Heaping helping of high-profile local LPs
Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., Oct. 31, 2014
On third effort Provoked, Sunny Sweeney tackles all the emotions she's cycled through since her breakthrough, 2011's Concrete. The Houston native's suffered enough professional and personal hard knocks to fill a novel yet manages to whittle it all down to 13 songs with swagger, wit, and a touch of vulnerability. Like a 21st century Loretta Lynn, Sweeney remains unafraid to speak her mind and let the blowback settle where it may. How else can one explain a barn burner like "Everybody Else Can Kiss My Ass"? The Grand Ole Opry vet demonstrates a confident and rowdy side ("You Don't Know Your Husband," "Bad Girl Phase"), but also downshifts into poignant moments like the shimmering "Find Me" and "My Bed," an aching duet with Will Hoge that captures the end of a marriage. Provoked again fulfills Sweeney's potential as a thoughtful, effective songwriter, a near perfect antidote to what ails today's brand of country music.