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. 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.
Formed in Galway in 1966 by Joe Dolan from Galway (not the cabaret singer), better known as Galway Joe Dolan, Andy Irvine from London and Johnny Moynihan from Dublin. Irvine and Moynihan were traditional music enthusiasts who knew each other from the folk scene in Dublin and travels to Fleadh Ceoil around the country during 1963-65. Dolan had played guitar with second division showband the Swingtime Aces. In January 1965 Irvine and Dolan formed the short-lived ballad group The Liffeysiders with Dolan's friend Kevin O'Carroll. Moynihan wasn't impressed and they soon split anyway. This left it open for Irvine, Dolan and Moynihan to form Sweeney's Men. Des Kelly became their manager and got them a deal with Pye. Kelly also managed the Capitol Showband which is how various Sweeneys guested on three Capitol singles released during 1966.
In the Victorian London, the barber Benjamin Barker is married to the gorgeous Lucy and they have a lovely child, Johanna. The beauty of Lucy attracts the attention of the corrupt Judge Turpin, who falsely accuses the barber of a crime that he did not commit and abuses Lucy later after gaining custody of her. After fifteen years in exile, Benjamin returns to London under the new identity of Sweeney Todd, seeking revenge against Turpin. He meets the widow Mrs. Lovett who is the owner of a meat pie shop who tells him that Lucy swallowed arsenic many years ago, and Turpin assigned himself tutor of Johanna. He opens a barber shop above her store, initiating a crime rampage against those who made him suffer and lose his beloved family.
Essential: a masterpiece of celtic-folk music.
When I heard Sweeney's Men, immediately I asked me in what year they released their first LP (which I present today) and oh, surprise! Is published in 1968!, is that the sound is quite timeless.