Sunny Sweeney, Cody Jinks & Jamey Johnson: Huntsville, AL

By  | March 25, 2019 | Filed under: News

Back in December, I saw that Cody Jinks along with Jamey Johnson and Sunny Sweeney had scheduled a stop in Huntsville, Alabama on their tour.  Tracey is a big Cody Jinks fan.  She is such a fan that she is a founding member on the Flocker Facebook Page.  I better explain that.   Fans of Cody Jinks have a page on Facebook where they can discuss his tours, sighting, etc.  The fans on this page are called Flockers.  When you become a Flocker, you actually get a Flocker number.

I digress.  Let’s get back to the tour stop here in Alabama.  We were on the road to an event the day the tickets went on sale.  Tracey was wide open trying to get tickets once they went on sale.  She got us really good tickets.  Our seats were on the floor, on the ninth row.  I figured it would be a good show.

The day of the show arrived and off to Huntsville we went.  We got there pretty early so we grabbed dinner before the show.  Arriving back at the Von Braun Civic Center, we saw several people from this area.  We walked through Security and into the Von Braun we went.   As mentioned, Tracey is a flocker.  She has gotten to know several of the stage crew and other fans.  While sitting there, Sandy Lemley (Stage Crew) came over and sat down with us.  He was a really nice guy.   Sandy told us that everyone was in for a big surprise.   He stayed and chatted for awhile and left just before the show started.

 

Tracey with Sandy Lemley

Cody Jinks and Jamey Johnson as well Chris Stapleton, Whitey Morgan, Sturgill Simpson and other artists are part of the new “Outlaw Country” music.  They want to bring back the real sound of country music.  A lot of people, including us, do not care for the current Country Music, known as “Pop Country “ or “Country Rap.”  They are following in the shoes of Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, etc.

The show started promptly at posted time.  Before the lights went down, I looked around and saw that there were a lot of empty seats.  So, onto the show……

 

 

Sunny Sweeney

I wasn’t really familiar with Sunny Sweeney.  I knew about her song “From a table away.”  Other than that song, I was really up on her music.  I always like to do a little research on someone before I write about them.  This is what I found on the Wikipedia Site:

Sunny Michaela Sweeney (born December 7, 1976) is an American country music artist. She is signed to the Thirty Tigers label. She was formerly with the Republic Nashville label and Big Machine Records. Her debut album, Heartbreaker’s Hall of Fame, was independently issued in 2006 and then regionally released in 2007. It produced three regional (Texas, Oklahoma) singles in “If I Could”, “Ten Years Pass” and “East Texas Pines“, and these songs charted on the Texas Music Chart. In June 2010, the lead-off to her second studio album, From a Table Away,” became her first single to chart.

 

 

   Sunny Sweeney was born in Houston, Texas. Initially, Sweeney lived in Austin, TX and went to Southwest Texas State University. She moved to New York City to take a break from school. Once ready to face school again, she returned to Texas and got a degree in Public Relations from SWT.

   After college, she started a band and played local bars in Austin and began to branch out and play around Texas. She put out her first album with the production help of Tommy Detamore in March 2006. After gaining a following on the club circuit in her native Texas, Sweeney signed to the independent Big Machine Records label.    She also toured throughout Europe in 2007. Her debut album, Heartbreaker’s Hall of Fame, was initially self-released in March 2006, and was reissued in March 2007 on Big Machine.  The album was pushed to the Texas Music Chart and produced three regional singles in the songs, “If I Could,” “Ten Years Pass” and “East Texas Pines“.

    In 2009, Sweeney was signed as the first artist to Republic Nashville, a newly founded joint venture between Big Machine and Universal Republic Records.   Her first single for the label is “From a Table Away,” which was released on June 28, 2010. It became her first chart single when it debuted at No. 58 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs chart for the week of June 26, 2010. In March 2011, the song entered the Top 10 of the chart.

