Mandolin Orange

Mandolin Orange (10:00 PM)

Sunny War (9:00 PM)

Wed, July 18, 2018

8:00 pm

Adv Tix $17.00 / DOS Tix $20.00

Sold Out

This event is all ages

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Mandolin Orange - (Set time: 10:00 PM)
Mandolin Orange
Lean in to Mandolin Orange’s album, Blindfaller, and it’s bound to happen. You’ll suddenly pick up on the
power and devastation lurking in its quietude, the doom hiding beneath its unvarnished beauty. You’ll hear
the way it magnifies the intimacy at the heart of the North Carolina duo’s music, as if they created their own
musical language as they recorded it.
Released September 2016 on Yep Roc Records, Blindfaller builds on the acclaim of Mandolin Orange’s
breakthrough debut on the label, 2013’s This Side of Jordan, and its follow-­up, last year’s Such Jubilee.
Since then they’ve steadily picked up speed and fans they’ve earned from long stretches on the road,
including appearances at Newport Folk Festival, Austin City Limits Fest, and Telluride Bluegrass. It’s been
an auspicious journey for a pair who casually met at a bluegrass jam session in 2009.
“When we finished Such Jubilee, I started writing these songs with a different goal in mind. I thought about
how I would write songs for somebody else to record,” Marlin explains. “I ended up with a bunch of songs
like that, but we chose ones that I still felt personally connected to.”
Holed up at the Rubber Room studio in Chapel Hill, N.C., with a full band this time around, they laid down
the tracks in a week between touring. They’ve always been keen on the notion that drawn-­out recording
sessions don’t necessarily yield better results. A good song, and just one good take, will always shine
through any studio sorcery.
The passage of time, and the regret that often accompanies it, courses through these songs. “When did all
the good times turn to hard lines on my face/ And lead me so far from my place right by your side?” Marlin
ruminates on “My Blinded Heart.”
In fact, there’s heartache by the numbers on Blindfaller. If you didn’t know better, you’d swear “Picking Up
Pieces” is a tearjerker George Jones or Willie Nelson sang back in the early 1970s. It’s a Mandolin Orange
original, of course, and also a poignant reminder of the economy and grace with which Marlin imbues his
songs – say what’s important and scrap the rest.
A country dirge with soulful washes of pedal steel and mandolin, “Wildfire” details the lingering, present-­day
devastation of slavery and the Civil War, with Marlin’s voice locking into close harmonies with Frantz on the
chorus. “Take This Heart of Gold” opens with perhaps the best classic-­country line you’ll hear all year: “Take
this heart of gold and melt it down.” (Marlin admits it was inspired by a Tom Waits lyric he misheard).
But there’s also room for detours. Straight out of a honky tonk, “Hard Travelin’” lets the band shift into
overdrive. A freewheeling ode to life on the road, it had been kicking around for a while but never fit on
previous releases.
As for the album title, it’s meant to evoke a sense of wonder, of contemplation. A “faller” is someone who
fells trees, and in this case that person is blind to his/her own actions and those of the world. The spectral
cover photo, by Scott McCormick, is open to interpretation, too: Either those trees are engulfed in flames or
sunlight is pouring through them. It’s up to you.
“We wanted different vibes and different intuitions on these tracks,” Marlin says, “and I feel like we really
captured that.”
Sunny War - (Set time: 9:00 PM)
Sunny War
“…her right thumb plunks the bass part while her forefinger upstrokes notes and chords, leaving the other three fingers unused. A banjo technique, it’s also used by acoustic blues guitarists. Her fingers are long and strong – Robert Johnson hands – in jarring contrast to the waif they’re attached to. The walking bass line sounds like a hammer striking piano keys in perfect meter, while the fills are dynamic flurries – like cluster bombs. I haven’t heard a young guitarist this dexterous and ass-kicking in eons.” - Michael Simmons, L.A Weekly

Sunny War (born Sydney Lyndella Ward) is more than just an artist; she is a force of nature that is tough to pin down. What exactly is her style? Is she a blues or punk artist? The answer is yes and no. You can try to place Sunny in a few boxes, but doing so would be a major disservice to the young songstress. Yes, she may be a Robert Johnson with a shot of Bad Brains, but even this description falls short. The only way to really know Sunny is to immerse oneself in the music. Easy enough, right? OK, maybe not that easy.

Sunny was born to single mother just over 20 years ago. Her childhood was unconventional. One way to describe it is nomadic. Her mother’s bohemian lifestyle had Sunny moving from place to place, including stays in Colorado and Michigan. Most stays were not for very long, usually about a year or so. “Throughout my whole childhood, I was in a different place every other year, so naturally, I am not used to staying in one place for too long. I think it is time to leave once people get to know your name,” she comically explains.

Early life was somewhat of a struggle because there were many instances Sunny experienced being different from her peers. This was especially evident when she moved from Michigan to Tennessee. “I lived in a predominately white suburb while I was in Rochester, Michigan. When I went to Nashville, I did not ‘talk Nashville.’ I felt the kids at school were really closed-minded, mostly because we were in the Bible Belt. They would harass me all the time. I was also small for my age and wore glasses, “says Sunny. She found music to be the ultimate refuge. “I was really depressed all the time, but I was playing guitar all the time. I would hang out with my cat. I did not have a lot of friends when I was younger,” says Sunny.



By the age of 13, Sunny taught herself to play guitar and began to write her own original songs. She credits her mother’s boyfriends for introducing her to the blues. Once that fire to create sparked, there was no turning back. Eventually, Sunny decided California would be a good place to try to set down some kind of roots and get her music heard. She found herself living and performing on the streets of San Francisco and San Diego.

After a short time, Sunny felt that familiar feeling…the need to change her scenery. She felt a strong connection to the eclectic art center, Venice Beach, CA, where she has become a mainstay performer on the world famous boardwalk on and off for 7 years.

In addition to memorable boardwalk performances, Sunny continued with a side project, Anus Kings, as an outlet for other musical interests. The band created a buzz in the local LA punk scene with frequent performances at the famed Downtown punk favorite, The Smell. “With Anus Kings, I try write punk stuff, but I try to write like a blues musician would,” she says when talking about her punk influence. Local art and music advocates in Venice soon caught wind of the young guitarists’ claw hammer style—a complex banjo style of guitar playing frequently used by Southern acoustic blues guitarists. After years of paying dues, fans and critics are finally beginning to “get it.”



Then there is her voice with all the melancholy found in Billie Holliday and its remarkable ability to cut through the listener’s heart like a hot knife through butter. Many Venice Beach cultural notables, including Gerry Fialka, have publically sung their praise (no pun intended). Soon, influential publications like the LA Weekly took notice. The attention resulted in a feature article by Michael Simmons. In the article, Fialka is quoted saying, “Sunny is going to blow your mind. She is like no one else.” http://www.laweekly.com/2009-07-16/music/meet-sunny-war/.



Sunny’s repertoire includes an expansive collection of songs exploring personal aspects of her life. Her lyrics prove she is not afraid to share her insights and philosophies on life. In her track, “Man of My House,” Sunny speaks on the trials and tribulations of living without a father in the home and inheriting the role of head of the household. Other tracks are just as powerful, but also contain a dose political philosophy as exemplified in the moving blues tracks, “Police State” and “Sheep.” There is also “Downtown–”a track that touches on the damage to one’s life drugs can cause without warning.

Sunny has indeed blown people away as evidenced by signing a sponsorship deal with Gibson Guitars and signed with performance rights organization BMI.
Venue Information:
Troubadour
9081 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA, 90069
http://www.troubadour.com/

All lineups and times subject to change