Who needs another mainstream country singer? It's a good question, especially if it's just one more hat telling you his girl likes to fish or that the USA will kick your ass. But if the singer is Sunny Sweeney, with a fetching twang straight out of East Texas and a nascent knack for songwriting, well, I do.
Sweeney has been trying to crash the country charts since at least 2007. Now, with her second album, she's finally getting some traction with airplay for the Concrete singles "From A Table Away" and "Staying's Worse Than Leaving." Of the two, "Staying," about a woman walking out on faded love, is not only stronger, it's a kickass midtempo performance, hinging on her drawl and pushing her toward the territory of Kasey Chambers and Lucinda Williams. "Amy" is almost as good, a cheatin' song told by the Other Woman with gentle fiddle accompaniment, pedal steel, and harmony singing behind Sweeney's sweet voice, which manages to get three or four syllables out of "bed" and "bad."
Sweeney says she has what she likes to think is a healthy obsession with Merle Haggard. If she stops thinking about the charts and lets that show, she could be timeless.