Sunny War (New West)
After spending much of her youth following self-destructive instincts, falling into meth and heroin addiction and busking on the streets of L.A. to support herself, Sunny War is celebrating 12-years clean with the release of Anarchist Gospel, an album that actively explores the struggles that came after she gained control of her life, only to find it falling apart again. The songs on Anarchist Gospel were inspired by a period when after kicking her addictions and building a life, Sunny suddenly found herself without a home (her lease came to an end) and going through a touch breakup, followed by the death of her father. But rather than succumb again to her dark side, she fought through it to create an emotionally revealing and musically diverse piece of work.
“This album represents such a crazy period in my life, between the breakup and the move to Nashville and my dad dying,” says War. “What I learned, I think, is that the best thing to do is just to feel everything and deal with it. Just feel everything.”
The album opens with “Love’s Death Bed,” an ethereal reference to the aforementioned breakup, made even more penetrating by the haunting harmonies and comps from Allison Russell and Chris Pierce, who also adds some mesmerizing harmonica to the track. That gives way to the first single, “No Reason,” a song that, in addition to being the first time Sunny War lays out a soaring guitar solo, lays out the over-arching theme of Anarchist Gospel, the internal struggle between good and evil.
“Everybody is a beast just trying their hardest to be good. That’s what it is to be human,” opines War. ”You’re not really good or bad. You’re just trying to stay in the middle of those two things all the time.”
With a stellar list of contributors including Russell, Pierce, David Rawlings, Jim James, Jack Lawrence (The Raconteurs), and Micah Nelson, Anarchist Gospel is collection of melodic tunes that while sonically stark reveal complex arrangement that not only highlight Sunny War’s diverse and compelling voice and versatile guitar work, but also the infinite talent of all the contributing players.
Support has already come from WXRV, WXPN, WRLT, WNXP, Birmingham Mountain Radio and a host of others while it continues to grow at radio.
Photo by Joshua Black Wilkins