My first introduction to Sunny Sweeney was back in 2010 when she released her single “From a Table Away” to Country radio. Back then, Sweeney was signed to Republic Nashville as the first artist on the new label which was part of Big Machine. “From a Table Away” was the lead single to Concrete which produced 3 top 40 singles including the top 10 hit “From a Table Away.” After a couple disappointing single performances Sweeney was let go from her label and after which time she signed with the independent label Thirty Tigers with whom she has released her last two albums with. Sweeney’s last album Provoked was a really good album from the Texas singer which gave me high hopes for her newest album Trophy.
Highlights: This album for me is full of highlights so let me start with what I think is the best song on the album which also happens to be the final song. “Unsaid” is about someone that you love dying suddenly and you regretting all of the things that you didn’t get to say to them. The person in this song didn’t get to say she was sorry for whatever she did to the deceased and didn’t get the opportunity to say goodbye. What adds to a well written song is the instrumentation on this song. It starts off with a very subdued acoustic guitar before the chorus transitions to an orchestra sound with drums in the background. Another powerful song on this album is “Bottle By My Bed” which feels extremely personal to Sweeney. As she gets older all of her friends are having families and children and they all are jealous of the life that their friend gets to live. What they don’t know is she would trade all of it to have a bottle by her bed. More than anything in the world, she wishes to have a child of her own. It reminds me a little bit of “Pushing Time” from Miranda Lambert’s new album. The music on the cover “I Feel Like Hank Williams Tonight” is incredible. It starts off with a harmonica and then the heavy peddle steel comes in and steals my heart before a fiddle comes in. The story is told from a male point of view and tells the story of the woman calling up the man on the phone and telling him that it’s over. The narrator describes how they play different music depending on what type of mood they are in and tonight, they feel like listening to Hank Williams. “Pass the Pain” starts off with some more heavy pedal steel and details the interaction between the woman and the bartender. The bartender is concerned with the amount of alcohol the woman is drinking but, she knows exactly what she is doing. She has been at the bar all day and knows the alcohol isn’t getting rid of her pain yet, she continues to order more alcohol. She tells the barkeep that if her money is still good to just do your job and pass her the pain.
Other Notable Songs: The albums lead single is a fun song called “Better Bad Idea.” She doesn’t want to play it safe she wants to get loaded and follow her bad idea. The opening fiddle play on “Nothing Wrong With Texas” made me love the song after about two seconds. It feels like another autobiographical song that describes what Sunny and other Texas artists go through after they try to make it in Nashville before heading back to Texas. “Spent so much time running around in that big old Pontiac. Time to go back to where I learned what respect is, there’s nothing wrong with Texas.” In the albums title track the narrator describes the situation between her man, his ex and her. The ex never treated him right and now blames the other woman for taking her boyfriend. The truth is however that the ex is just a jealous fool and now her ex has a trophy (her) for putting up with the ex’s nonsense. “Why People Change” is another song that reminds me of Miranda Lambert’s album The Weight of These Wings. In the beginning of the song Sunny is giving the guitarist instructions on when to come in in the song which adds to the organic, old school feel. The song begs the question of why people change so drastically. She was once in a relationship that she thought would last forever before the relationship unraveled.
Final Thoughts/Grade: If the year ended today this would be my album of the year. I have waited for an album to blow me away in 2017 and even though there have been plenty of albums that I have liked this year, this is perfection. This album is my favorite not only as a critic but as a fan. I would also say that “Unsaid” is probably my song of the year up to this point as well. The mix of Traditional country, outlaw and Americana makes the album feel shorter than it really is. There is no point during the album where you feel bored or feel that a song doesn’t belong. What a tremendous album by a tremendous woman. My grade for the album is an A+