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Jim Donovan and the Sun King Warriors | Autumnfest

Jim Donovan and the Sun King Warriors | Autumnfest

Autumnfest Foggy Stage | October 21, 2018 | 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

Think Led Zeppelin meets Mumford & Sons with two tons of drums. Sun King Warriors can be best described as high energy roots rock, with a strong dose of tribal style drumming.

How does a musician move forward without completely disavowing his past?
Jim Donovan has found the perfect vehicle in the Sun King Warriors, a band that shares his vision of what music can be while also acknowledging his tenure in the groundbreaking Pittsburgh-based band Rusted Root.

We See Through It, the Sun King Warriors’ second album, is a brilliant collection of songs that are felt as much as heard. Donovan and his bandmates have created an album that reveals new textures and grooves with each listen. Drawing from a rock base, the Sun King Warriors allow each song to expand and take on new shapes and dimensions.

“With this project I’ve purposely decided it doesn’t have to be any one thing,” Donovan says. “If we’re inspired to do something, we’re just going to do it and not overthink it.”

We See Through It follows the success of Sun King Warriors, the band’s self-titled debut. That album earned rave reviews in national press outlets, was played on 93 radio stations across the U.S., and was listed on the Billboard Americana charts.

The new material is an extension of Donovan’s initial vision. Each song takes listeners on a journey to an unexpected musical vista. “You Are My Everything” is a ragged, bluesy rocker that turns into a foot-stomping rave-up. The middle section of “Ahh Can You Feel It” features transcendent psychedelic guitar punctuated by chanting of the song title. “We Have Arrived” percolates with a pleasant mid-tempo melody before erupting in a chorus of voices.

When heard in its entirety, We See Through It becomes a grand mosaic of sound.

“The record becomes a work of art,” Donovan says. “All the songs relate to each other and they have a theme, they have a story, they have their own feeling.”
The album does reflect the current zeitgeist. As dishonesty and obfuscation becomes increasingly prevalent in society, We See Through It becomes a rallying cry and a statement of belief in the power of perception and truth.
“There’s anger but also resolve,” Donovan says. “I think a lot of people are so much smarter than the people doing the lying. They don’t realize how much we understand.”

In order to realize his vision, Donovan assembled a stellar roster of musicians with diverse backgrounds. Bassist Kent Tonkin, percussionists Harry Pepper and Bryan Fazio, drummer Joe Marini, and guitarist Kevin McDonald are elite performers from Western Pennsylvania.

We See Through It was produced by Sean McDonald of Red Medicine Recording Studio in Pittsburgh whose credits include Wynton Marsalis, Patty Griffin, and Chuck Prophet.

“On this record it transitioned from doing most of the work myself and bringing people in once awhile to where almost every guy is on every song,” Donovan says. “It’s a special thing because the first piece of this is that we’re friends. The synergy when we do get together is special.”

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