Sunday, May 26, 2024


Folk, Soul

The acoustic quartet – Andrew Sturtz [vocals, guitar], Jim Herlihy [banjo], Courtlyn Carpenter [cello, and Will Kuepper [bass]– falls somewhere at the intersection of folk and soul, with lead singer Andrew Sturtz’s melodic vocals soaring over the lower string instrumentals. Sturtz is based in Boulder, CO, and has toured across the U.S. opening for groups like the Eli Young Band, Trout Steak Revival, Lillie Mae, and Smooth Hound Smith. NPR’s All Songs Considered described the band as “a reassuring breath of fresh air that pulls me back to simpler times” in their April 2020 blog. Sturtz released their debut album You’ve Done this Before in August 2021, and now they are hard at work touring on this album and writing songs for their next album. When they’re not playing music, you’ll probably find them milling flour, farming, laying in a creek, or eating native foliage.


Soul, RnB

Soultru is a self-proclaimed hip-hop/soul crooner based out of the Midwest, calling Quad Cities, IA home for 30 years. Combining his poetic and lyrical talents with a soulful voice. Pulling in his influence from growing up around gospel music and listening to Fred Hammond and Smokie Norful along the way of a sheltered childhood crippled his love for new genres. As time passed, he found artists such as Gavin Degraw (who he credits as his biggest vocal influence), Brian McKnight, Anthony Hamilton, and Kanye West, who led him to find John Legend. He is among a group of young, talented, and driven artists that are the backbone of the Quad Cities indie music scene, a scene that has developed into a hidden gem in the Midwest for indie music of all genres in recent years.

Sunday, June 2, 2024

Rachel Brooke


She’s quite the paradox: a seasoned songwriter who perfectly embodies the music of the American South but lives in the wilds of Michigan. An artist who grew up performing with parents in the family bluegrass band but spent her teen years raging away in an all-girl punk band. An introvert off stage, whose wall-shaking voice has earned her a place at cutting- edge roots music festivals like Muddy Roots, SXSW, AmerianaFest, Mountain Top, and the Rochester International Jazz Festival. An icon of underground country, whose newest critically acclaimed album has been featured in major media outlets like CMT, Parade Magazine, Glide, and Cowboys and Indians, and garnered the attention from Nashville big-wigs. But when you sing this well and play like hell, who do you have to answer to anyways?

Rye Davis


Rye Davis is a modern day troubadour from Pig, Ky. Performing over 150 shows a year both as a headliner and supporting act. In that time he has opened for names like John Anderson, Kendell Marvel, Ward Davis, The Steel Woods, Brent Cobb, Darryl Worley, Andy Griggs, Chris Knight, Julie Roberts, Sunny Sweeney, and Whitey Morgan. He has been an invited performer at Nashville’s famous Bluebird Cafe. Brad Paisley gave Rye a big compliment when he said to him, ” You sound a lot like Alan Jackson.” Rye’s smooth, distinctive vocals, captivating songs and live show energy bring his brand of country music to a whole new generation of growing listeners who never knew what country could be. Armed with a can-do attitude and determination, Rye Davis stands as a beacon of hope for the return of real, down home music.

Sunday, June 9, 2024

Sweet Lizzy Project


In just a few years, Cuban-born, Nashville-based quartet Sweet Lizzy Project has gone from its members never having been in an arena, to mesmerizing an audience of 20,000 people when opening for their idols, Heart and Joan Jett. Along the way, the anthemic rock band earned a prime performance broadcast for PBS’s Havana Time Machine, an artist profile on NPR’s “Weekend Edition”, and a cover story in the Miami Herald.

SLP defected to the U.S. from Cuba in late 2017, just as the border doors were set to close once again. Prior to relocating to Music City, Sweet Lizzy Project became the “it band” around Havana City clubs. SLP also won several music prizes, including two nominations for Cuba’s closest equivalent of a Grammy. However, everything changed for the band when they were spotlighted on Havana Time Machine, which also featured traditional Cuban artists and iconic American roots-rockers, The Mavericks. During the making of the documentary, The Mavericks’ founder and lead singer, Raul Malo, became inspired by Sweet Lizzy’s music and story and signed SLP to his band’s record company.

