Last night I went to the gig that I have been boring all of you about for months...Sunny Sweeney.
It was fantabulous...splenderiferous...perhaps even supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! I had THE best time.
Getting to see Ms Sweeney was not without its hitches...first my pal Julie cancelled on me (and John almost had to...something to do with silage and rain and such Farmer-like matters). Then I was running late and had to ask John to come and pick me up. When we finally got there, literally as we were stepping over the threshold into the Cluny, I realised that I'd left the tickets on my living room coffee table! We made it back to the Cluny after a swift round trip back to Gateshead to collect said tickets...lucky one of us was driving!
Support was in the form of Mary Jean Lewis...the niece of a certain Mr Jerry Lee (although not the one of 'The Nutty Professor' fame). She had a lovely alto voice and even sung a Loretty number...and a Willie Nelson one ('Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground')...she was indeed very pleasant to listen to, if a little under-inspiring. I shall not be bandying about the superlatives here...I shall save those.
Ms Lewis told us that she was too old to be standing up playing her keyboard, requesting a stool...yet apparently she wasn't too old to be wearing bunches. There is a note of derision in my tone here, but it is mostly based on jealousy...I would love to be able to wear bunches, but I think, aged 27, I might look a bit of a fool!
Anyhoo, cracking on. I used this interval to purchase myself a Sunny Sweeney t-shirt. Well, more of a vest/tank top thingy really. I shall wear it with pride. Maybe I'll start working up my own collection, en homage to Sunny's penchant for Merle Haggard t-shirts (she's up to 36, as she proudly told us during the gig)...although I may just leave that schtick to her (she was wearing a George Jones t-shirt on this occasion...more of that later).
I then dutifully queued for the bar, where I was asked by the man in front of me (who had been talking to me for a few minutes by this point) if I was Sunny Sweeney. My response was "Erm, no...she is prettier, more petite, blonder and more Texan! And also likely to be wearing a Merle Haggard t-shirt"...he seemed quite nonplussed. It was from this vantage point that I saw Ms Sweeney herself walk through the room...twice, and got ever so excited with the anticipation of it all!
Finally, Sunny and band came on stage. I think I was the only audience member to actually let out a whoop when she walked on! They started with a great song that Sunny does on her album, which is called 'Next Big Nothing' (the song, that is; the album is Heartbreaker's Hall Of Fame). From this point on I was lost in singing along, tapping, wiggling, and so on. As you will well know by this point, I never dance...yet I didn't stop moving the whole time they were on...not exactly dancing (there wasn't room for that anyway), but it was like I had caught some sort of jitterbug! And my jaw quickly took to aching, as I simply couldn't keep the Cheshire Cat smirk from my face.
I could almost have sworn that, early on in the show, Ms Sweeney smiled straight across at me (and what a winning smile it is!), but convinced myself I was just being silly. Then, between numbers, she picked me out of the audience and asked me if I was her MySpace friend!! God bless you MySpace...even all your accompanying bugs n' quirks n' things! I was mortified!
Of course, I will admit that I was also overjoyed. After that point I kept getting really paranoid, as I kept making accidental eye contact, and was even mentioned again as her MySpace buddy...I began to feel a bit like some obsessive stalker...particularly as I knew all the words!
The band were excellent...really tight, especially considering they are relatively newly formed and therefore haven't been playing together for all that long. Special mention goes to the man (Craig Smith) who made it out of the Orkneys to play geetaw up there with Sunny...and who stood in very nicely for Jim Lauderdale on 'Lavender Blue' (oh, and who also told some really rubbish joke that I now forget...it was one of those "A something walks into a bar..." jokes). They also did a cover of Folsom Prison Blues...all hail the late King Cash!
The set (well, the encore) was ended with the humongously catchy 'If I Could', also on the album, and which I have sported on my MySpace page a couple of times...and, in fact, did until yesterday (following some Luscious Jackson and then Leonard Cohen's 'I'm Your Man'; I'm ever so eclectic...again, more of this later).
