Gene Watson Peer’s Quote from Sunny Sweeney: November 2006

Gene Watson’s Peers within the country music industry believe in the sheer talent of this unassuming man from east Texas, so much so that Gene is regarded by many of them as ‘the singer’s singer’ – and rightly so!

All of Gene Watson’s Peers, who were contacted by The Gene Watson Fan Site, during 2006, were most gracious with their time and words.

It is here, within this special part of The Gene Watson Fan Site, that you have an opportunity to read a quote from Sunny Sweeney, which she submitted to this site on Friday 10 November 2006.

Sean Brady would like to take this opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to Sunny Sweeney who has made a special contribution to a unique part of this online ‘celebration of a Lone Star Hero’.

Sunny Sweeney

Sunny Sweeney
This quote was submitted on Friday 10 November 2006.

‘Gene Watson is a bad ass.

He was one of the first bad asses that I remember.

‘Fourteen Carat Mind’, which was written by Dallas Frazier (Friday 27 October 1939 – Friday 14 January 2022) and Larry Lee Favorite (Saturday 6 January 1940 – Saturday 26 May 2001) is still probably my number three or four favourite song ever’

Thank you, Sunny Sweeney, for your support of Gene Watson.

About Sunny Sweeney…

Sunny Sweeney was born Sunny Michaela Sweeney in Houston, Texas on Tuesday 7 December 1976 and was raised in the east Texas town of Longview; from an early age, Sunny Sweeney was encouraged to be a singer.

Sunny Sweeney’s stepfather, who was a musician and songwriter himself, taught Sunny to play guitar after she was given an instrument as a present one Christmas.

In September 2004, Sunny Sweeney played her first ‘real’ gig, fronting her own band, at The Carousel Lounge in Austin, Texas.

In less than a year, Sunny Sweeney was holding down weekly residencies at multiple Austin honky-tonk bars and drawing a crowd at each show which countless other artists in the ‘Live Music Capital of the World’ would kill for.

Sunny Sweeney’s musical influences include Natalie Maines (The Chicks), Kasey Chambers, Merle Haggard (Tuesday 6 April 1937 – Wednesday 6 April 2016) and Loretta Lynn (Thursday 14 April 1932 – Tuesday 4 October 2022).

Sunny Sweeney also scored a short tour of Europe, highlighted by sharing a bill with Dwight Yoakam at a festival in Norway.

In 2004, Sunny Sweeney began playing guitar and writing songs; she formed her own band and booked their first gig in September 2004, which took place at The Carousel Lounge in Austin, Texas.

In 2006, Sunny Sweeney was voted The Academy of Western Artists’ Discovery Award winner as ‘The Most Promising New Artist’.

Sunny Sweeney’s debut album, ‘Heartbreaker’s Hall of Fame’ (Big Machine Records, 2007), was recorded in Floresville, Texas and was released (independently) on Friday 3 March 2006, and (nationally in the United States) on Tuesday 6 March 2007.

Sunny Sweeney’s ‘Heartbreaker’s Hall of Fame’ (Big Machine Records, 2007) was co-produced by Sunny Sweeney with producers Tommy Detamore (guitar, pedal steel, lap steel and dobro) and Tom Lewis (drums).

Sunny Sweeney’s debut album, ‘Heartbreaker’s Hall of Fame’ (Big Machine Records, 2007), included three tracks, which were released as singles on the Texas Music Chart:

‘If I Could’ (written by Tim Carroll) / this track was released as a single in 2007, but it did not chart

‘Ten Years Pass’ (written by Sunny Sweeney and Elizabeth Mason) / this track was released as a single in 2007, but it did not chart


‘East Texas Pines’ (written by Libbi Bosworth and Gary Griffin) / this track was released as a single in 2007, but it did not chart

Sunny Sweeney’s debut album, ‘Heartbreaker’s Hall of Fame’ (Big Machine Records, 2007), also included the following tracks:

‘Refresh My Memory’ (written by Jim Lauderdale and John Scott Sherrill)
‘Next Big Nothing’, which was written by Audrey Auld-Mezera (Tuesday 14 January 1964 – Sunday 9 August 2015)
‘Lavender Blue’ (written by Keith Sykes)
‘Here Kinda Lately’ (written by Deron Harris)
‘Heartbreaker’s Hall of Fame’ (written by Sunny Sweeney)
‘Slow Swinging Western Tunes’ (written by Sunny Sweeney)

‘Please Be San Antone’ (written by Jim Lauderdale and Emily Erwin) / the original version of this track was recorded by Jim Lauderdale, who included it on ‘Onward Through It All’ (BNA Records, 1999)

