A heartwrenching breakup for Sonny & The Sunsets leader Sonny Smith has led to an artistic breakthrough with the album Longtime Companion, which is fueled by country-rock. There’s always been a twang in Sonny’s voice, but he’s never before put it to such ample use. (The Sunsets previously wove their way through rockabilly, ‘50s pop, and garage punk.) On this concept record, based on the dissolution of Smith’s marriage after 10 years, the use of country tropes works perfectly. It never feels forced, largely because these 10 songs don’t try too hard to dig down to country’s roots; instead they settle on the comfortable country-influenced rock/folk of 40 years ago, à la Gram Parsons’ GP or The Kinks’ Muswell Hillbillies. From the sing-along barstool burner “Sea of Darkness” and the corn-fed folk of “I Was Born” to the gorgeous peals of flute and pedal steel on the moody “Pretend You Love Me,” this downtempo effort might, surprisingly, become the group’s biggest record to date.