Sunny Sweeney and Brennen Leigh have been friends for more than a decade, and in that time have penned several tunes together, often with an ear for comic lyrics. The two Texas-based singer-songwriters normally steer clear of politics, however. But as America hurtles headlong toward another presidential election, pitting Democrat against Republican and even friend against friend, the subject is bound to come up.
When it finally did, the result was the hilarious “But You Like Country Music,” a duet between the two ladies that addresses the opposing opinions of neighbors who find they share one thing in common: a love of country music. (Listen to the song below.)
In the lyrics, the characters are a liberal, eco-friendly Subaru owner dressed in sandals and pajamas (who probably grows marijuana, the other character posits), and a “paranoid” Reagan-loving conservative with a fully stocked Doomsday compound, loaded with guns. But thanks to Merle Haggard, the two find common ground as Sweeney sings, “I was gonna keep my distance ’cause we are so different, ’til one day I heard you crankin’ up the Hag.”
“We were friends for a really long time and we had never discussed anything political at all. It just never came up,” Sweeney tells Rolling Stone Country of writing the song with Leigh. “We had a friendship that was much deeper than that. It was based on what girls meet about and become friends about.”
While the two often discuss the opposite sex, Sweeney says the friendship routinely brings out each other’s often self-deprecating humor, which has led to many co-writes (this one included). It was Leigh who first suggested the song’s premise.
“When she had the idea, I said, ‘I’m all over that. Let’s do it!'” explains Sweeney, whose 2011 LP Concrete features the Leigh co-write “Amy.”
“We write together a lot, and we write a lot of humorous songs,” says Leigh, a native of Moorhead, Minnesota, who has lived in Texas for 13 years. “This one is meant to be humorous. The characters in the song are not exactly us. They’re kind of exaggerated versions of us.”
“Clearly, Brennen isn’t a pothead,” Sweeney jokes of the song’s weed reference. “But it just fit.”
“But You Like Country Music” will be available on iTunes on November 9th.