    Republic Nashville released Sweeney’s second studio album, Concrete on August 23, 2011.  The album was produced by Brett Beavers consists of ten tracks, including one co-written with Radney Foster and Jay Clementi.  “Staying’s Worse Than Leaving” and “Drink Myself Single” were released as the album’s second and third singles, respectively, and both were minor Top 40 hits on the Hot Country Songs chart. Sweeney and Big Machine parted ways in 2012.

    In 2013, Sweeney signed a recording contract with the Thirty Tigers record label.    Her debut label single entitled “Bad Girl Phase” was released in June 2014. Through the fan-sponsored PledgeMusic program, Sweeney issued her third studio record, Provoked, on August 5, 2014.  “My Bed,” a duet with Will Hoge, was released in early 2015 as the album’s second single.

    Dreamer: A Tribute to Kent Finlay, released in early 2016 on Austin-based Eight 30 Records, features Sweeney and Randy Rogers’ duet “Between You and Me.”

 

 

 

     Sweeney’s fourth studio album, Trophy, was released on March 10, 2017.   There are quite a few cuts on Trophy that have that fun and spicy side to the singer, such as the quite outspoken title cut, a track that one gets the feeling that Loretta Lynn could have pulled off quite easily circa 1972, writes Sounds Like Nashville.”

Sunny came onto stage wide open and launched into her songs without pause.  Most of her songs had an edgy tone.  She prefaced each song with a short introduction.  On her tour webpage, she mentions “growing up in bars.”  Most of the songs she played were about bars and or broken relationships.    She rounded out her performance with “From a table away.”   Sunny played about 45 minutes.  I enjoyed her performance.

 

Cody Jinks

From Wikipedia on Cody Jinks:

    Cody Jinks is an American country music singer from Denton, Texas.[  His 2016 album, I’m Not the Devil, reached No. 98 on the Billboard Country Albums chart.

Early life

    Cody Jinks is a native of Haltom City, Texas, and attended Haltom High School. He started learning to play a few country music riffs on the guitar from his father when he was 16, but soon formed a heavy metal band.

Music career

    Jinks started out as the lead singer of a thrash metal band from Fort Worth named Unchecked Aggression, initially named Silas, that was active from 1998 to 2003. He also played the lead guitar; the other band members were Gary Burkham on bass who left in 2000 and was replaced by Chris Lewis,    Anthony Walker on drums, and Ben Heffley on guitar.    An album, The Massacre Begins was released in 2002.  The band however broke up after a trip to Los Angeles, and Jinks took a year off from music. In around 2005, he started playing country music, the music he grew up with.

     Jinks is backed by The Tone Deaf Hippies.  He began to release albums in the country genre in 2008.   An album titled 30 was released in 2012, and an EP, Blacksheep, was released in 2013.

2015: Adobe Sessions

    The album was recorded at the Sonic Ranch in Tornillo, Texas, and the album title was named after a small adobe room they recorded the album in.   It was released in January 2015 and charted in Billboard’s regional Heatseekers charts – No.2 on Heatseekers South Central and No. 8 on Heatseekers Mountain.    Jinks toured in support of Adobe Sessions as an opener for Sturgill Simpson in 2015.

2016: I’m Not the Devil

     I’m Not the Devil was released on August 12, 2016.  The album was recorded at the Sonic Ranch in Tornillo, Texas.   It includes a cover of Merle Haggard’s “The Way I Am”.  The title track was written with Ward Davis; the album was almost finished and the album title had already been decided, but it was retitled with the name of the song they wrote.  The album debuted at No. 4 on the Top Country Albums chart, selling 11,300 copies in the first week.  Jinks supported I’m Not the Devil with a co-headlining tour with Whitey Morgan and the 78’s in August, September, and October. The album was rated one the best country albums of 2016 by Rolling Stone.

 

 

 

 

2017

    Jinks released a cover of Pink Floyd’s hit song “Wish You Were Here” in January 2017. He also re-released a remixed and remastered version of his 2010 album Less Wise, as Less Wise Modified 2017, with three bonus tracks included.

