Jessica Bray is the owner and founder of Kentucky Country Music website. The Berea College graduate has been a music journalist and historian for over 20 years. She enjoys providing concert photography, reviews, historical articles, red carpet event coverage, and exclusive interviews of your favorite musicians. Jessica is proud to be a Kentucky Colonel and alumni of the FFA and 4-H Clubs. In 2018, she was named one of Laurel County’s Ten Under 40 Award Recipients. In 2019, she was a member of the Inaugural class of BRIGHT Kentucky as part of Leadership Kentucky. She has been featured on the Kentucky Music Preview podcast, Overtones radio show, WFKY Nashville News Roundup, KET, and more. Beyond music, she enjoys traveling, helping her community, collecting gnomes, and Volkswagens.
Seven years ago, I sat perched up on a seat at Bluebird Cafe in Nashville while on stage in the row sat Sunny Sweeney, Danielle Peck, Lisa Torres, and Karleen Watt. It was the first time that Sunny announced that she had been going through a divorce and showcasing the songs that reflected on the heartache and overcoming the hardships. I sat there with tears flowing out of my eyes realizing my own marriage at the time was failing. A few months down the road, I got out of that marriage through a divorce. Oddly enough, my divorce party was watching Sunny Sweeney on the Grand Ole Opry and meeting Little Jimmy Dickens (who has always been a musical hero for me).
A lot has changed in those seven years. I moved back to my hometown and eventually found my one true love that I would then marry. Sunny Sweeney’s career path has led her to release several albums along the way, marrying her true love, and releasing her latest album, Trophy. Ironically, it is the stuff you NEED to hear and WANT to hear coming from a grown woman’s perspective. Let me tell you, some pop tart singing about Peter Pan love stories don’t really strike a chord with me. Give me something real, not some fairy tale.
That is when you grow as a songwriter, singer, and as a human. Life isn’t a fairy tale and you deal with the harsh reality of what is handed to you. With “Bottle By My Bed,” many females, including myself, can relate to the struggle of wanting to have a child, but have to accept the fact that you may never get that blessing. Whether it be due to infertility, a medical condition, or other matters, nothing is more personal and hits harder when others equate “success” in a woman’s life by having a child of their own.
Sunny Sweeney’s touch of twang and sass is perfectly heard with “Pass the Pain” and “I Feel Like Hank Williams Tonight.” The heartache is felt throughout her vocals as she tries to get over a love gone bad. You could easily say, it is a modern-day tune that even Loretta Lynn could sing herself.
As soon as I heard “Better Bad Idea” with the catchy percussion and flirty lyrics, I immediately thought of some of the tunes of rockabilly legend Wanda Jackson. Just the pure attitude brought out with the drive throughout the song shows that this should be a radio hit.
Leaving for Nashville, only to return to her roots in Texas, as one grows up, they realized that there is “Nothing Wrong with Texas,” just as the song goes. We all want to leave our town upon graduating high school. However, you realize what you always needed and wanted is right there and there is nothing wrong with it.
When you find your honest to goodness true love, even after years of searching, you know when that person is the one you want to grow old together. One of my favorite songs on the album is “Grow Old With Me” as it reflects on the good times shared thus far. It also provides the promise that together is the best place to be in this world.
Lord bless those that have to deal with your spouse’s ex, especially one who thrives on attention and can’t do anything for themselves. With the slithering “Trophy,” Sunny is very sly in singing how her husband does have a trophy for putting up with his ex-wife’s ways. In the end, the new wife gets the last laugh and love while the other cries for pity instead of being a strong independent woman.
Emotionally driven, the song “Unsaid” will leave the listener in tears before the end of it. The hardest thing in life is not being able to say the words that you want to someone that has passed away. Sunny Sweeney’s vocal soar high among angels throughout the song. If anything, it leaves you to thinking about your own life and what you say to others.
Come March 10th, you will want to pick up Sunny Sweeney’s album, “Trophy,” in stores, or perhaps via I-tunes. Either way, it is a must have for your music collection. For more on Sunny Sweeney, be sure to check out www.sunnysweeney.com.