Sunny War

Resident DTLA Presents

Sunny War

Sunny War with Ismay at Resident

Thu May 25 8:00 pm

Resident DTLA 428 South Hewitt Street - Los Angeles, CA 90013

Sales Ended

This event is 21+

Sunny War with Ismay at Resident

“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.

Building on those hard-won triumphs of previous albums, Anarchist Gospel documents a moment when Sunny had finally gained the upper hand on her self-destructive side, only to watch that stability crumble. “I went through a breakup,” she says of the album’s genesis, “and I was still staying in the apartment that my partner and I had lived in. I had to finish the lease. I was really depressed and drinking a lot. I felt so isolated from everybody I knew. I didn’t have the energy to do anything. It felt like the world was ending. Then I got Covid.” Sunny admits she contemplated suicide, but instead she wrote a song, “I Got No Fight,” a muted, measured gospel number on which she sings that title like a battered mantra. It’s a moment of almost unbearable honesty, although fortunately she did find the fight in herself. “I was just having a tantrum really. A lot of my songs are just tantrums. But I did feel better after writing it.”

Because it promises not healing but resilience and perseverance, because it doesn’t take shit for granted, Anarchist Gospel holds up under such intense emotional pressure, acknowledging the pain of living while searching for something that lies just beyond ourselves, some sense of balance between the bad and the good. “This album represents such a crazy period in my life, between the breakup and the move to Nashville and my dad dying. But now I feel like the worst parts are over. What I learned, I think, is that the best thing to do is just to feel everything and deal with it. Just feel everything.”



There’s music you hear and there’s music you see, the best kind achieves both. ISMAY creates intimate folk/Americana songs that transport you straight to the land where they were written - deeply rooted in the heart of Sonoma Mountain. Melding the experience of taming wild horses, escaping wildfires, and birthing lambs with warm guitars, rich mandolins, and delicately graceful vocals, it is an original soundscape that is a delight to the ears as well as the imagination.

Driven by singer/songwriter Avery Hellman, ISMAY released their debut full length album Songs Of Sonoma Mountain in 2020, to widespread acclaim. It was named one of the 10 best Albums in the Bay Area and garnered features in American Songwriter, No Depression, Sonoma Magazine, and more. Blending field recordings and intricate melodies with live, guitar-based inventive composition, it is a proper introduction to the old-world charm of ISMAY.

For their sophomore album, Desert Pavement, they teamed up with prolific Folk/Americana multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and producer Andrew Marlin of Watchhouse. Hellman and Marlin both find solace in nature, and traded the sheep barn from which Songs of Sonoma Mountain was born, for Echo Mountain, the iconic studio built from an old church on the outskirts of Asheville, NC.

The result is a beautiful collection of songs with a more lighthearted feel and driving rhythmic grooves, woven together with the familiar California-ranch landscapes and rich layered acoustic textures as before. Hellman shares their sharpened musical craft with 13 original songs as the sole writer. Highlights include “The Shearer & The Darby Ram,” a dreamy opening track that gently builds with acoustic guitars and mandolin, the uplifting “Stranger In The Barn” with melodic acoustics and pastoral storytelling, the achingly minor and melancholy “Lonely Stallion,” and the joyfully lilting “Coyote In The Road.”

Gearing up for the release of Desert Pavement, ISMAY will reveal 2023 tour dates in addition to confirmed performances at the San Francisco Jazz Festival and the Cowboy Poetry Gathering. Recently announced, ISMAY is featured as one of a select group of artists from around the world participating in the Apple TV+ Show My Kind of Country, produced by Kacey Musgraves and Reese Witherspoon. To stay up to date with ISMAY please visit

IG: @ismaymusic

FB: @ismaymusic



428 S Hewitt St

Los Angeles, CA