2018: Lifers

    Jinks released the album titled Lifers on July 27, 2018 via Rounder Records. It was preceded by the lead single “Must Be the Whiskey,” which was released on June 15, 2018.

I had listened to some of Cody Jinks’ music before attending the concert.  I liked some of it but I would not classify myself as a fan and surely not a Flocker.  As Cody walked onto stage, everyone saw the surprise that Sandy had talked about.  Cody was famous for his long beard.  But this night, it was gone.  Cody had shaved it before the show.  Looking around, I observed that there were no empty seats in the Von Braun Center.  I guess everyone had come to see Cody Jinks.

Cody began to play and the place went wild.  He began going through his playlist with such songs as “Must be the Whiskey, Holy Water, Loud & Heavy and Somewhere Between I Love you and I’m Leavin’”.  As in most concerts, there is a “sing-along” song.  This is the song where the audience participates by singing, usually without the performer.  Cody’s sing along song was “Cast No Stone.”    Listening to the Von Braun echo with thousands of people singing was awesome.

Okay, I have to give a review of the song “No More Words.”   That is the first song that I heard of Cody’s.  Tracey and I got married to that song, so it is kinda special to me.  When Cody played it, it was amazing.  Looking around, I saw people dancing in the isles to the song.  Love that song.  Cody played for almost 2 hours.

I went into the concert being a semi Cody Jinks fan.  I would like to see him again in concert.  I know Tracey would.  I came out after the show as a fully fledged Cody Jinks fan.  Am I a Flocker?  Not yet, but never say never.

 

 

 

Jamey Johnson

    From Wikipedia on Jamey Johnson:

    Jamey Johnson (born July 14, 1975) is an American country music artist. Signed to BNA Records in 2005, Johnson made his debut with his single The Dollar”, the title track to his 2006 album The Dollar. Johnson was dropped from BNA in 2006 and signed to Mercury Nashville Records in March 2008, releasing his second album, the gold-certified That Lonesome Song. This album produced two singles, the Top 10 hit In Color” and “High Cost of Living“. Johnson has since released two more albums, The Guitar Song in 2010 and Living for a Song: A Tribute to Hank Cochran in 2012. In 2014, he released a 5-song Christmas EP titled The Christmas Song. In addition to most of his own material, Johnson has co-written singles for Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard, Trace Adkins, George Strait, James Otto, Joe Nichols and Jessie James Decker.

Early life

    Johnson was born on July 14, 1975, in Enterprise, Alabama and raised in Montgomery, Alabama. From an early age, he was influenced by country acts such as Alabama and Alan Jackson, the latter of whom was the first act that he saw in concert. After graduating from Jefferson Davis High School, Johnson attended Jacksonville State University, the same university from which Alabama lead singer Randy Owen graduated.[  During his time at Jacksonville State University, he was a member of Sigma Nu in the Iota Lambda chapter and a member of the Marching Southerners.

    Johnson quit college after two years and served in the United States Marine Corps Reserve for eight years.  He served in Company L, 3rd Battalion 23rd Marines as a mortarman (MOS 0341) and attained the rank of corporal. He would often play original songs for his fellow Marines and has kept in contact with many of them. He wrote two songs on his initial self-released album that mention his Marine Corps service.

   After leaving the Marines, he began playing country music in various bars throughout Montgomery; one of his first gigs was opening for David Allan Coe.  By 2000, Johnson had moved to Nashville, Tennessee to pursue a career in country music. He also self-released an album called They Call Me Country. One of his first connections was with Greg Perkins, a fiddler who had played for Tanya Tucker, Tammy Wynette, and other artists. Perkins invited Johnson to sing as a duet partner with Gretchen Wilson on a demo tape.  Songs for which Johnson sang demos include “Songs About Me” (cut by Trace Adkins) and “That’s How They Do It in Dixie” (cut by Hank Williams, Jr. with Big & Rich, Gretchen Wilson, and Van Zant).

