Album Review – “Married Alone” by Sunny Sweeney

How the hell did we get to this point where the predominant performers of country music are those namby-pambys in designer jeans rapping about their fucking trucks, and puff pop castoffs cooing about their stupid boyfriends? Country music is meant to be the place on the dial for regret, self-loathing and brutal honesty – where the broken-hearted and the thrice-divorced go to sympathize. Screw your silly party into a cornfield.

Luckily for us, Sunny Sweeney came as a counterbalance with his excellent new album. married alone. It’s country. The stories cut to the bone. From one-night stands, to waning love, to loveless marriages that have lost all hope, this is country music for adults, but adults still trying to embrace adulthood. It’s also for people who just like kickass songs that are actually country.

Sunny Sweeney has been divorced twice herself, and in country music you aren’t afraid of your failed relationships, you talk about them too much and wear them as a badge of courage. They are collateral goods, like a stay in prison for a minor offence. Co-writing all but a few of the songs on the album, Sunny Sweeney puts her life of struggle with frayed relationships and a busyness that puts her on the road into songs you can feel and buy in a way that’s palpably coming from completely out of this world. ‘she. This is not fiction or cosplay. This is a biography of Sunny Sweeney set to song.

Paul Cauthen is the one Sunny chose to be the producer of married alone, moving on from his former producer Dave Brainard. Paul Cauthen is a big name, but to be honest, he’s someone who’s been getting into some weird stuff lately that doesn’t always sound like country. But starting with the first song “Tie Me Up,” which has been a fan favorite for a while now, you’re reassured and relieved about where this album is headed. “Tie Me Up” is a straight honky-tonker beaten by Waylon. The first single released from the album, “A Song Can’t Fix Everything”, featured Paul Cauthen, and is covered in steel guitar.

In fact, it may be the most country album of Sunny Sweeney’s career, and she continues to get more country as time goes on. Let’s not forget that she started out in Nashville signing to Big Machine Records and releasing singles to mainstream country radio. Now, Sunny Sweeney is perhaps the closest our generation has come to an outlaw country queen, not just in sound, but in what she sings about: chasing loneliness with one-night stands. , going from wanting true love to refusing to be grounded. down.

Top-flight songwriters like Lori McKenna, Brennen Leigh, Josh Morningstar and more come in to help refine and focus Sunny’s stories, resulting in some truly excellent tracks. “Married Alone” with Vince Gill entering with its high harmonies is worth title track status. Caitlyn Smith co-wrote “Want You To Miss Me” chronicles a selfish, yet common, post-relationship sentiment that many experience. “All I Don’t Need” composed with Lori McKenna perfectly illustrates the conflict between the head and the heart.

If this album creates a point of frustration, it’s how it reinforces that producer Paul Cauthen can partake in some really good country music whenever he wants. The album also offers good textures by exploring various approaches to songs that still fall within the range of country music styles.

But let’s face it, Sunny Sweeney is his own wife. It’s his approach and his songs that make this album what it is. It’s his honesty, and the way the feelings blend perfectly with the music that make married alone a prime example of everything country music is meant to be.

1 3/4 guns raised (8/10)

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