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Saturday, December 2, 2023 at 8 PM
“I feel like there are two sides of me,” says the Nashville-based singer-songwriter and guitar virtuoso known as Sunny War. “One of them is very self-destructive, and the other is trying to work with that other half to keep things balanced.” That’s the central conflict on her fourth album, the eclectic and innovative Anarchist Gospel, which documents a time when it looked like the self-destructive side might win out. “Everybody is a beast just trying their hardest to be good. That’s what it is to be human. You’re not really good or bad. You’re just trying to stay in the middle of those two things all the time, and you’re probably doing a shitty job of it. That’s okay, because we’re all just monsters.”Extreme emotions can make that battle all the more perilous, yet from such trials Sunny has crafted a set of songs that draw on a range of ideas and styles, as though she’s marshaling all her forces to get her ideas across: ecstatic gospel, dusty country blues, thoughtful folk, rip-roaring rock and roll, even avant garde studio experiments (like the collage of voices that closes “Shelter and Storm”). She melds them together into a powerful statement of survival, revealing a probing songwriter who indulges no comforting platitudes and a highly innovative guitarist who deploys spidery riffs throughout every song.