‘Mama’s Opry’ (written by Iris DeMent) / the original version of this track was recorded by Iris Dement, who included it on her debut album, ‘Infamous Angel’ (Warner Bros. Records, 1992)

’16th Avenue’ (written by Thom Schuyler) / the original version of this track was recorded by Lacy J. Dalton, who included it on ’16th Avenue’ (Columbia Records, 1982); Lacy J. Dalton‘s version of the track reached No.7 on the Billboard country music singles chart in 1982

Personnel involved in the recording of Sunny Sweeney’s debut album, ‘Heartbreaker’s Hall of Fame’ (Big Machine Records, 2007), included the following:

Lars Albrecht (electric guitar)
David Carroll (bass guitar)
Gary Wayne Claxton, D.B. Harris, Jim Lauderdale and Eddie ‘Scarlito’ Perez (background vocals)
Tommy Detamore (Dobro, electric guitar, lap steel guitar, pedal steel guitar)
Skip Edwards (Hammond organ)
Bobby Flores (Sunday 18 June 1961 – Thursday 23 June 2022) (fiddle, mandolin)
Terje Kinn (banjo)
Tom Lewis (drums, percussion)
Casper Rawls (acoustic guitar, hi-string guitar)
Ted Roddy (harmonica)
Sunny Sweeney (lead vocals, background vocals)

The Grand Ole Opry, Nashville: Sunny Sweeney

On Friday 2 March 2007, Sunny Sweeney made her debut on the hallowed stage of The Grand Ole Opry in Nashville; it was country music legend Little Jimmy Dickens (Sunday 19 December 1920 – Friday 2 January 2015) who introduced her onstage on that occasion.

Rodney Hayden: 'Down The Road' (Palomino Records, 2007)

On Tuesday 1 May 2007, Rodney Hayden saw the release of ‘Down The Road’ (Palomino Records, 2007); one of the included tracks was ‘These Arms’ (written by Rodney Hayden and Bill Whitbeck), which featured guest vocals from Sunny Sweeney.

In 2009, Sunny Sweeney was signed as the first artist to Republic Nashville Records, a newly founded joint venture between Big Machine Records and Universal Republic Records.

On Tuesday 18 January 2011, Sunny Sweeney saw the release, as a digital music download, of ‘Sunny Sweeney – EP’ (Republic Nashville Records, 2011), which included the following tracks:

‘Drink Myself Single’ (written by Monty Holmes and Sunny Sweeney)
‘Amy’ (written by Brennen Leigh and Sunny Sweeney)
‘Staying’s Worse Than Leaving’ (written by Jay Clementi, Radney Foster and Sunny Sweeney)
‘Helluva Heart’ (written by Deanna Bryant, Heather Little and Sunny Sweeney)
‘From A Table Away’ (written by Bob DePiero, Karyn Rochelle and Sunny Sweeney)

On Tuesday 23 August 2011, Sunny Sweeney saw the release of ‘Concrete’ (Republic Nashville Records, 2011), which was produced by Brett Beavers, and included three tracks, which were hit singles on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks Chart:

‘From A Table Away’ (written by Sunny Sweeney, Bob DiPiero and Karyn Rochelle) (No.10, 2010) / this track was Sunny Sweeney’s first single and was released on Monday 28 June 2010 / the track debuted at No.58 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks Chart for the week of Saturday 26 June 2010 / in March 2011, the song reached No.10 / the track also reached No.71 on the Billboard Top 200 pop music singles chart in 2010

‘Staying’s Worse Than Leaving’ (written by Sunny Sweeney, Radney Foster and Jay Clementi)
(No.38, 2011)

‘Drink Myself Single’ (written by Sunny Sweeney and Monty Holmes)
(No.36, 2011)

Sunny Sweeney’s ‘Concrete’ (Republic Nashville Records, 2011) also included the following tracks:

‘The Old Me’ (written by Lori McKenna and Mark D. Sanders)
‘Amy’ (written by Sunny Sweeney and Brennen Leigh)
‘Worn Out Heart’ (written by Sunny Sweeney and Brett Beavers)
‘Mean as You’ (written by Brett James, Tim Nichols and Kelley Lovelace)
‘It Wrecks Me’ (written by Sunny Sweeney and Jay Clementi)
‘Helluva Heart’ (written by Sunny Sweeney, Heather Little and Deanna Bryant)
‘Fall for Me’ (written by Lisa Carver, Jaida Dreyer and Carolyn Dawn Johnson)

