Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Sunny Sweeney: Live at the Machine Shop [Aunt Daddy, 2020]
"Hooked on the power of a song," as her new "Poet's Prayer" puts it on the way to "Things we missed back home/Are never lost on me/Kids growing up, funerals/Anniversaries," the baddest woman in country music noticed herself pushing 44, and with her second marriage behind her decided the pandemic was just the right time for a live album in a disused Austin studio. It opens with her bad new "Tie Me Up," about how bondage is one thing and staying for breakfast quite another, and before she's done specifies funeral arrangements in lieu of the inevitable "early grave": "Put my body in a boxcar and send me to the other side." Many musicians see the drawbacks of the troubadour life. Sweeney inhabits its tragic dimension while joking around about it. A-