Sunny Sweeney

Heartbreaker's Hall Of Fame

Ever since the Dixie Chicks disappeared from the radio waves, there has been a dearth of female vocalists who sing "real" country music. Gretchen Wilson does a decent job when she wants to, but she seems hellbent and whiskey-bound on becoming the feminine Bocephus. Same with Miranda Lambert, but recently she's been rockin' a lot more than twangin'.

Lambert's from Texas, and so is the up-and-coming Sunny Sweeney. On Heartbreaker's Hall Of Fame, Sweeney delivers a near-perfect collection of two-stepping, Lone Star State dancehall numbers in her pure, high, honky-tonk vocal style. The sweet steel kicking off "Lavender Blue" (a duet with Jim Lauderdale) is totally captivating, and there's a couple of obligatory nods to Bob Wills' classic Western Swing sound. Sweeney pokes a little fun at the Music City hustle on "Next Big Nothing" and "16th Avenue," but it's all in fun — sort of. The girl can wail, and hopefully someone's paying attention. 4 stars