Personnel involved in the recording of Sunny Sweeney’s ‘Concrete’ (Republic Nashville Records, 2011) included the following:

Steve Brewster and Greg Morrow (drums)
Mike Brignardello and Jimmy Carter (bass guitar)
Bob Britt and J.T. Corenflos (Wednesday 6 November 1963 – Saturday 24 October 2020) (electric guitar)
Nicole Broussard and Russell Terrell (background vocals)
Larry Franklin (fiddle)
Mike Johnson (lap steel guitar)
Mike Rojas (accordion, Hammond B-3 organ, keyboards, piano)
Scotty Sanders (Dobro, steel guitar, lap steel guitar)
Bryan Sutton (acoustic guitar)
Sunny Sweeney (lead vocals)

Sunny Sweeney’s ‘Concrete’ (Republic Nashville Records, 2011) reached No.7 on the Billboard Top Country Albums Chart in 2011, and No.21 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums Chart in 2011.

As of the Billboard chart dated Saturday 24 September 2011, Sunny Sweeney’s ‘Concrete’ (Republic Nashville Records, 2011) had sold 26,418 copies in the United States.

On Friday 11 November 2011, Sunny Sweeney wed her longtime boyfriend, Jeff Hellmer, in a Las Vegas wedding ceremony, which included family and close friends.

In 2012, Sunny Sweeney and Big Machine Records parted ways.

In 2013, Sunny Sweeney signed a recording contract with Thirty Tigers Records.  Sunny Sweeney’s debut single for the label, ‘Bad Girl Phase’ (written by Brandy Clark, Jessie Jo Dillon and Shannon Wright), was released in June 2014.

Although Sunny Sweeney’s debut single for Thirty Tigers Records, ‘Bad Girl Phase’ (written by Brandy Clark, Jessie Jo Dillon and Shannon Wright), did not chart on the Billboard Hot Country Songs Chart, it did reach No.1 on the Texas Music Chart for the chart week of Monday 20 October 2014.  In doing so, Sunny Sweeney became the first female artist to top the chart in over ten years.

Sunny Sweeney: 'Provoked' (Thirty Tigers Records / Aunt Daddy Records, 2014)

Through the fan-sponsored PledgeMusic program, Sunny Sweeney saw the issue of ‘Provoked’ (Thirty Tigers Records / Aunt Daddy Records, 2014), which was released on Tuesday 5 August 2014.

Sunny Sweeney’s ‘Provoked’ (Thirty Tigers Records / Aunt Daddy Records, 2014), was produced by Luke Wooten; Sunny Sweeney co-wrote eleven of the album’s thirteen songs, many of which were inspired by her personal life, which included a divorce from her first husband.

Sunny Sweeney’s ‘Provoked’ (Thirty Tigers Records / Aunt Daddy Records, 2014), debuted at No.165 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums Chart and No.20 on the Billboard Top Country Albums Chart upon its release; the album sold 2,900 copies after two weeks.

Sunny Sweeney’s ‘Provoked’ (Thirty Tigers Records / Aunt Daddy Records, 2014) included three tracks, which were released as singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs Chart:

‘Bad Girl Phase’ (written by Brandy Clark, Jessie Jo Dillon and Shannon Wright) / this track was released as a single in 2014, but it did not chart; however, it did reach No.1 on the Texas Music Chart for the chart week of Monday 20 October 2014.  In doing so, Sunny Sweeney became the first female artist to top the chart in over ten years

‘My Bed’ (written by Ashley Monroe, Angaleena Presley and Sunny Sweeney) / this track, which was a duet with Will Hoge, was released as a single in early 2015, but it did not chart; however, it did reach No.1 on the Texas Music Chart in June 2015 / As a result, Sunny Sweeney became the first female in the history of the Texas Music Chart to score back-to-back No.1 hits

‘Can’t Let Go’ (written by Randy Weeks) / this track was released as a single in 2016, but it did not chart / this track was also recorded by Lucinda Williams and Heidi Newfield

Sunny Sweeney’s ‘Provoked’ (Thirty Tigers Records / Aunt Daddy Records, 2014) also included the following tracks:

