Sunny Sweeney, ‘Concrete’ – Album Review
Sunny Sweeney's latest album may largely fly under the radar. The blond Texan hasn't had a big radio hit yet, nor has she found a plum opening slot on a major tour this summer. Don't let either of these blanks on her resume cast a shadow upon the quality of the 10 songs on 'Concrete,' however. It's the mature and focused project one usually gets from an artist on his or her third or fourth effort.
The seven songs Sweeney co-wrote come from her sorted personal life. Until recently, it'd been a hard couple of years for the 35-year-old singer. She wears the memories from a few failed relationships like a rain-soaked sweater. They're uncomfortable, not always pretty and difficult to shed. Her first two singles, 'From a Table Away' and 'Staying's Worse Than Leaving,' find the singer writing on the edges of her emotions. Then she was courageous enough to record what she wrote along that same sharp ridge. One slip and things could go horribly wrong, but Sweeney never slips. After 'Amy' and 'Worn Out Heart' it's clear she's spent a lot of time along that rail.
'Drink Myself Single' is one of the singer's favorites on the album, and her enthusiasm pours through. "Bottle of red / Bottle of white / Which one will it be / I can't decide / I guess I'll find out when I drink those bottles dry," she sings with enthusiasm. But the uptempo country rocker doesn't stray from the album's theme. Some songs only add a dash of heartache, while others -- like 'Helluva Heart' -- serve up a shattered heart as a main course. This album works because Sweeney doesn't wallow in self-pity. Most of these emotional songs are performed with a touch of sarcasm, and a surprising majority are fast-paced and fun.
'Concrete' is the best album from a new artist this year. Technically it's the singer's second album, but the first was released with so little fanfare that it's plenty safe to call this her debut album. Fans of a more traditional country sound will find this project flawless.