Austin360 On The Record: Sunny Sweeney, Carrie Elkin

Sunny Sweeney, “Trophy” (Thirty Tigers). Sometimes known for humorous or novelty songs, Sweeney smartly takes a deeper dive on “Trophy,” her fourth album. Writing frequently with Grammy-winning tunesmith Lori McKenna, Sweeney turns out a strong 10-song set that displays the fullest range yet of her talents. Some (“Better Bad Idea,” “Why People Change”) retain the electric kick of her hard-won barroom bona fides. But she’s best when she gets quieter and lets the bittersweetness of her beautiful vocals shine, as on the childless-regret ballad “Bottle By My Bed” and a brilliant resurrection of Chris Wall’s classic waltz “I Feel Like Hank Williams Tonight.” SXSW shows: 4 p.m. March 14 at Gatsby; 3 p.m. March 17 at Threadgill’s South; 8 p.m. March 17 at Maggie Mae’s Rooftop. Here’s the track “Grow Old With Me”:

Carrie Elkin, “The Penny Collector.” On her first solo album in six years after teaming up for a duo release with husband Danny Schmidt in 2014, Elkin extends the bounds of quality folk-based music she’s been writing and recording for more than 20 years. Producer Neilson Hubbard helps her push the tones into realms that sound more indie than traditional on some songs with atmospheric accents of electric guitars. A graceful, strings-enhanced cover of Paul Simon’s “American Tune” supplements her original material. Release show March 10 at Cactus Cafe. Here’s the leadoff track, “New Mexico”:


  • MARCH 15: Wayne Gathright, “Poparockzi.”
  • MARCH 17: Spoon, “Hot Thoughts” (Matador), playing March 14-16 during SXSW at The Main/Eno’s (the original Emo’s).
  • MARCH 24: Ruthie Foster, “Joy Comes Back “(Blue Corn).
  • MARCH 24: Will Johnson, “Hatteras Night, A Good Luck Charm” (Undertow).
  • MARCH 24: Kiko Villamizar, “Aguas Frias” (Peligrosa).
  • MARCH 24: Flyjack, “New Day.”
  • MARCH 29: Lili Blessing, “Lifeline,” in-store March 29 at Waterloo Records.
  • MARCH 29: DC Bloom, “Just Another Song and Dance Man,” release show March 29 at G&S Lounge.
  • MARCH 31: Toma, “Aroma.”
  • APRIL 7: Darden Smith, “Everything,” release show April 8 at Stateside at the Paramount.
  • APRIL 7: Sweet Spirit, “St. Mojo” (Nine Mile).
  • APRIL 7: Octopus Project, “Memory Mirror” (Robot High School).
  • APRIL 7: Cotton Mather, “Wild Kingdom.”
  • APRIL 7: Digital Wild, “Tall As Trees” EP.
  • APRIL 7: Walker Lukens, “Ain’t Got a Reason” EP (Modern Outsider).
  • APRIL 19: Ulrich Ellison & Tribe, “America.”
  • APRIL 21: Emily Bell & the Talkbacks, “Kali” EP.
  • APRIL 28: Willie Nelson, “God’s Problem Child” (Legacy).
  • APRIL 28: Beth // James, “All in Life” EP.
  • MAY 12: Suzanna Choffel, “Hello Goodbye,” release show May 12 at 3Ten.
  • MAY 19: Wild Now, “Afterglow” EP.
  • MAY: Wendy Colonna, “No Moment But Now.”
  • MAY: Kay Odyssey, “What’s a Woman to Do” (Little Bit).

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