Sweet Lizzy Project plays electrifying big stage pop-rock with a modern sheen and classic rock heart. Diaz is a lightning bolt of a front woman; her lyrics are boldly vulnerable, and her vocals range from seductive soft tones to rafter-rattling high tones. Her creative partner is world class engineer/producer, songwriter, background vocalist, and dazzling lead guitarist Miguel Comas. Diaz and Comas are joined in Sweet Lizzy Project by talented guitarist and bass player, Wilfredo Gatell, and skilled drummer Angel Luis Millet.



Riff based Rock ‘n’ Roll thats good for the soul.

Sunday, June 16, 2024

Shanna in a Dress

Folk Pop

Shanna in a Dress is your quirky best friend who refuses to wear pants. She says what everyone has felt but no one else will say and you’ll get an uncensored journey of clever humor and heartbreak, extreme candor, and a hefty side of entertainment at her shows. This witty wordsmith is known for taking you on an emotional roller coaster, sometimes within the same song. Think John Prine mixed with Ingrid Michaelson with a twist of Phoebe Buffay from Friends all wrapped up in a sweet voice accented by guitar, piano, and ukulele. She’s as real as it gets, as anyone who follows her on FB or Instagram knows.

Shanna started her career at the University of Virginia, fell in love with Boulder, Colorado, and now keeps her fun music flowing out of Nashville unless she’s touring the US or Europe. You can’t get the same Shanna in a Dress show twice with her spontaneous banter and playful stage presence. She manages to teeter the line masterfully of taking on complex subject matters with smart, bold, and yet accessible lyrics. Her charisma and boldly honest songs are full of interesting language and wordplay and delight audiences of all ages.

Most recently, Shanna in a Dress was pronounced the winner of the Rocky Mountain Folks Fest Songwriting Contest and will be performing with a full band at the 2023 Rocky Mountain Folks Fest. In 2020 alone, Shanna was a winner in the Kerrville New Folk competition, winner of the Great River Folk Fest Song Competition, a finalist at Songwriter Serenade, and a Grassy Hill Emerging Artist at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival.

During the summer of 2021, Shanna bicycled from Seattle to Boston while music-touring on her epic “Tour de Dress,” playing over 60 shows from coast to coast and partnering up with the global non-profit Pangaea World Foundation.

Emily the Band

Folk Pop

Emily the Band is a three-piece queer girl group based in Peoria, Illinois. Emily Antonacci, Camryn Proctor, and Abbey Haste began to share their indie alt-pop anthems with audiences in the Peoria area in April 2021. Since then, they have expanded their reach to Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City, Nashville, and beyond. Their highly-anticipated, self-produced debut album, the heartbreak album (2022), has been described as a “hooky pop-gem” (Jon Norton, WGLT). Their upcoming EP, mwah!, will be available in the summer of 2024.

Sunday, June 23, 2024

BlackCat Zydeco featuring Dwight Carrier


Dwight Carrier popularly known as, “The Black Cat” has become one of the most exciting Zydeco Accor-dionist of this era. He is deeply rooted in the “Carrier” family tradition, where music has always been a pas-sion and implemented into much of their families past time. He embraces both his family tradition as-well as his Cajun Creole Culture. Dwight has always had a unique style that infuses his zydeco, blues, country and R&B influences.

Growing up in the small town of Church Point, La in a time where rap music was gaining momentum, Dwight’s friends would laugh when he and his brother Joseph chose not to take that route. Initially, Joseph played the accordion while Dwight played the drums. It was after many relentless hours of practicing with his brother that Dwight grew restless. He yearned to play the accordion. It was with much practice, passion and determination that Dwight not only learned to play the accordion but was he able to play it well. He and Joseph switched instruments and it Dwight Carrier & the Zydeco Rockers was created.

In 1988, at the age of 14, Dwight recorded his ‑R&B 45 LP entitled “My Baby Left Me”, earning him local status, playing frequently on the zydeco circuit at trailrides and dance halls in and around the state of Lou-isiana. He realized that his friends were no longer laughing, but instead, were asking him to teach them to play.

In 1991, Dwight Carrier was asked to become a member of the Creole Zydeco Snap Band headed by Creole & Blues musician Warren Ceaser. He accepted the opportunity and became the groups’ accordionist. Dwight traveled with the band extensively around the world and for several years making appearances at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. On the 1995 CD entitled “The Crowd Pleaser”, Dwight released two more recordings, “Zydeco Coteau (Going Down South)” and “Zydeco Shuffle”.

