Sunny Sweeney – Honky Tonks and Heartaches
|Sunny Sweeney – by Todd V. Wolfson|
East Texas native Sunny Sweeney was chosen earlier this year as one of our Female Country Music Artists to watch in 2010. I recently had the opportunity to speak with Sunny about her future plans, new single, and where she gets her funny sense of humor. She first came onto the scene a few years ago with the rapid-fire song, “If I Could,” from the album “Heartbreakers Hall of Fame.” These days, she has been busy songwriting with the likes of Pam Tillis, preparing for a new album, playing the Grand Ole Opry, and recording a cut on the upcoming Waylon Jennings tribute album.
Sunny Sweeney is known for her sassy and comical personality along with musical talents. When asked where she got that spunk, she credits her mom and oldest sister. “The stuff that happens to us just does not happen to everyone I’m convinced. There’s been times at Thanksgiving where I was sure our family was being Punk’d,” Sweeney recalls. “It all just lends itself to having a good sense of humor. We would have never made it through otherwise. I don’t have unfunny people around me because I love laughing more than I love anything.”
She has also confessed her love for the Chelsea Handler Show and hopes to be on it one day. I asked her why that particular show and Sweeney said that Handler is, “the funniest human being on the planet. I love laughing and making fun of myself like she does and I just think we would get along great. I love women that aren’t scared to say it how it is in a funny way.” Hopefully she will be booked on the Chelsea Handler Show soon and make a good comedic performance.
Sweeney also has a serious side through her songwriting and performing talents. When she sings about heartache, you feel it in the tone of her voice that is reminiscent of Tammy Wynette and Loretta Lynn. Her songs are based on life situations that can be experienced by anyone who has felt love or fell out of it. She also adds her honky tonk fever in songs such as “Worn out Heart,” which is perfect to listen to while driving down the road of freedom. You can tell that she is serious about her songwriting and releasing those thoughts through lyrics, a melody, and performance. Samples of her latest demos can be heard on her Myspace page.
Having an influence of Loretta Lynn, Merle Haggard, Kitty Wells, Dolly Parton, and many other traditional artists, it is evident that she is helping preserve traditional country music. Recently, she was asked to sing “Good Hearted Woman” with Jessi Colter on a Waylon Jennings Tribute. She is also singing with Randy Houser on “Ramblin Man” on the tribute album. Houser is one that she would love to co-write a song with one day and has been brought up several times through other connections. The tribute album will be released later in 2010.
Sweeney recently played her seventeenth show at the Grand Ole Opry, the first time being March 2, 2007. In remembering that experience, Sweeney says, “Literally, I got through about half a verse and cried my way through the rest of the song. I walked off the stage and saw Pete Fisher and said ‘Well thank you, I cannot believe I got to sing and cry at the Opry.’ I was thinking he would never ever let me play there again after that.” Thankfully for her and country music fans, he said, “Next time you’ll get another song.” Sweeney replied with, “There’s gonna be a next time?” Fortunately for Opry listeners, she continues to come back and show them that she is a honky tonk angel when it comes to singing.
Country music fans won’t have to wait too much longer for new material from Sunny Sweeney. Her newest single, “Staying’s Worse Than Leaving,” is shipping on April 4th and going for radio adds at the end of April. Fans can preview the single on Sunny’s myspace at www.myspace.com/sunnysweeney. A video for the single is being shot soon and she will be finishing up the recording for the new record. In describing the tunes, Sweeney said to, “be expecting to hear songs reflecting the journey within the last year or so for me” as those experiences helped pen words to lyrics.
It seems in this day and age an artist must have an active social network in order to have a stronghold in the business. When asked if artists today have to remain a constant connection with fans via social networking, Sweeney replied that, “I think it is very pertinent that we use these tools. They are free most importantly, which for artists is always good. I think that it’s an easy way to let fans into your life and advertise what’s going on in your life.” She has kept fans connected these days through her Myspace, Facebook, and Twitter.
Being one that enjoys playing at a good honky tonk, I asked Sunny for her recommendations of one in Texas and Nashville. She was to say that her favorites are Ginny’s Little Longhorn in Austin, TX and Roberts Western World or Crossroads in Nashville. “My friend Buddy Owens plays at Crossroads every week and he’s got himself a tight little country band. The only problem in Nashville is that no one dances, so going to his shows usually results in me dancing alone!” You can take the girl out of Texas, but you cannot take the Texas out of Sunny!
One thing is for sure, fans won’t be dancing alone when it comes to the musical talents from this honky tonk queen. Be sure to check her out at the following links below for music and updates.
Jessica Blankenship is the owner and founder of Kentucky Country Music website with over 20 years experience in music journalism, concert planning, photography, and promotion. Jessica is a Kentucky Colonel and alumni of the 2019 Leadership Kentucky BRIGHT Class and a recipient of the Laurel County’s Ten Under 40 Award. Listen to her each week on WFKY on Friday mornings for the Nashville News Roundup.