John and I then made a swift exit stage left for a well deserved nicotine fix (yes, yes, a dirty habit, I know) while I waited for the crowds to disperse a little before going and saying my hellos to Ms Sweeney et al. When we got back in the bar we were hanging back and kind of loitering around, waiting for a gap, when Sunny came across to meet ME!!!!!!!!!!! Oh my!
I was so starstruck! I was sweating and fawning, rambling and fawning...in summary, a giggling, and did I mention fawning, nervous mess. It was like...you know when you are talking to someone you fancy and you just end up seeming like a wally? I got so nervous I didn't know what to say! I am such a nidiot (sic). Never will I be that cool chick...I was, am, and it seems will always be, just some dumbass. Oh dear.
Anyway, Sunny was lovely...a really sweet, down-to-earth woman (this is a woman with 5000+ MySpace friends, who actually recognised me, messages back and even remembered what previous messages had said!)...real purdy, with some beautiful baby blues and a hella sexy Texan accent (and I don't do blonde, or petite...or, come to think of it, generally pretty either for that matter!). She signed both my cd and the poster that I'd previously stolen from the Cluny (see a previous blog)...which I'd remembered to bring along, even though I'd forgotten the tickets! I'm particularly proud of the cd...I was joking about how I felt like a stalker, so she has signed it, "To my favorite stalker! HA HA!". We talked (or at least I tried to talk) for quite a while, I was introduced to the hubby and the guitar player, and I generally giggled and fawned some more.
Then I admitted that I didn't know who George Jones was. I was roundly admonished and ordered to get my hands on a 'best of' cd (I was even encouraged to download it illegally if needs be...he is that important!)...which I have now obediently done...it arrived today from Amazon. I like it. His voice is somewhere between Willie Nelson and Roy Orbison...it's even a bit Everley Brothers (although I'm not sure whether Don or Phil...tee hee) on the earlier numbers. I realised I already knew 'He Stopped Loving Her Today'...but my favourite on the album (The Essential George Jones: The Spirit of Country...I couldn't find the exact one recommended...perhaps it's a US-only release?), at least after the one listen through I've had so far, is 'Bartender's Blues'...I like 'Golden Ring', 'Her Name Is' and 'The Door' too.
On which note, apparently he is the former husband of Tammy Wynette (sorry if I sound like a philostine saying this...give me a break, I come from Middlesbrough, and, in my defence, can converse on many different types of music, not just country...perhaps I should brush up my knowledge of country music a little though eh?). I made the faux pas, having seen the cheesy Wynette biopic as a kid, of asking if he was the one that beat her? This didn't seem to go down too well...oops!
I decided last week that I wanted a Southern (American, that is) girlfriend...that was in a conversation about Beth Ditto's fabulous Arkansas drawl. Perhaps I'll up sticks and move to Texas?
Speaking of Beth Ditto...I'm off down to Manchester to see Gossip tomorrow. It's the culmination of the Manchester International Festival and I 'won' some (free...yay!) tickets in an online ballot. New Young Pony Club are playing too. So I'm going to stay with my pal Tom and get to see Ms Ditto shake her thang in person...should be good. And I'm not back at work until Wednesday. She also presented the Friday Night Project last night (yes, I know I am terribly sad being in on my own of a Friday night)...I think this whole fame shebang has come on rather quickly and she seemed a little out of her depth, bless her. The only other real point of note is that Justin Lee Collins was wearing a Hugs Not Drugs t-shirt...like my shoes! I love those shoes!
Back to the wonderful Ms Sweeney. So, not only has she introduced me to George Jones, but also, via her blog for CMT, Adam Hood (now my current MySpace tune) and http://www.radiofreetexas.org/. The possibilities are endless! From an evening's listening last night, they play some great stuff, and should introduce me to a load of bands/artists I haven't heard before. There's not much call for local country radio in Gateshead...and I always forget when Bob Harris is on Radio 2. Incidentally, she also writes a great blog on MySpace...she is an amusing, intelligent, normal woman. I've already mentioned that before I think. Seriously though folks, check her out, give her your support. Her name's going to be right up there with Loretta's and Patsy's one day. She's at:
Right, I'm off to pack my bags for the Texarkana (via Dollywood!)!!