One of the joys of The Long Road Festival is how fast artists that you previously didn't know suddenly become established favourites, such was the trajectory in our hearts for Sunny Sweeney, The first time we had seen her was as special guest with Marty Stuart and then spending an hour with her at the mornings Songwriters Round convinced us that ee also needed to see her with a full band.
The full band experience offered a new insight to Sunny as a performer but one thing remained the same and that was the quality of her writing which shone through on every number.
With a title like "you Can Tie Me Up ( You Can't Tie Me Down)" you could hardly fail to go wrong and this tale of female independance driven along by guitars both electric and pedal steel came with a host of quotable lines delivered with impeccable style by Sunny.
Immediately launching into a rocker in the shape of "Please Be San Antone", Sunny was smiling as she was singing clearly loving every second of being on the Rhinesotne stage.
At the songwriters round, a few hours earlier, Sunny had told us that "Staying's Worse Than Leaving" came with a great duitar solo that she couldn't play and sure enough the full band version rocked as did the solo!
The afternoon would see a steady increase in volume as the day progressed in readiness for The Cadillac Three late rin the day, Sunny managed to hit the perfect balance between playing and volume. Things got a little rootsier with "Pills" which came as a question "Are You Still Taking Them Pills?"
Supremely confident on stage Sunny just laid down one cracking tune after another "Easy As Hello" was another classic once again driven along by the rhythm and pedal steel to give the perfeact backing for Sunny to sing over. Announcing "Mama's Wine" as a bit of western swing, this was quite possibly as overtly country sounding as anything we would hear all weekend. In a somewhat strange interlude "Grow Old With Me" slowed the pace a little, a song dedicated to Sunny's dog, brought vividly to life by an audience member holding up their dog for Sunny to see, which ellicited the commment "I Think I'm About To Cry!"
It simply was a set that kept on giving, never more so than her "cheating song", "From A Table Away", beautifully written and classily delivered, one of the performances to relish from the weekend. Sunny has a new album due in the next few weeks, and hearing "Leaving Is My Middle Name" slightly slower paced song did nothing but whet the appetite, a song about a hellraiser giving warning about the troubles dating her will bring. Things eventually had to end after a highly entralling set with the "The Old Me", a rootsy pub rocker of a song. There are a few artists that can play a set that is completely new to to you yet they all sound like all favourtes, Sunny is one of those artists, Showing a great sense of humour and smart line in wirting Sunny closed by saying she can't wait to come back and frankly the sooner she returns the better.
The Long Road festival returns 25th-27th August 2023.
Sunny Sweeney's new album , "Married Alone" is released September 23rd