Single Review: Sunny Sweeney – ‘Staying’s Worse Than Leaving’
April 14, 2011
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Like Ashton Shepherd, Sunny Sweeney has spent the past couple of years struggling to get new music released and stay alive commercially. And like Shepherd, Sweeney has had to tweak her sound just enough to find some mainstream acceptance, but not enough to be labeled a sellout. She managed to find the right balance on her recent single and first Top 10 hit “From A Table Away”.
Her latest release, “Staying’s Worse Than Leaving”, which Sunny co-wrote with Brennan Leigh is in a similar vein. Producer Brett Beavers has included plenty of prominent electric guitar work and drums to appeal to contemporary tastes, but there is also a generous amount of pedal steel, fiddle, and Sunny’s East Texas twang, which is the glue that holds the recording together. The first few electric guitar notes sound like the intro to an old Ray Price record, but things quickly take a more contemporary turn as the song gets underway. It deals with a couple confronting each other about the state of their broken relationship and reluctantly concluding that it’s better to go their separate ways than to stay together. The tune, which is surprisingly upbeat given the subject matter, was apparently not influenced by Sweeney’s own recent divorce.
Although I thoroughly enjoyed Sunny’s 2006 album Heartbreaker’s Hall of Fame, it was obvious that nothing from that collection had any serious shot at mainstream success. Her recent EP should serve as a primer on how to broaden one’s mainstream appeal without sacrificing the country elements. There’s no reason to expect that “Staying’s Worse Than Leaving” won’t follow “From A Table Away” into the Top 10. Country radio will be greatly improved if it embraces artists like Sunny Sweeney.
“Staying’s Worse Than Leaving” is available for individual download, but I strongly recommend buying her entire 5-track EP, which is available from both Amazon and iTunes.