Sunny Side Up and Down
Here's a consummate country album of sass and heartbreak, the poles of their varying narratives a kind of caustic confessional in its overall effect. The mood is as varied as the content, from the dark humour of opener You Don't Know Your Husband where a mistress explains to a wife just what and where precisely - very precisely - her husband is, to the painful honesty of My Bed about a relationship/marriage that has collapsed into the nothingness of you're just sleeping in my bed and I don't touch you, I just turn out the light, a duet with Will Hoge. Further but similar emotive range is exemplified in the pretty Sunday Dress where a daughter allows a mother to deflect interest in the love-lost pain her daughter is suffering, the context of a classic small-town Sunday community's concern accentuating how heartache isn't alleviated by the simplistic notion of such communal intrusion, and then the ballsy anthem celebrating working class values in upbeat closer Everybody Else Can Kiss My Ass. Throughout, Sunny Sweeney sings front and centre with confidence, a certainty that comes from these self-penned songs being written about a real marriage break-up - amongst other candid thoughts and feelings - as well as the Country clarity of her unaffected Texan vocal. The album cover clearly disproves the idea that Americans do not understand irony, her name and title line Provoked that runs across and covers her mouth a comic antithesis to how compelled Sunny is to articulate any and all personal feelings she has, provoked merely by having them. This is an album of the most engaging honesty, both in expression and music.