‘You Don’t Know Your Husband’ (written by Angaleena Presley, Mark D. Sanders and Sunny Sweeney)
‘Second Guessing’ (written by Natalie Hemby and Sunny Sweeney)
‘Carolina on the Line’ (written by Lance Miller, Sunny Sweeney, Brad Warren and Brett Warren)
‘Find Me’ (written by Jay Clementi, Buddy Owens and Sunny Sweeney)
‘Front Row Seats’ (written by Lance Miller, Sunny Sweeney, Brad Warren and Brett Warren)
‘Uninvited’ (written by Natalie Hemby and Sunny Sweeney)
‘Sunday Dress’ (written by Monty Holmes, Buddy Owens and Sunny Sweeney)
‘Used Cars’ (written by Natalie Hemby and Sunny Sweeney)
‘Backhanded Compliment’ (written by Natalie Hemby and Sunny Sweeney)
‘Everybody Else Can Kiss My Ass’ (written by Brett Beavers, Connie Harrington and Sunny Sweeney)

Personnel involved in the recording of Sunny Sweeney’s ‘Provoked’ (Thirty Tigers Records / Aunt Daddy Records, 2014) included the following:

Isabelle Adams, Molly Bacurin, Elizabeth Cook, Michael Hellmer, Gwen Merrill, Hannah Smith and Emma Wooten (children’s choir)
Jake Clayton (banjo, Dobro, cello, fiddle)
J.T. Corenflos (Wednesday 6 November 1963 – Saturday 24 October 2020) and Gibb Droll (electric guitar)
Fred Eltringham (drums, percussion)
Will Hoge (duet vocals on ‘My Bed’)
Joanna Janét, Gayle Mayes, Angela Primm and Russell Terrell (background vocals)
Mike Johnson (lap steel guitar, pedal steel guitar)
Alison Prestwood (bass guitar)
Mike Rojas (accordion, keyboards, organ)
Steve Sheehan and Bryan Sutton (acoustic guitar)
Sunny Sweeney (lead vocals)
Luke Wooten (electric guitar, kazoo, background vocals)

Sunny Sweeney’s ‘Provoked’ (Thirty Tigers Records / Aunt Daddy Records, 2014) reached No.20 on the Billboard Top Country Albums Chart in 2014, No.25 on the Billboard Independent Albums Chart in 2014, and No.165 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums Chart in 2014.

Sunny Sweeney: 'Trophy' (Aunt Daddy Records, 2017)

On Friday 10 March 2017, Sunny Sweeney saw the release of ‘Trophy’ (Aunt Daddy Records, 2017), which was produced by Dave Brainard, and included three tracks, which were released as singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs Chart:

‘Why People Change’ (written by Heather Morgan and Sunny Sweeney) / this track was released as a single in 2017, but it did not chart

‘Better Bad Idea’ (written by Galen Griffin, Buddy Owens and Sunny Sweeney) / this track was released as a single in 2017, but it did not chart

‘Bottle By My Bed’ (Lori McKenna and Sunny Sweeney) / this track was released as a single in 2017, but it did not chart

Sunny Sweeney’s ‘Trophy’ (Aunt Daddy Records, 2017) also included the following tracks:

‘Pass The Pain’ (written by Jay Clementi, Monty Holmes and Sunny Sweeney)
‘Nothing Wrong With Texas’ (written by Sunny Sweeney and Lori McKenna)
‘Pills’ (written by Brennen Leigh and Noel McKay)
‘I Feel Like Hank Williams Tonight’, which was written by Chris Wall (passed away on Thursday 29 July 2021)
‘Grow Old With Me’ (written by Lori McKenna and Sunny Sweeney)
‘Trophy’ (written by Lori McKenna and Sunny Sweeney)
‘Unsaid’ (written by Caitlyn Smith and Sunny Sweeney)

Personnel involved in the recording of Sunny Sweeney’s ‘Trophy’ (Aunt Daddy Records, 2017) included the following:

Ray Benson, Shelly Fairchild, Kree Harrison, Jack Ingram, Joanna Janét and Trisha Yearwood (background vocals)
Dave Brainard (acoustic guitar, percussion, keyboards, background vocals)
Jim ‘Moose’ Brown (piano)
Jacob Clayton (fiddle, strings, Dobro, cello, acoustic guitar)
Tommy Detamore (steel guitar)
Chris Donahue (bass guitar)
Fred Eltringham (drums)
Keith Gattis and James Mitchell (electric guitar)
James Hill (B-3 organ)
Matt Menefee (banjo)
Mickey Raphael (harmonica)
Sunny Sweeney (lead vocals)
Sweepy Walker (harmonica)

Sunny Sweeney’s ‘Trophy’ (Aunt Daddy Records, 2017) reached No.20 on the Americana / Folk Albums Chart in 2017.

In 2020, Sunny Sweeney saw the release of ‘Poet’s Prayer’, a non-album single, which did not chart.