After taking an extended absence from music, Dwight was able to work his way back into his music, play-ing with his uncle Zydeco Legend, Roy Carrier & the Night Rockers. He is has also had the privilege of playing with cousin Troy “Dikki Du” Carrier & the Zydeco Crew, Andre Thierry & Zydeco Magic, Hugh Robertson & Zydematics, Tony Trahan & Blue Krewe just to name a few while still being the front man for the Ro Doggs. Dwight “Black Cat” Carrier and The Ro’Doggs released their debut full length CD titled “It Ain’t My Fault” in early spring of 2009.

Dwight is one of the few Zydeco musicians with the ability to travel to a city, pick up a band of local musi-cians and produce a sound equivalent to that of artist working together for years. The ability to do this, al-lows him the ­flexibility to perform in places that may otherwise, not be economically feasible and still able to share traditional zydeco along with treating people to a great time. Dwight is a party band leader and his shows have been rated high energy fun. “The Black Cat”, is not the typical zydeco artist as, he draws from a wide variety of influences bringing it all home to the most exciting danceable night you’ll ever experi-ence! He looks forward to playing that “Old Thyme Zydeco”, with just an accordion and a rubboard.

Dwight has been able to share his musical talents all over the world including places such as; Italy, Sicily, Paris France, Central America and many parts of Canada. His influences include everyone from Clifton Chenier to James Brown with a little old time Zydeco and R&B for good measure. The “Black Cat” has recently returned from a nationwide tour with 2013 Grammy Nominated Artist, Andre Thierry. He has also performed with; “The Red Rocker” (Sammy Hagar), former bass/guitarist for James Brown “Robert Wat-son” and world class musician, Bobbie (Spider) Webb to name a few.

Creole Stomp with Dennis Stroughmatt


A Cajun Creole Honkytonk Party!

Creole Stomp has captured the ears and the feet of Louisiana music fans across North America. Led by French-speaking Creole fiddler and accordionist Dennis Stroughmatt, Creole Stomp keeps listeners enthralled and dancers moving on the floor with a rollicking mix of contemporary blues, swamp pop, and traditional Cajun and zydeco dance tunes.

Creole Stomp shows have become legendary for the heart and passion conveyed from the stage—music with emotion and energy that literally jumps from the band. In fact, over the years the band has become informally known as “The Grateful Dead of Creole Music,” for their well-oiled, dancer-driven, crowd-pleasing marathon jams and improvisation. Traditional Louisiana Cajun two-steps, reels, and waltzes sizzle in the stew along with Creole blues and mazurkas.

A favorite on the Cajun-zydeco dance circuit, the band has also become a celebrated fixture at venues around the United States, ranging from park concerts and theaters to folk and blues festivals. No matter the venue, wherever they come from, and wherever they go, Creole Stomp is a band that knows how to throw a Louisiana party!

What grew out of his Louisiana bayou experience, in 2002 Dennis Stroughmatt along with Robert Russell, created the foundation of what has become the premiere Cajun-Zydeco band in the midwest. They continue to carry the torch…along with new members including Greg Bigler and Doug Hawf…bringing the Louisiana bayou straight to your festival, dance or concert hall.

Sunday, June 30, 2024

David Rosales

Americana, Rock

Rooted in Americana and bathing in West Coast sunshine, Los Angeles-native, David Rosales aims to shed some light and happiness during this unprecedented time with his recently released eclectic
12-track sophomore LP — REVIVE .
“Strange times need good vibes,” says Rosales. “I’m ready to give the world a much needed dose of positivity.”
In conjunction with the release of REVIVE, Rosales & His Band of Scoundrels have been on the road, offering an uplifting and spirited live performance a sound that pairs well with contemporaries they have shared the stage with such as Ben Harper, Brandi Carlile, Matt Costa, The White Buffalo, Donavon Frankenreiter, Pokey LaFarge and Steep Canyon Rangers.

Dyer Davis III

Rock, Blues, Soul

Dyer Davis is an American singer / guitarist, who released his debut album for WildRoots Records in February. He spent the last 8 years of his young life as a rock artist, recently departing from the band Rubber Soul Child. Now at 23 he has returned to the music that first inspired him to become a musician. As a child his father also, a musician, turned him on to the music of the 60’s and 70’s. The artists that spoke to him the most were the blues-based rockers, especially the early Jeff Beck records featuring Rod Stewart. This instilled in him the importance of the blues as the key foundation of the music he was drawn to.

