Sully Erna is a lot of things.
He's the lead singer of Godsmack, the hard rock band that rose to prominence in the late 1990s and early 2000s with rock radio hits like "Voodoo," "I Stand Alone" and "Straight Out of Line."
He's also participated in multiple World Series of Poker main events, where he was the final celebrity player remaining in the 2007 tournament. That year, he finished 237th out of a field of 6,358, earning $45,422. (In 2006, he finished 713th out of 8,773, earning $17,730.)
At the moment, he's supporting his new solo album Hometown Life with an acoustic tour alongside guitar player Tim Theriault. That tour will in fact bring Erna, born and raised in Lawrence, home as it wraps up in Boston at the Wilbur Theatre on Wednesday night, the night before Thanksgiving.
For those expecting Erna's solo work to just be acoustic versions of Godsmack-style songs, think again. The album's first single, "Different Kind of Tears," was written with songwriter/producer Zac Maloy, who has worked with Tim McGraw and Carrie Underwood. The album also evokes the varied stylings of everyone from James Bay to Chris Stapleton to even Ray Charles, Etta James and Amy Winehouse.
The album's selling well, reaching No. 105 thus far on the Billboard top 200 album chart since its Sept.
"I've worked really hard to let people know that this isn't a Godsmack album or a Godsmack show," Erna told me in a recent interview. "Thankfully, this isn't my first solo album or my first solo tour (his first solo album, Avalon, came out in 2010) so people should know what to expect by this point in terms of my shows."
Indeed, a check of a recent setlist shows that while Erna does play a few Godsmack songs ("Running Blind" and "Touche"), he's just as likely to cover other artists, including Alice in Chains ("Nutshell"), Metallica ("Nothing Else Matters"), Pink Floyd ("Another Brick in the Wall Part 2"), Aerosmith ("Dream On") and The Beatles ("Hey Jude").
The solo album and tour have shown fans that Erna is much more than just "the guy who sings Godsmack songs" and for that, he's grateful.
"I really like showing other sides of my music. I'd like people to see that, even though I love playing Godsmack songs, that there are other things that interest me," Erna says.
If you're a fan of Erna, of high-quality live music, or just want to have fun, it's definitely worth checking out.