Sunny Sweeney’s album “Concrete” launched Tuesday, August 30 and let me just say… it’s about time. Not just for Sweeney – who has been in the game since 2006, and originally self-released her debut album – but for country music in general. Not since Miranda Lambert’s Revolution in 2009 has an album had as much raw, genuine, country swagger.
In the era of crossover country and light-hearted overtones, Sweeney delivers songs that stay true to her Texas roots. Finally a female artist has released songs about drinkin’ and cheatin’ with real southern style. But the kicker is Sweeney does it without seeming fake. Her name may appear light and fun – as does her striking album art – but the music itself brings us back to the truthfulness of Loretta, the ferocity of Merle, and the sweet southern vocals of Dolly… all infused with what can only be described as “Sunny.”
Sweeney co-wrote seven out of ten songs on the album (which, if I were giving albums scores out of 10, that automatically bumps her up about…oh, 8 notches). Each has elements of her East Texas upbringing and some even give us a glimpse into her comedic roots.
The album kicks off with the girls-night-out, honkey-tonkin’ anthem Drink Myself Single, an ode to spiting an ex by going out and having a rip-roaring night on the town.
Amy is a first-hand account of someone a man is cheating with, taking an angle and delivering an emotional element reminiscent of Sugarland’s smash hit Stay.
Sprinkled in are fast-paced numbers such as The Old Me about Sweeney’s hell-raising alter ego, and Helluva Heart, a heartbreak song with a catchy, fist-pumping melody.
Missing from the album is a song that made me fall in love with Sweeney when I saw her live in Nashville: Everybody Else Can Kiss My Ass. (That’s the kind of song you’d be hard-pressed to find on Carrie Underwood’s next album!) Here’s hoping that song finds its way onto the deluxe edition. Or maybe it was written too late to make it onto the album… who knows, but that’s the kind of stuff country music has been lacking from its female artists.
With Republic Nashville’s promotional power and Sweeney’s talent, personality and song repertoire, she is positioned to be the next big female country act. Every couple of years an album needs to come around to give country music (and especially female artists) a rejuvenation. “Concrete” is it. Everybody else can kiss my ass.