Sunday, July 7, 2024

STEAM Quartet

Traditional Irish

The Steam Quartet is a powerful combo of the leading exponents of traditional Irish music from the international acoustic scene. Chicago artists John Williams, Katie Grennan, Steve Morrow and Jeff Lindblade have thrilled audiences from Shanghai to Chicago and from Paris to Pittsburgh. Concertina, fiddle, bodhran and guitar ignite to raise the rafters and warm the heart. Appearances on BBC, PBS, Dreamworks, Riverdance and with the Chieftains round out their various backgrounds and their versatility embraces dance, wit, and road-tested musical integrity.

Blame Not the Bard

Traditional Irish

Blame Not the Bard is on a mission: to bring alive the songs and stories of Ireland. Expertly blending their captivating storytelling and historical knowledge with fiery instrumentals and musical prowess, Blame Not the Bard’s high-energy show will get your hands clapping and feet tapping through an afternoon of down-to-earth entertainment you won’t soon forget!

Sunday, July 14, 2024

LowDown Brass Band


Embodying the vibrant Chicago music culture, LowDown Brass Band is a one-of-a-kind horn ensemble weaving the rhythm of the streets with conscious hip hop, reggae, and soul. Rigorously touring, LowDown has performed on the most unique stages, from the Montreal Jazz Fest to the Cotai Jazz Fest.

Despite the last four years, LowDown has stayed busy, releasing Three albums, “The Reel Sessions, LowDown Nights and $itizens of the World”, which showcase their unique sound and further push the boundaries of their genre.

Leaning on their talent and unconventional style, LowDown Brass Band continues to carve out a path, defying convention and charting their own course in the ever-evolving landscape of music.

Kommuna Lux


“In Odesa, people find togetherness. In Odesa, all will laugh and sing.” Ukraine’s Kommuna Lux validates these words from an old poem, performing their own style called “Odesa Gangsta Folk:” thrilling klezmer music and common gangster folk songs from their hometown, all with a dose of rocket fuel.

Odesites have always been known for their great tolerance, easy-going lifestyle, and very special sense of humor. This multicultural port city is world-famous for its significant Jewish culture and for being the birthplace of the Urban Chanson genre. The streets are rich with nostalgia and a bohemian Black Sea coastal vibe. These are set to a timeless new level by the vibrant performances of the lovely singer Bagrat Tsurkan and his charming musicians. Kommuna Lux plays joyful songs and melodies from Odesa and all Eastern Europe in spiced up arrangements

Sunday, July 21, 2024

Mozzy Dee with 3 on the Tree


Hailing from her hometown of El Paso, “El Chuco”, Texas, Mozzy Dee is representative of her roots. Her Latina heritage, her family, and her passion for every music genre that influenced her as a child is what drives her.

As a child, she grew up watching Judy Garland with her abuelitos on TCM, wanting dearly to sing on Broadway. Her passion filtered into music theater in high school and college at the University of Texas at El Paso, where she took music theater classes and performed in a pedagogy recital. Her dreams continued as she won karaoke competitions and sang in dinner theater plays. Finally, she was able to put her words to lyrics and aided by friends of hers – The Shadowmen in Albuquerque, NM- she recorded her first few singles at Hot Damn Records owned by Jeremy McDonald.

As relationships faltered and the group dismantled, Mozzy Dee strived on. Friends of her in the industry that were unwavering in their dedication to helping her succeed – Luke Metz and Eddie Clendening- helped her write her debut album, “Orale!”. A new road of opportunity opened up as it was recorded at Lawless Noise and Vision- the recording studio pitched the album to Rum Bar Records and it was an instant hit! Mozzy Dee became a Rum Bar Records artist!

The album debuted under the label and hit the charts for various independent radio stations around the world- even the UK! Many singles made waves across the airwaves, including airplay on Sirius XM radio on the Underground Garage for DJs Rodney Bingenheimer and Bill Kelly.

Various magazines gave the album rave reviews, including Vintage Rock Magazine:

“New Mexico’s Mozzy Dee lives up to her Vintage Rock- approved Hot Prospect accolade with this impressive nine-track album that delves into affairs of the heart in all its forms. From tales of flirtation to bluesy kiss-offs, Dee is on feisty form, equally at home on heart-tugging mid-tempo numbers as she is on all-out rockers.”