    Johnson had also made connections with producer and songwriter Buddy Cannon, who helped him land a songwriting contract.   Among Johnson’s first cuts as a songwriter was “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk”, which Adkins released from his 2005 album Songs About Me. That song he co-wrote along with hit songwriter Dallas Davidson and fellow country singer-songwriter Randy Houser, who later worked with Johnson again co-writing “My Cowboy” for country pop singer Jessie James for her self-titled debut album.

Career beginnings and That Lonesome Song (2005–2009)

    By 2005, Johnson had been signed to a recording contract with BNA Records. His first single, entitled “The Dollar”, was released that year, followed by his Buddy Cannon-produced debut album (also entitled The Dollar) in March 2006. “The Dollar” went on to peak at No. 14 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts. The album’s second single, “Rebelicious“, failed to enter the charts and Johnson was dropped from BNA.

     After the loss of his record deal, Johnson divorced his wife and took on a reclusive lifestyle, residing in a friend’s house while working on his songwriting.  He wrote several songs for other artists. In 2006, George Strait reached No. 1 on the Country chart with “Give It Away”, a song which Johnson co-wrote with Bill Anderson and Cannon. This song became Strait’s 51st No. 1 on the Billboard country charts, setting a new record for most No. 1s on that chart.

    In 2007, Trace Adkins charted with two more songs that Johnson co-wrote: “Ladies Love Country Boys” and “I Got My Game On”, the former being Adkins’ first No. 1 in 10 years. Also in 2007, Joe Nichols reached Top 20 with “Another Side of You”, another song co-written by Johnson. This song was the first single on Nichols’s album Real Things, which also contained “She’s All Lady”, a song that Johnson originally recorded on The Dollar.

   Johnson was part of the Fox TV television series Nashville, which was cancelled after two episodes in September 2007.

   Johnson released an album in 2008, That Lonesome Song, which was only made available online.  The album drew the attention of Mercury Nashville Records, who signed him to a record deal in 2008. His first single for the label, “In Color“, was released in March 2008. This song, which Johnson co-wrote with Lee Thomas Miller and James Otto, entered Top 40 in June 2008, and That Lonesome Song was released on CD in August of that year. “In Color” peaked at No. 9 on the Country chart in January 2009 and was followed a month later by “High Cost of Living”, which managed to crack the Top 40, but only reaching No. 34. By April 2009, That Lonesome Song was certified Gold by the RIAA.

     A fifth single, “My Way to You“, was issued in July 2009. The song was released to radio on July 13, 2009, and debuted at No. 56 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. The song peaked at No. 52 in September 2009.

   Johnson was nominated for the 2009 CMA Awards New Artist of the Year, and has been nominated for the 2010 Academy of Country Music Top New Solo Vocalist.

 The Guitar Song (2010–2012)

     In 2010, Johnson released a follow up to his 2008 album, That Lonesome Song. The album titled The Guitar Song was released on September 14, 2010. Upon its release, The Guitar Song was met with overwhelming praise and universal acclaim from music critics.   The album debuted at number four on the U.S. Billboard 200 and number one on the U.S. Billboard Top Country Albums, selling 63,000 copies its first week of release.

    Johnson released three singles from the album, including “Playing the Part”, in summer 2010. The music video for the single was released in October, and was directed by Matthew McConaughey, who also stars in the video as a dancing gorilla.

     Johnson was the supporting act on Kid Rock’s 2011 Born Free Tour, accompanying Rock on a duet or two during most concerts. He was also a main stage act on Willie Nelson’s Country Throwdown from May to July 2011.

     In addition to producing other acts and writing new material, Johnson released a duet tribute album to songwriter Hank Cochran titled Living for a Song: A Tribute to Hank Cochran. The album paired him with acts such as Ray Price, Willie Nelson, Alison Krauss, Emmylou Harris, Elvis Costello, George Strait, Vince Gill, and Merle Haggard. Longtime collaborator and producer Buddy Cannon oversaw the project.  The album was released on vinyl September 25, 2012 and other formats on October 16, 2012.

