Sunny Sweeney
Married Alone
Thirty Tigers/Aunt Daddy Records

Country Songs That Are Double Dipped in Sour Mash, Then Rolled in Heartbreak!

Without being a ‘spoiler’; this album couldn’t be any more ‘Country’ if it was double dipped in Sour Mash and then rolled in heartbreak!
Opening track, Tie Me Up is the type of (female) Country Song that people wearing Willie or Dolly t-shirts think doesn’t get made anymore …. but they are wrong, wrong, wrong.
It’s not as kinky as the title at first suggests; as Sunny firmly tells her man ….
You can tie me up
You can take my time
You can tattoo your name on this heart of mine
You can tie me up
…… but you can’t tie me down!

Let’s just say Sunny Sweeney is a ‘spirited’ woman …. and pretty much ‘speaks’ to and for women everyware; especially on the finely detailed Wasting One On You; where she tells ‘him’ that she isn’t wasting anymore cigarettes worrying about him and his dalliances.
How’d I End Up Lonely Again is a Country Heartbreaker that will get repeat plays in houses and apartments late at night all over the world when the kids are fast asleep; and the lonely female can’t get any sleep at all.
There are a lot of men who will associate with Fool Like Me, which follows a similar trajectory, with Sunny pouring her broken heart out over a stark piano and intricate and claustrophobic backing from the band shadowing her.
I’ve got a whole collection of heartbreak songs in Blues, Rock and even Folk varieties but nobody ‘gets it’ better than a Country singer; and Sunny Sweeney does it better than most.
Invariable singing about a broken heart from the bottom of her own heart and making each word sound like she’s lived the story herself, with the crunchy Country Rock Ballad Leaving Is My Middle Name being one of the best; and when you hear the opening lines, when she tells you that it’s not always the man’s fault and make you take a deep breath so as not to miss a note ….
I came here tonight for a good time
I can have one of those on my own
Thanks for the wine, but just keep in mind
I’m looking to leave here alone
I’m a heartache waiting to happen
I’m a chance you don’t want to take
One your Mama warned you about
A chance you don’t wanna take!”

There are so many memorable songs here, it’s hard to believe this is still only Sunny’s 5th album in 15 years; the writing, phrasing and invariably the arrangements are superb and far more ‘genuine’ Country than anything you will hear on Country Radio or see at the CMA’s.
There’s no filler here; and at times Sunny Sweeney even takes huge risks with the way she creates her songs; not least the closing song Still Here, when if you close your eyes you would think you were listening to Nanci Griffith; and much earlier on A Song Can’t Fix Everything she bares her soul alongside Paul Cauthen, without the aid of a safety net; and then on Easy as Hello she enters Stevie Nicks territory, in words and deeds and comes out totally unscathed.
Choosing a Favourite Song here is as difficult as ever; as each individual song has touched me and/or tugged at my heartstrings at one time or another; but the title track Married Alone is actually quite astonishing; even by Country standards; and I’d gamble there’s not a person who hears this duet with Vince Gill doesn’t wipe a tear from their eye; even if they are in the stablest of relationships (like I am!), especially when the pair combine on the chorus
There may be rings on our fingers, but we’re married alone,”
a the pedal-steel wails in the background like a coyote on the prairie that smells imminent death.
Just shading that beautiful heartbreaker, is actually the song that follows it and the one that provides the light to a lot of shade; Someday You’ll Call My Name, a co-write with RMHQ friend, Miss Brennen Leigh; which is Country Rock Deluxe; and when you first hear it you presume it’s another break-up song; albeit a cracker ….. but it was actually first written ten years ago when Sunny Sweeney was a struggling songwriter and this was/is an FU to all those ‘suits’ that turned her down!
This really is a Country album that I can’t recommend highly enough; and after many years flying under the radar has all the hallmarks of being a game changer for this fabulous singer AND songwriter.

Released September 23rd 2022


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.