Rhythm Future Quartet

Gypsy Jazz

The acoustic jazz ensemble, Rhythm Future Quartet has a straightforward agenda: to keep the spirit of Gypsy jazz alive and expanding in today’s musical universe. The virtuosic foursome, named for a Django Reinhardt tune, offers up a newly minted sound, influenced by the classic Hot Club of France, yet wholly contemporary. Founded by violinist Jason Anick, the quartet performs dynamic and lyrical arrangements of both Gypsy jazz standards and original compositions that draw upon diverse international rhythms and musical idioms. With Max O’Rourke, Henry Acker, and Greg Loughman rounding out the quartet, Rhythm Future is dedicated to expanding the boundaries of a vital musical genre.

The Fall of 2018 marked the release of their newest album, “Rhythm Future Quartet and Friends”, which features the critically acclaimed singer Cyrille Aimée, brazil’s top bandolimist Hamilton de Holanda, and world-renowned guitarist Stochelo Rosenberg. While maintaining the effervescent lilt, virtuosic musicianship and adventurous musical leanings of their previous recordings, Rhythm Future Quartet and Travels (picked as one of the best jazz albums of 2016 by All About Jazz and the Huffington Post), RFQ and Friends brings vibrant new colors to the mix. JazzTimes Magazine stated, “RFQ and Friends is packed to the gills with feeling and remains consistently dynamic, full of virtuosity and swing.” With its arresting blend of Hot Club of France styled string jazz, Brazilian and East European idioms, original compositions and hints of classical music, the album marks a significant moment in the growth of a continually evolving ensemble. (And one with continually increasing popularity: the quartet’s version of Django’s “Minor Swing” has over four million views on YouTube, while their video clip of “Bushwick Stomp” from Travels has over three million Facebook views.)

Jason Anick, an award-winning composer and violin professor at the esteemed Berklee College of Music in Boston, has shared the stage with an array of artists including Grammy award winning guitarist John Jorgenson, Stevie Wonder, The Jim Kweskin Jug Band, and Tommy Emmanuel. Henry Acker is a young powerhouse jazz guitarist who performs both in the style of Django Reinhardt as well as traditional jazz. A child prodigy who began playing at age 8 and performing professionally at age 9, his talent and abilities have developed into nothing short of astonishing. Henry has already shared the stage with jazz greats Bucky Pizzarelli, Frank Vignola, Julian Lage, Bireli Lagrene and Vic Juris. He is a five-time winner of the Downbeat Magazine Student Award for jazz guitar soloist.

Guitarist Max O’Rourke, was the winner of the 2015 Saga Award from DjangoFest Northwest and at 22 has already toured/recorded with many of the top American Gypsy Jazz musicians including John Jorgenson and Gonzalo Bergara. Greg Loughman is a top call bassist in Boston and has been heard with such luminaries as Sheila Jordan, Curtis Fuller and George Garzone.

Sunday, July 28, 2024


Bluegrass, Folk, Pop

Rolling Stone named EmiSunshine among “10 new country artists you need to know,” but she is much more than country. With a musical style described as “old-timey,” the East Tennessee native performs her own unique contemporary blend of roots music that is equal parts Americana, Bluegrass, Gospel, Blues and Jazz.

Known for her powerful voice and masterful ukulele-playing, the 19-year-old singer/songwriter has been attracting national attention since she was 9 years old, with appearances on Today, NBC’s Little Big Shots, Pickler & Ben, Song of the Mountains, WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour the Grand Ole Opry and elsewhere. In 2018, she was featured in the Grammy-nominated Elvis Presley documentary film The King, for which she wrote and performed two original songs—“Johnny, June and Jesus” and “Danny Ray.” In 2019, she received the prestigious ASCAP Foundation Desmond Child Anthem Award for musical excellence.

With 10 albums released under own name and guest appearances on other projects, EmiSunshine’s evolution as a singer, songwriter and musician is on full display. Her latest album, SIDESHOW (to be released on October 6, 2023), explores themes of lost love, diversity, independence and more.

Likewise, her 2022 album, DIAMONDS, explores themes of love, loss, self-esteem and misogyny. In a review, No Depression described the album as filtering “traditional sounds of roots music through pop…into a bluegrass state of mind.” American Songwriter called it “an ambitious offering from an artist whose talent and ambition reside well beyond her years.”

