginning with The Garage in 2003, Ledfurd began releasing a steady stream of solo product (six albums between 2003 and 2012), with most of his songs dealing with good times and bad behavior. Tunes like "Pontoon Boat," "Adderal," "Myrtle Beach," "Good to Be a Redneck," and "Strip Club DJ" established Ledfurd's reputation as a hard-partying Southern bad boy. As his audience grew, he gave newer fans a chance to catch up with the 2012 collection Greatest Hits 2003-2009. He emerged from his studio in 2014 with the album Slick, and fans got a souvenir of Ledfurd's live show with the 2015 concert album Live! Not Televised. ~ Mark Deming

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