Sonny Lim, a member of Hawai`i’s famous musical Lim family, was born and raised in the heart of Hawaiian cowboy country on Hawai`i Island. Sonny’s father was a paniolo at Parker Ranch and Sonny also worked at Parker Ranch for 23 years. Music was a part of paniolo life and keeping with tradition, Sonny’s parents taught their children to play a variety of instruments. Sonny was introduced to ki ho`alu as a child watching Gabby Pahinui perform at a lu`au in Kohala. Sonny’s biggest inspiration and influence came at age 12 from well-known slack key guitarist and family friend, Uncle Fred Punahoa. Punahoa took interest in Sonny’s playing and spent several weeks living with the Lim family in Kohala to teach him. Sonny’s professional career began as a teenager when he commuted to Oahu from Hawai`i Island to perform with the Makaha Sons of Ni`ihau.
Sonny's first solo album in 2006, Slack Key Guitar: The Artistry of Sonny Lim, was a 48th GRAMMY® nominee in the Hawaiian Music category. One year prior to this nomination, he performed with 6 other solo artists on Hawai`i’s first GRAMMY® award-winning CD, Slack Key Guitar Volume 2. Sonny helped accept this inaugural Hawaiian GRAMMY® award on stage and his speech was the first time the Hawaiian language had ever been spoken on the GRAMMY® stage.
Sonny has recorded on numerous additional notable and award winning projects. He tours regularly with his family, Kohala, and others throughout Japan. Sonny currently lives in Waimea.
The guitars on this recording are a Santa Cruz Studio Model H guitar and a 1976 Ramirez classical guitar. It was recorded in Waimea at Lava Tracks Recording Studio. Produced by GRAMMY® Award-winning producer, Charles Michael Brotman.
Cover art: “Emerging Treeline II” by Diana Lehr