Emi’s 2019 album, FAMILY WARS, which was produced by 4-time Grammy-winner Tony Brown in Nashville, also received outstanding reviews in leading music publications. No Depression wrote that the album “establishes EmiSunshine as a strong creative force… someone bold and talented enough to tackle today’s issues while honoring yesterday’s folk traditions.” Country Standard Time called it, simply, “a superb album.”

Emi has opened for, or shared the stage with the likes of Loretta Lynn, Rhonda Vincent, Vince Gill, Tanya Tucker and more. A true prodigy, she began writing songs at the age of 5 with help from her mother, Alisha Hamilton, with whom she still regularly writes. Many of her songs deal with serious themes like domestic violence and addiction, but she is equally drawn to uplifting stories that celebrate equality and offer encouragement to anyone facing challenges in life. Her ideas come from many sources, including watching the news and sometimes even listening to other people’s conversations. “I don’t intentionally eavesdrop, but sometimes it just happens,” she admits.

Emi regularly co-writes with other acclaimed songwriters, including Jim Lauderdale, Vicky McGehee, Leslie Satcher and more. In 2020, she collaborated with Grammy-winning funk music legend Bootsy Collins on the song “Stars” to benefit the Recording Academy’s MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund.

The David Mayfield Parade


David Mayfield grew up playing bass and touring with his family’s bluegrass band. As a teenager he established himself as a hot picker collecting national awards for his dexterity on guitar and mandolin. His knack for colorful performances was evident as a backing player in his sister Jessica Lea Mayfield’s band including their appearance on “The Late Show with David Letterman.” He oozed personality on stage – a trait that makes him a natural frontman. He took his skills and personality when he joined the bluegrass outfit Cadillac Sky, playing sold out shows with British folk revivalists Mumford and Sons. Around then Mayfield began writing songs after hearing artists like Randy Newman and Simon & Garfunkel. Encouraged by his sister Jessica, & friend Seth Avett, to record his original material, Mayfield did just that, to much acclaim. Since that time he has toured almost non-stop. Conscious of not just being a musician, but an entertainer – something his father instilled in him in the family band—he certainly makes an impression live. But it’s the strength of his songwriting and musicianship, combined with that charm and personality that keep audiences consistently lining up to join the parade.

Sunday, August 4, 2024

Sunny War

Gospel, Blues, Folk, Rock, and Avant Garde

“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 tryin g 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.

It’s a style she’s been honing for most of her life, at least since she took her first guitar lessons and fell in love with music. “When I was a kid, I was obsessed with AC/DC, and I loved dramatic ‘80s guitar bands like Motley Crüe. Later, I was obsessed with Bad Brains, the Minutemen, and X.” True to the punk ethos, her first punk band, the Anus Kings, made music with whatever they had at hand, and what they had at hand were acoustic guitars. That made them stand out among other Los Angeles groups at the time, and today Sunny is the rare roots artist who covers Ween and can drop a Crass reference into a song (as she does on “Whole”). “I don’t really make music with a traditional roots audience in mind. I like weird music, outsider music, like Daniel Johnston and Roky Erickson.”

Even as she was developing a guitar style that married acoustic punk to country blues, those two sides of Sunny were already at odds. As a teenager, she began drinking heavily, which led to her dropping out of school. She played punk shows, stole and chugged bottles of vodka, and quickly became addicted to heroin and meth. For money she busked along the boardwalks in Venice Beach, recording an album to sell out of her guitar case and letting that self-destructive side win most of the battles. But “the body can’t handle both heroin and meth,” she explains. “When you’re young, it’s hard to gauge that you’re killing yourself.” A series of seizures landed her in a sober living facility in Compton, so emaciated that she could only wear children’s pajamas.

Music remained a lifeline, and she fell in with a crew at Hen House Studios in Venice, where over the years she made a series of albums and EPs, including 2018’s With the Sun and 2021’s Simple Syrup. Twelve years after she kicked meth and heroin, Sunny is remarkably candid about this time in her life. “Everyone I loved died before they reached 25. They OD’ed or killed themselves. We were just kids who didn’t have anyone looking out for us. You’re not supposed to know so much about death at such a young age. Maybe that’s why I write a lot about not taking shit for granted, because it always feels like something’s about to happen.”

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.”

