A phrase like “overnight sensation” is usually all kinds of wrong in that the artist in question was beating the pavement long before a writer or reviewer “discovered” them. Case in point is singer/songwriter Sunny War.
Her latest album has her centered amidst hypnotically poignant compositions and beautifully supportive musical backing. Wielding a non-traditional acoustic fingerpicking style (she has a ridiculously limber thumb) developed performing on the streets of San Diego, San Francisco, and Venice, this album brings together touching poetry with plush musical support and production skill.
Produced by Harlan Steinberger with support from psych-folk band Insects vs Robots, War’s songs mesmerize with a wistful ambiance. On “If It Wasn’t Broken,” War asks the question, “How would you know you had a heart if it wasn’t broken?” Laced with delicate fingerpicking and violin, it’s a standout track.
War’s influences run deep and wide as illustrated on “Gotta Live It,” “I’m Human,” and the title track. These songs like “He Is My Cell” and “Violent” reveal intelligent introspection and strength. On “Til I’m Dead,” War unites the Piedmont blues tradition with the present and the result is timeless music.
This article originally appeared in VG July 2018 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.