Los Angeles-based singer, songwriter and guitarist Sunny War (née Sydney Lyndella Ward) was born to a single mom in Nashville. She had what's she's described as a nomadic childhood, moving around from Michigan, Colorado, and living on the streets of San Francisco. Now in her mid-20s, War settled down in Los Angeles as a teenager, and became known for her street playing in Venice Beach.
War is a fantastic guitar player. She learned her plucking style by playing "Blackbird" by The Beatles, and by falling in love with the blues. "I feel like I am a blues guitarist, but I don't think I'm a blues artist," she says. "I only use the scales and techniques that I know, and the only time I was trained in music was on blues guitar. I really love Elizabeth Cotten and Mississippi John Hurt," says War.
Citing influences as diverse as Robert Johnson, Elmore James, Tracy Chapman, Joan Armatrading and Black Flag, the songs on War's forthcoming album, With The Sun, 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. On her 2015 full length, Worthless, War aimed squarely in the blues-folk genre. On her forthcoming release, she maintains elements of blues and folk, but has matured into a more traditional singer-songwriter style. This new sound is nicely showcased on "If It Wasn't Broken."
The video for the song, which we're premiering above, was filmed in Venice Beach on the boardwalk. "I wrote 'If It Wasn't Broken' at the end of a rough relationship," War writes in an email. "The chord progression is soothing to me, and I especially like Nikita Sorokin's violin part. If you listen carefully you can hear the surdo drum imitate a beating heart throughout the track. This was the producer Harlan [Steinberger]'s idea. I hope the pulse of this song can comfort and resonate with other broken-hearted people."