You can’t get away from the political divisiveness these days, and the issue only promises to get worse as the United States Presidential election proper looms large in the not so distant future.
But that’s what’s so great about music. It’s a world away from the rancor of political discord (Steve Earle and Toby Keith notwithstanding). It’s something that can help you take the edge off of whatever has your head tied up in knots, and bring people of differing viewpoints and backgrounds together. Or as Brennen Leigh and Sunny Sweeney say, “A love of country music conquers all.”
The pair of Texas-based songwriters who’ve penned 20-plus songs together over their decade-plus friendship, we’re partnered up in the month of August along with fellow songwriter Sophia Johnson for a residency at Austin, TX’s famed Saxon Pub. It was a sit-down, guitar-strumming, singalong, storytelling type of setting that allows intimacy and atmosphere to enhance the music.
One song showcased during the residency has people talking in Austin and beyond called “But You Like Country Music.” Almost if on cue, it’s the perfect antidote to the political season blues, and delivers its life lessons sugar coated with witty lines.
“If I chose my friends based on politics, I would lose people who are important to me,” says Brennen Leigh. “Sunny and I talked about it one day and realized we’re basically on the same page. Accepting differences in opinion is just part of being an adult, but so many people have a hard time with it. The thing that brought Sunny and me together the first day we met was a love of country music. We took that idea and put it in the song.”
“But You Like Country Music” puts two otherwise polar opposite individuals in the same place from a mutual admiration of Merle Haggard, and though the inspiration may be based off of their personal experiences, the song isn’t necessarily autobiographical.
“The characters are a bit exaggerated,” Brennen explains. “One is a pot growing hippy and the other is a steak eating Ronald Reagan lover. Not exactly Sunny and me to a T, but we exaggerated the story enough to make it funny. Both characters are closed-minded and don’t like each other at the beginning of the song. Then they bond over Merle Haggard. Of course, in real life, I liked Sunny right away. Neither of us are militant ‘hit you over the head with our beliefs’ kind of people. I think we’re friends because we’re alike in many ways and many of the same things are important to us. We have a lot in common.”
…including being imbued with the talent to write some pretty entertaining country music.
Two Guns Up.
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The duo plays Austin’s Saxon Pub again September 15th.