Coming on the heels of her critically acclaimed 2018 album With the Sun, Sunny War’s upcoming LP Shell Of A Girl finds the songstress and virtuosic guitarist looking back on the rocky roads of her past with a surprising amount of nostalgia. The LP was written in a burst of creativity during a transition period, as War moved from the Venice Beach boardwalk where she first made her name to the streets of downtown Los Angeles. Recorded, like With The Sun, at Hen House Studios on Venice Beach with producer Harlan Steinberger, the album features a cast of musical collaborators including Micah Nelson (Particle Kid), Aroyn Davis, Milo Gonzalez, Tato Melgar, Lesterfari Simbarashe, and Edith Crash. On it, War moves freely between musical genres, anchored by her self-taught fingerstyle guitar work. Played on a temperamental Guild acoustic guitar she’s named “Big Baby” for its tendency to squall and feedback, Sunny’s guitar work is as dazzling as ever, notes cascading out of the guitar in Art Tatum-ish flourishes. Her songs cut deeply and are confessional at times, wounded at other times, and fiercely proud throughout.
The most recent advance single from the LP, “Drugs Are Bad,” is according to War, “a song I wrote when a friend of mine was trying to stop using antidepressants and was having a really hard time. It allowed me to see how addictive and scary these very mainstream mood stabilizers actually are.” As she explains about the title song and advance single “Shell,” “in relationships, people just treat [others poorly]. Then that person changes and they don’t recognize them anymore. If you keep attacking me, I’m going to morph into somebody who’s more defensive and more aggressive, so why are you surprised?”
“[Sunny War’s songs] evoke a wondrous, breathless beauty and are filled with hypnotic, acoustic calm. Her songs are exemplified by her tender voice, her unique style of guitar playing and her ability to touch the listener’s heart with her lyrics.” –WXPN’s World Cafe
“I was stunned silent [by Sunny War] … a voice that’s strong when it should be, fragile when it MUST be, self-taught fingerstyle guitar work, and a collection of songs almost without peer…” -American Highways
RIYL: Tracy Chapman, Valerie June, Particle Kid, Ani Difranco, Odetta, Julie Byrne, Erykah Badu, Cat Power
Label: Hen House Studios/ ORG Music
Going For Adds 7/30