Sunny Sweeney: 'Sunny Sweeney: Recorded Live At The Machine Shop Recording Studio' (Thirty Tigers Records, 2020)

On Friday 13 November 2020, Sunny Sweeney saw the release of ‘Sunny Sweeney: Recorded Live At The Machine Shop Recording Studio’ (Thirty Tigers Records, 2020), which included the following tracks:

‘Tie Me Up’

‘Pills’ (written by Brennen Leigh and Noel McKay) / the original version of this track was included on Sunny Sweeney’s ‘Trophy’ (Aunt Daddy Records, 2017)

‘Tulsa Time’

‘I Drink Well With Others’

‘Poet’s Prayer’ / the original version of this track was released as a non-album single in 2020

Intro to ‘Staying’s Worse Than Leaving’
‘Staying’s Worse Than Leaving’ (written by Jay Clementi, Radney Foster and Sunny Sweeney) / the original version of this track was included on ‘Sunny Sweeney – EP’ (Republic Nashville Records, 2011) and Sunny Sweeney’s ‘Concrete’ (Republic Nashville Records, 2011); the track reached No.10 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks Chart in 2010, and No.71 on the Billboard Top 200 pop music singles chart in 2010

‘Momma’s Wine’

‘From A Table Away’ (written by Sunny Sweeney, Bob DiPiero and Karyn Rochelle) / the original version of this track was included on ‘Sunny Sweeney – EP’ (Republic Nashville Records, 2011) and Sunny Sweeney’s ‘Concrete’ (Republic Nashville Records, 2011); the track reached No.38 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks Chart in 2011

‘Better Bad Idea’ (written by Galen Griffin, Buddy Owens and Sunny Sweeney) / the original version of this track, which was included on Sunny Sweeney’s ‘Trophy’ (Aunt Daddy Records, 2017), was released as a single in 2017, but it did not chart

Intro to ‘After The Glitter Fades’
‘After The Glitter Fades’

‘Bad Girl Phase’ (written by Brandy Clark, Jessie Jo Dillon and Shannon Wright) / the original version of this track, which was included on Sunny Sweeney’s ‘Provoked’ (Thirty Tigers Records / Aunt Daddy Records, 2014), was released as a single in 2014, but it did not chart; however, the track did reach No.1 on the Texas Music Chart for the chart week of Monday 20 October 2014

‘Pass The Pain’ (written by Jay Clementi, Monty Holmes and Sunny Sweeney) / the original version of this track was included onSunny Sweeney’s ‘Trophy’ (Aunt Daddy Records, 2017)

Band Introduction

‘Body In A Boxcar’

‘If I Could’

Intro to ‘Grow Old With Me’
‘Grow Old With Me’

Sunny Sweeney: 'Married Alone' (Aunt Daddy Records / Thirty Tigers Records, 2022)

On Friday 23 September 2022, Sunny Sweeney saw the release of ‘Married Alone’ (Aunt Daddy Records / Thirty Tigers Records, 2022), which was produced by Sunny Sweeney, Paul Cauthen and Beau Bedford, and included the following tracks:

‘Tie Me Up’ (written by Sunny Sweeney, Buddy Owens and Galen Griffin)
‘Easy As Hello’ (written by Sunny Sweeney, Lori McKenna and Heather Morgan)

‘Married Alone’ (written by Hannah Blaylock, Josh Morningstar and Autumn McEntire) / this track featured guest vocals from Vince Gill
‘Someday You’ll Call My Name’ (written by Sunny Sweeney and Brennen Leigh)
‘How’d I End Up Lonely Again’ (written by Sunny Sweeney, Channing Wilson and Josh Morningstar)
‘A Song Can’t Fix Everything’ (written by Sunny Sweeney and Lori McKenna) / this track was a duet with Paul Cauthen
‘Want You To Miss Me’ (written by Sunny Sweeney and Caitlyn Smith)
‘Wasting One On You’ (written by Sunny Sweeney, Buddy Owens and Monty Holmes)
‘Fool Like Me’ (written by Waylon Payne and Kendell Marvel)
‘All I Don’t Need’ (written by Sunny Sweeney and Lori McKenna)
‘Leaving Is My Middle Name’ (written by Sunny Sweeney, Buddy Owens, Galen Griffin and Scotch Taylor)
‘Still Here’ (written by Sunny Sweeney and Lori McKenna)

Sunny Sweeney, wearing a Gene Watson shirt, at The Poodle Dog Lounge, 6507 Burnet Road in Austin, Texas
Sunny Sweeney, wearing a Gene Watson shirt, at The Poodle Dog Lounge, 6507 Burnet Road in Austin, Texas

• Visit Sunny Sweeney’s official site at sunnysweeney.com