Living for a Song and new label (2012–present)

    On October 6, 2012, Johnson released his fourth studio album titled Living for a Song: A Tribute to Hank Cochran. The album is a tribute to songwriter Hank Cochran.  The album garnered Johnson a nomination at the 55th Grammy Awards for Best Country album.

    Following a dispute with his label, Johnson founded his own label, Big Gassed Records. His first release on the label was a Christmas-themed EP, The Christmas Song, including several covers and one new original song, which was released in November 2014. It was announced that more new music would follow in 2015.[    In January 2015, Johnson released a new song, “Alabama Pines” as a free download.    This was followed by the release of another single, “You Can“, in February.

 

This was the third time we had seen Jamey Johnson in the last six months.  We saw him first with Lynyrd Skynyrd and Bad Company, in Nashville, Tennessee.  We were so impressed with Jamey that we went to Biloxi, Mississippi to see Jamey in a solo concert.  You can view the articles I wrote on these concerts at the links below:

http://quadcitiesdaily.com/?p=489814

http://quadcitiesdaily.com/?p=494219

Every time we have seen Jamey Johnson, there is something different in his concerts.  In Biloxi, there was The Tuscaloosa Horns joining him.  They were in Huntsville that night.  On that night, Jamey had added a female back-up singer.  Jamey’s sister also joined the band on stage.    I like that he keeps improving his shows.  He played for 1.5 hours.

Jamey always starts his set with the song  “Keeping up with the Jones.”  This gets the crowd going.  He played several of his hits such as “That Lonesome Song,  Between Jennings & Jones, Playing the Part” and others.  Jamey always performs some cover songs while performing.  He performed “A Rainy Night in Georgia” and “East Bond and Down.”

Let’s interrupt this article for a moment to tell you about Sadie McClendon.  Jamey told the audience that he had a special guest and brought out Sadie.  He said that he had met her when she was 10 years old.  This little girl walked on stage with a guitar and stood next to Jamey.  The music started and Sadie wiped all doubts from the audience.  She sang “Mama Tried” by Merle Haggard.  It was amazing that this 11 year old young lady could belt out the notes that she could. We were very, very impressed.

Sadie McClendon

After Sadie let he stage, Jamey brought his father Howard Johnson, also known as HoJo, on stage.  Jamey then went into his sing along song.  It wasn’t long before the audience was singing “In Color.”  I have to tell you that every time we saw Jamey, he performed this song.  There is no way to describe listening to the thousands of people singing the chorus while Jamey plans.  It gives you goose bumps.

As I have written about in a previous article, Jamey closes out his show with a Gospel Melody.  It is unbelievable seeing a crowd yelling and holding up their beers and then put them down and sings along with these gospel favorites.  Cody Jinks, HoJo, Sadie and Jamey’ sister joined him on stage for this closing melody.

In closing, I have to say I was impressed.  If I could see this line up again, I would put out the money for front row seats.  It was humorous that Jamey kept poking fun at Cody for shaving his beard.  Jamey made a comment that Cody looked “like a young Ronnie Van Zant.”  I have to say that there is a resemblance between the two.  Cody, Jamey and Sunny are on tour for rest of the year including some Alabama dates.  If you get a chance, check out a concert.

    Bobby Inman is retired from Law Enforcement after 21 years of Service.  He has articles published in Law & Order Magazine, Police Marksman Magazine, Guns& Weapons for Law Enforcement Magazine as well as several published ebooks on Amazon, Kobo Writing, as well as Nook (Barnes & Noble).  He is owner of Poopiedog, an Animal Rescue Dachshund, who is his constant companion, as well as Snort-Snort, a Chihuahua. .  He is married to Tracey Inman.  Bobby and Tracey are photographers for Subtle & Slams Photography that specializes in Professional Wrestling Events.   He is a Senior Investigative Reporter for the Quad Cities Daily

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