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Sunny War

Sunny War enlivens traditional folk and blues by freshening her musical attack and writing lyrics that reflect 21st century concerns. Her first album, Worthless, arrived in 2014, and she continued to gain attention over the next few years as she built up a cult following that crested with the release of 2018's With the Sun. After a series of independent releases, War moved to New West for the 2023 album Anarchist Gospel. Born Sydney Lyndella Ward to a single mother in Nashville, the singer/songwriter spent her childhood moving around the United States with her parent, spending significant time in both Nashville and the Detroit suburb of Rochester. During this time, she learned to love a wide variety of music, picking up the guitar at the age of 13. After she spent a rough period combating substance abuse and poverty, she gravitated toward blues and folk and relocated to California, traveling between San Francisco and San Diego before settling in Venice Beach. Adopting the performing name Sunny War, she'd sometimes moonlight with her punk side band Anus Kings, but it was her folk-blues showcased on a self-released album that gained notice from local scenesters -- including critics at LA Weekly -- in 2009, the same year she signed a publishing deal with BMI and a promotional deal with Gibson Guitars. After a few years, she released her official debut, Worthless, which appeared in 2014. A second independent record, Red White and Blue, arrived in 2016. Sunny War signed with Hen House Studios for 2018's With the Sun, a record that also included cameos from Micah Nelson's Insects vs. Robots band. After that album, she moved from Venice Beach to downtown Los Angeles, quickly delivering her next LP, Shell of a Girl, the following year. The album was preceded by the single "The Place," a collaboration with French-born singer/songwriter Edith Crash. After releasing the EP Can I Sit with You? in 2020, she independently issued the Simple Syrup album in March 2021. War signed to New West in 2022, releasing the singles "No Reason" and "Higher" before the album Anarchist Gospel appeared in early 2023. Produced by Andrija Tokic, the album melded subtle atmospheric touches with songs exploring Ward's inner struggles with self-destruction and order.
© Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo


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