Concrete (Republic Nashville)
Reviewed by Doug Freeman, Fri., Sept. 30, 2011
Sunny SweeneyConcrete (Republic Nashville)
Sunny Sweeney's got the chops: a hard-bitten Texas twang that can cut with both coyness and attitude, unapologetic about the kind of country she was raised on. Which is what makes the Longview native's sophomore LP so disappointing. Concrete is gritty but so watered down by contemporary Nashville arrangements that nothing sticks. Every musical turn is predictable and trite: the electric guitar licks and country-rock fiddle of opener "Drink Myself Single," the steel accents of unconvincing regret on "From a Table Away," the verse-closing hard stops of "Worn Out Heart." Worse is that Sweeney doesn't seem to be convincing herself either, whether pleading on "It Wrecks Me" and "Staying's Worse Than Leaving" or partying on "The Old Me." The only exception is "Amy," which rises simple and earnest as the session hands take a backseat. Sweeney needs more instinct and less influence.