Hen House Studios
For someone who spent a good bit of her young life living on the streets, hopping trains and living the life of a punk rock Kerouac, Sunny War writes some of the most calming, folk blues you’re going to find anywhere. Simple Syrup is War’s latest full length record. Sunny worked the sessions around her street level activism. She’s been in Black Lives Matter marches. She started a chapter of Food Not Bombs to directly help the people in need living around us, but often invisible.
The tunes on Simple Syrup are deceptively simple. Most are built around Sunny’s acoustic guitar and her rhythm section of her long time friends bassist Ayron Davis and drummer Paul Allen. Some of the songs are the sort of introspective fare you might expect from a California singer songwriter. “Kiss a Loser” is all about her drunken self, stumbling through relationships. “A Love So True” and “Losing Hand” are a few more that deal with relationships. But Sunny’s dreamy delivery carries some heavy weight. On “Like Nina,” she looks at what people expect a black woman artist to be. Sunny feels kinship with Nina Simone, a singer who took on the world on her own terms.
“Its Name Is Fear,” Stares down the weird world we’re living in. She wrote the song after her aunt passed from Covid-19, and her cousin insisted that Covid is a government conspiracy. “Deployed and Destroyed” is about one of her friends from her time living on the street. It’s about a veteran who returned from the war with PTSD, a trashed future and too little help with the psychic trauma.
Sunny considers herself to be first a poet and then a musician. The music is composed to compliment the words. I am frustrated by the lack of a lyric sheet. I know I’m missing a lot of what she’s singing about. What is “Mama’s Milk” about? I’d have a better idea if I could read the lyrics. Oh well. First World problems.