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Sunny Sweeney & Ward Davis

Sunny Sweeney & Ward Davis

Tennessee Jet

Sat, August 11, 2018

Doors: 8:30 pm / Show: 9:30 pm

$20.00 - $100.00

Tickets at the Door

This event is 18 and over

Sunny Sweeney
Sunny Sweeney
Sunny Sweeney is the party and the morning after. She’s the quip that makes you laugh
and the truth that makes you cry, the devil that's egging you on and the angel
whispering that you aren’t alone. But those compelling contradictions aren’t what’s most
interesting about Sweeney: it’s the depth and brazen authenticity she brings to all her
roles that grabs you and won’t let go.
“I’ve grown up doing the bar scenes, and you have to have drinking and partying songs
there-–you have to,” Sweeney says. “Now, my songs are still about the same things, but
I feel like they’re more mature versions.”
Sweeney’s salty wisdom and Texas-hewn soprano have never sounded stronger than
they do on Trophy, her anticipated new album. Trophy is a breakthrough––the album
we all suspected she was capable of making. The wit and honesty that have always
defined her stone-cold country have blossomed into confessional, complex songwriting
for grown-ups, still whiskey-drenched and honk-tonk-ready. Drugs, death, the ex-wife,
drinking, devotion, and longing for a child: it’s all here, raw and real.
“I have not felt this good about music in a really long time,” Sweeney says from her front
porch in Texas. “I’m really excited.”
The success of artists including Margo Price, Brandy Clark, Kacey Musgraves, Miranda
Lambert, and others make it seem like the world is more open now than ever before to
smart women singing smart country. It’s about time. Sweeney is a veteran of the trade,
and has logged her miles the old-school way. A three-year residency at the Poodle Dog
Lounge in Austin––“It was a dump,” she says. “They didn’t even have a credit card
machine or liquor license.”––along with improv and stand-up comedy experience went a
long way toward teaching her how to hold a room of cynical drunks in the palm of her
hand.
The mastery of holes in the wall, major label stint, and serious songwriting chops make
Sweeney something of a rarity: an artist with barroom cred, mainstream validation, and
songs meaty enough for listening rooms. Or, as Rolling Stone put it in September 2016:
“Sweeney is one of the rare entertainers who can hold her own at CMA Fest as well as
AmericanaFest.”
Produced by Grammy nominee Dave Brainard (Brandy Clark’s 12 Stories) and recorded
at Sound Emporium and Decibel Studios in Nashville, Trophy goes 10 songs deep
without a single throwaway line. While Sweeney wrote with her longtime favorites
including Monty Holmes, Buddy Owens and Jay Clementi, she has expanded her circle
of collaborators in recent years. Lots of time writing with Lori McKenna, Caitlyn Smith,
Heather Morgan, and others resulted in a deck that’s refreshingly stacked: most of the
songs on the album were written by women. “I feel like I have branched out a little in the
writing department,” Sweeney says. “And the record I ended up writing was pretty
heavily written with females. While Sweeney didn’t intentionally set out to write almost
exclusively with women, the resulting songs capture the feminine experience with a
combination of nuance, humor, and accuracy only possible because of the source.
Album opener “Pass the Pain” is a perfect example of Sweeney canvassing familiar
territory in a more complex way. “It’s a drinking song,” she says. “It all actually
happened when I was going through my divorce.” Eased into with steel guitar and
plaintive piano, the song begins with an indignant Sweeney demanding another round,
but her brash confidence soon melts into a forlorn apology to the bartender reluctantly
pouring her drinks, making the interaction and the hurt all the more real and sad.
“Bottle by My Bed” explores a different kind of heartbreak with breathless candor. “I only
call my husband baby cause I love that word / never wanted something so bad, that it
hurts / even give up these damned old cigarettes / if I could have a bottle by my bed.”
Written with the awe-inspiring McKenna, the song lays Sweeney’s soul bare and
captures the agony of not having a child when it’s all you want. “That song is where I’m
at right now in my life,” she says. “It’s the worst pain ever. When I wrote it with Lori, I
never really even imagined singing it live––I certainly never thought I’d record it. Didn’t
think I had the balls to do it.” Thankfully, she did. The song is important, not just
because of Sweeney’s gut-wrenching delivery, but because it tells a story too seldom
told.
Sweeney wrote a total of four songs with McKenna for the record. “She’s my spirit
animal,” Sweeney says of McKenna. The pair’s “Grow Old with Me” is a tender ode to
finally finding love that can last. “Trophy” is a wry takedown of Sweeney’s husband’s exwife.
A slow burn with finger snaps and sauntering bass, the song reclaims an insult and
makes it a compliment to laugh-out-loud effect. “Nothing Wrong with Texas,” grapples
with returning to a home that has an outsized identity you needed to escape before
realizing it completes you.
The album’s two covers sound like they could have been penned by Sweeney herself.
Chris Wall’s subtly brilliant waltz “I Feel Like Hank Williams Tonight” has never been in
better hands. “Pills,” written by Brennen Leigh and Noel McKay, tackles addiction and
impending overdose with jarring empathy and cleverness. “It’s a story about real life,”
Sweeney says of the song. “Brennen is one of my best friends, and we think a lot alike.”
Perhaps most of all, Trophy is proof Sweeney knows exactly what she wants. “There’s a
lot of personal stuff on this record,” she says. “I feel like the songs that get the strongest
reaction are the ones that are the most truthful––the ones that have emotion. That’s my
job as a writer: to evoke some kind of emotion. I want everybody who hears this album
to come away with something, whether it’s to feel like they’re not alone or inspired or
like they want to laugh. I just want them to feel something
Ward Davis
Ward Davis
Ward Davis is an American Singer/Songwriter from Nashville, Tennessee. Born in Monticello, Arkansas, Ward moved to Nashville in 2000 and has since had songs recorded by Trace Adkins, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Wade Hayes, Sammy Kershaw, Bucky Covington, Jimmie Van Zant, Buddy Jewel, Carolina Rain, The Roys, and many others. He is known for co-writing “I’m Not The Devil” with Cody Jinks. Ward and his band, The Beagles, were featured and performed on the A&E reality series, Crazy Hearts: Nashville in early 2014. He is set to release a new album some time in 2018.
Tennessee Jet
Tennessee Jet
Tennessee Jet is a one-man Americana-rock band from Nashville influenced by the hard-core honky-tonk of Dwight Yoakam, the writings of John Steinbeck, and the raw minimalism of The White Stripes.
Venue Information:
The Cabooze
917 Cedar Ave
Minneapolis, MN, 55404
http://www.cabooze.com