Once her lease in Los Angeles ended, Sunny moved to Nashville, where she was born and where she lived until she was twelve years old. Among the items she packed were demos for several new songs of heartache and hard-won hope. “I think the album is split between being a breakup album and being somehow uplifting.” She booked sessions at the Bomb Shelter to work with producer Andrija Tokic (Hurray for the Riff Raff, Alabama Shakes, the Deslondes). “I already liked a lot of the records that Andrija had made. As far as new stuff goes, a lot of my favorite albums were produced by him, so I thought we’d be a good match.”

Working with a small backing band, they captured a raw energy in these songs, although one instrument gradually dominated the music as they proceeded: her own voice and the voices of others trying to stay between good and bad. Most of these songs are call-and-responses with a small choir that includes Allison Russell, Jim James, Dave Rawlings, and Chris Pierce (her partner in the duo War & Pierce). Acting as the angels and devils on her shoulders, they alternately challenge her self-accusations or sympathize with her worries. “There’s so much singing on here. I didn’t plan for that, but I really like it. That’s why I thought it would be cool to call the album Anarchist Gospel, because of the choirs on these songs.”

Music assuaged her heartache and confusion, even the songs she didn’t write. Despite its title, her reimagining of Dionne Farris’s “Hopeless” is perhaps the album’s most hopeful moment: “I cried just a little too long,” she sings. “Now it’s time for me to move on.” On the sadder end of the spectrum is her cover of Ween’s “Baby Bitch”; showcasing her sly sense of humor, it’s a playfully melancholy kiss-off that features a choir of kids singing along as she tells an ex, “I’m better now, please fuck off.” It’s funny, but uneasily so: a joke that reveals something bleaker. “It’s such a great breakup song! You’re out there somewhere and run into your ex with their new partner. But you know who they really are. You know they’re being a bitch. There aren’t many songs that get to that kind of experience without turning it into a joke.”

As the sessions wound down and the mixing process started, Sunny got the worst news imaginable. “My brother called me and told me I should come to Chattanooga. My dad was in the hospital, and he wasn’t going to make it. I called Andrija and told him I had to cancel the session and catch a Greyhound. Instead, he insisted on giving me a ride. He drove me down to see my dad. I barely knew this guy, and he was doing this incredible thing for me. I don’t know too many other producers who could navigate that kind of situation.” That simple act of kindness helped her endure that astounding loss, even as the grieving process threw these songs into even sharper relief.

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.”

Lone Piñon


Lone Piñon is a New Mexican string band, or “orquesta típica”, whose music celebrates the integrity and diversity of their region’s cultural roots. With fiddles, upright bass, guitars, accordions, vihuela, and bilingual vocals, they play a wide spectrum of the traditional music that is at home in New Mexico.

The Norte has long been a crossroads of cultures, and centuries of intersecting histories, trade routes, migrations, and cultural movements have endowed the region with an expansive and rich musical heritage that weaves together Spanish, Mexican, Indigenous, European immigrant, Anglo-American, and Afro-American musical influences. The oldest strands of this tradition have survived in continuity, renewed by each new generation’s contribution to core style and repertoire that has been passed from musician to musician, in some cases over many centuries. Though rapid cultural change since the ‘50s has led to these sounds becoming scarce in their home territory, they never fully disappeared–thanks to the elders and past generations that lovingly and tenaciously carried them forward, renewing the voice of their musical ancestors at each step into changing circumstances.

The musicians of Lone Piñon learned from elder musicians who instilled in them a respect for continuity and an example of the radicalism, creativity, and cross-cultural solidarity that has always been necessary for musical traditions to adapt and thrive in each generation. In 2014, Lone Piñon was founded as a platform for creativity around the oldest sounds of traditional New Mexico string music, sounds that had all but disappeared from daily life in many Northern New Mexico communities. Through relationship with elders, study of field recordings, connections to parallel traditional music and dance revitalization movements in the US and Mexico, and hundreds of local and national performances, they have brought the language of the New Mexico orquesta típica back onto the modern stage, back onto dance floors, into a contemporary aesthetic/artistic conversation, and into the ears of a young generation.

The musical landscape of Northern New Mexico bears the record of interconnecting musical movements that cross state, national, generational, and ethnic borders. Lone Piñon’s active and recorded repertoire reflects that complexity, and has included a wide range of regionally-relevant material (Western swing, conjunto, New Mexican Spanish and Mexican ranchera, Central Mexican son regional, country, onda chicana, etc.) around the core New Mexican violin and accordion-driven polkas, cunas, inditas, valses, and chotes learned from elders.