She Returns From War is Hunter Park’s Homecoming
by Kristy Guilbault
Setting aside religion and politics, it’s hard to not fall in love with the beauty of the south. Rolling hills, towering trees and nearly year-round warmth embrace visitors in an organic hug of our famous hospitality. With elevated humidity and Spanish moss draped over every tree branch, coastal cities such as Savannah, Mobile and Charleston bring a witchy energy to classic southern charm.
She Returns From War — the cosmic Americana project of Charleston’s Hunter Park — embodies this magnetic phenomenon by fusing country, blues and rock elements. Park best exhibits this on her latest full-length release, Mirrored Moon Dance Hall, most notably on “Swamp Witch.” The track further explores Park’s southern roots, and the solace she’s found through rituals, divination and songwriting.
Park grew up in South Carolina, raised by her beloved grandmother, whom she refers to as “mom.” Throughout her life, Park has watched the powerful female figures around her practicing resilience, inspiring the band name She Returns From War, but Park also gained strength through her own set of tribulations. In early high school, she embraced her identity and began transitioning, which wasn’t widely accepted by her classmates, but familial support and creating music helped guide Park through the process.
“This is going to sound weird, but have you ever been on a road trip, and there's that moment when you're driving home and you're like, ‘I've learned all these things about the world and how it works, now I'm going to go home, and I'm going to apply them to my life?’,” Park says in an interview with Refinery 29.
You can see her newfound freedom in live performances; Park exudes buoyancy, wit and strength. She gives off an overwhelming sense of electric grit, pointedly singing, “Took awhile for you to figure it out / Circlejerking with the scum of the south / I think that’s light too bright, I think it’s burning you,” with a sparkle in her eye, on “Fingerprints.” She Returns From War is a culmination of Park’s identity, passion and life experiences; it’s a reminder that, regardless of labels, you can walk through fire and not be burned.
Catch She Returns From War at SGC Presents Saturday, Feb. 23rd at The Earl.