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Concrete

Sunny Sweeney

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Album Review

After 2007's Heartbreaker's Hall of Fame, Sunny Sweeney's debut album for Big Machine Records, she worked hard on the road and in the media to promote a record that in many ways set itself apart from its peers. That said, despite favorable press and some radio play, that album was overshadowed by another artist from her native East Texas: Miranda Lambert and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Nashville is weird like that: rather than embrace a burgeoning music scene from a particular region, it only accepts into its heart-of-hype one artist at a time from a particular place. Sweeney's debut deserved way more attention than it got. For Concrete, she moved over to one of Big Machine's sister labels, Republic Nashville, and issued a pre-release single, "From a Table Away," in March of 2011. By May, it had become the highest-charting Billboard debut single from a female country artist in four years. The hippest thing? It was a song she co-wrote. It seems Sweeney spent a lot of the time in between albums learning the craft of songwriting. She had three co-writes on her debut, but she has seven of ten here; all of them winners. Sweeney's sound is slick enough for Nash Vegas to embrace — if they're smart — with just enough rock & roll in its mix, but it's deeply rooted in the fertile country music tradition of East Texas. Pedal steel guitars whine and whinny all over these songs beautifully produced by Brett Beavers. The best of them are the aforementioned single, the torn up ballad "Staying's Worse Than Leaving," the stripped-down "Amy," the swaggering "Worn Out Heart," the hooky "It Wrecks Me," and the sassy "Helluva Heart," with its throwback dobro and meld of electric and acoustic guitars and a positively anthemic refrain. All of them showcase Sweeney's gifts as a fine lyricist and a top flight vocalist with enough restless country soul to pull off every song, even the cliched ones written by Nashville hot shots. YouTube has been kind to Sweeney thus far, we can only hope that radio and CMT will embrace her as well. Despite her youth and relative inexperience, Sweeney is the kind of writer and singer that Nashville needs at this juncture to pry itself from the muck of releasing cookie-cutter soundalikes for the last decade, with few exceptions. Concrete is modern and polished, yet makes no attempt to disguise the influence of the Texas country tradition in its heartfelt performances. ~Thom Jurek, Rovi

Biography

Born: 07 December 1976 in Longview, TX

Genre: Country

Years Active: '00s, '10s

A brassy country singer whose retro style garnered comparisons to singers like Natalie Maines and Kasey Chambers, Sunny Sweeney grew up in Longview, Texas. Sweeney was a gutsy, musically inclined girl, if a tad unpredictable. In her senior year of high school, she busted into choir class and demanded to be allowed to sing Dolly Parton's "9 to 5" in the school's year-end show. Sweeney, who didn't even belong to the class, proceeded to belt out the song, much to the choir teacher's surprise. She got...
Full Bio
Concrete, Sunny Sweeney
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