Spare change. Cheap. Practically worthless…
but a lucky penny is something you hold close,
as if your life depends on it.*


Shiner and Her Lucky Pennies came to life through a mix of unexpected inspiration and good fortune.

Shiner on dock_small

Photo by Nora Lewis

Thinking of starting a new band after an unplanned two-year hiatus from music, lead singer Sunshine Menezes saw a western swing band perform during a trip to Lubbock, Texas, and quickly realized she had found her inspiration. Shortly thereafter, Menezes became a Rhode Island Foundation Fellow, a unique opportunity for Rhode Island’s non-profit leaders to explore personal interests that will rejuvenate them and feed their souls. This brilliant and generous program funds the Fellows’ proposed extracurricular activities for 18 months. In Sunshine’s case, the fellowship would support guitar lessons, vocal training, a songwriting workshop led by renowned singer-songwriter, Kevin Welch, and production of her first solo album by amazing musician and producer (and husband), Ray Gennari, at the Rocktorium of Love. Through this fellowship, Shiner and Her Lucky Pennies was born.

luckypenniescutoutSunshine’s influences range from American western swing and jazz standards from the 1930s and 40s to Brazilian tropic├ília, Peruvian chicha, and Tejano, to more modern alt-country and Americana. Her parents would be heartbroken if she didn’t mention the Beatles, CSN, and Roberta Flack among the list of influencers.

These wide-ranging musical ideas have swirled together in her brain to inform her originals. These are simple songs, but when combined with a few covers that (in our opinion) aren’t heard nearly often enough, Shiner and Her Lucky Pennies aim to set a mood that makes you get your butt up and boogie.

*As eloquently summarized by J. Ed Medina.


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