In the opening song on Sunny Sweeney’s new album Trophy she is sitting on a barstool, probably in some Nashville dive bar somewhere, ordering herself a drink or five and spilling out her heart. Exploring the everyday hurt of life is central to this album, and she is served well by the gorgeous classic country sound evoked throughout.
The stand out track here is Bottle By My Bed, a song about Sweeney’s longing for a child. To write with such honesty about her own personal troubles with infertility was no easy feat and she eventually worked with Lori McKenna to finish the song. Despite the heavy subject matter the sadness never overwhelms the beauty of the song. The final two words ‘we wait’ reminds us there is always hope, even in the darkest of times. I doubt there will be a better country song this year.
Sweeney might have matured but she hasn’t left behind her sass entirely. Better Bad Idea is an outlaw love song that nods to her rock influences, with a riff reminiscent of Queens of the Stone Age. Another song with bite is the title track and perhaps the only false note on this otherwise perfect album. Writing a song attacking your husband’s ex just seems to me to be a little mean-spirited considering the depth of compassion seen elsewhere on this record.
This album is commercial enough to be enjoyed by the masses but thankfully it is has no interest in the current sound of poop, sorry pop, country. Trophy deserves to be listened to by a wide audience and you can only hope such quality will find the success it deserves.