Steve Gunn

SG

Steve Gunn is one of the best guitarists I’ve had the pleasure to see play live. I’ve always found his music so easy to get lost in and daydream to places far and beyond where I sat. So it seems perfect that his third effort as a full-out singer/songwriter delves into exploration and experiencing your environment as the central theme for Eyes On The Line.

That appreciation of exploration and the enjoyment of space around him is evident in his playing. Gunn’s fingers aren’t firing up and down the fret. Nor is he contorting his body into yoga positions as he holds a note for 5 seconds. Instead his fingers pick at the strings as they dance around his guitar making some of the most wonderful tones you’ll hear come out of a guitar.

But it is continued growth as a vocalist and a writer that is taking him to a new level. These are Gunn’s strongest tunes to date and he delivers his vocals as if he espousing us with a way to live life to the fullest. Well, I’ve decided to cash in on this advice and rearrange my schedule to catch his show at Schuba’s tonight. Hope to see you there.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

Steve Gunn is here

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Steve Gunn – Way Out Weather [album review]

by Woody on October 10, 2014

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Photo by Constance Mensh

Steve Gunn hadn’t registered on my radar until I discovered Hiss Golden Messenger via the Paradise of Bachelors label. From there I picked up some other great artists such as Promised Land Sound and Steve Gunn. Time Off was Gunn’s 2012 effort. And while late to the party, it soon found its way into the steady rotation. Way Out Weather picks up where that left off, blending hypnotic guitar riffs with subtle flourishes and his easy-going vocals. The flourishes can be a quick blast of feedback or some gentle steel. Whatever it may be, there is space; always space. Gunn’s ability to spread these songs out, as most are over 5 minutes, is truly magical.

There’s no denying that Gunn is a phenomenal guitar player. You’d have to be giving yourself a swirlie to miss that. What takes a few listens to pick up on is that he is fabulous songwriter and arranger. Tracks like Wildwood, Milly’s Farm and Drifter all have moments that make you sit up and take notice.

But the track that is my favorite is the closer – Tommy’s Congo. It is blend of Tinariwen, War On Drugs and Tame Impala. The first minute & forty seconds is a master-class on building tension and anticipation with a guitar riff. I can feel Gunn’s riff go up and down my spine. The solo, about 3:30 in is just so damn tasty. The way he brings back that opening riff and then layers them on top of each other. Man, that is fucking brilliance.

Much like his former label-mate, Michael Taylor of Hiss Golden Messenger, Gunn has been putting out quality music for years but recently seems to picking up more notice. It is great to see artists like them getting their just due. Kudos to the Paradise Of Bachelors label for all their hard work.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa

Steve Gunn is here

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ATOZ_12in_TIPON

I came late to the Steve Gunn party. It was a year after Time Off came out that I really starting digging his 2013 effort. Since then, I have played it religiously. Lucky for me, he has a new album coming out on October 7 via the always excellent Paradise of Bachelors. Here’s some scoop on the album.

Steve Gunn’s Way Out Weather is the virtuosic guitarist and songwriter’s career-defining statement to date, an inscrutable, but entirely self-assured masterpiece that completes Gunn’s satisfying transformation into a mature songwriter, singer, and bandleader of subtlety and authority. A heady and elliptical travelogue, the record demonstrates a widescreen evolution featuring a broader instrumental palette, higher production values than ever before and a bigger crew of accomplished musicians to flesh out the full arrangements. This intuitive and inventive band trusted the germinal songs to an instinctual process of spontaneous composition, transposition and improvisation, allowing Gunn to sculpt Way Out Weather as a player, composer and colorist.

Way Out Weather’s predecessor and Gunn’s first full-band album, Time Off, represented the culmination of a steady fifteen-year migration from the frontier fringes of the guitar avant-garde and toward his special style of more traditionally informed (albeit deconstructed) songcraft. Those songs developed from years of woodshedding and performance, offering a linear, local narrative that mapped the contours of Gunn’s Brooklyn neighborhood and a matrix of musical friendships, earning him a broad new following. Way Out Weather, on the other hand, angles for something far more cosmic, dynamic and expansive in sound and sentiment. Gunn’s discursive, mantric guitar style maintains its signature intricacy and mesmeric propulsion. All the while, his vocals are present, commanding and refined, revealing a restrained, but highly nuanced baritone capable of remarkable grace.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa

Doesn’t look like Steve is on Twitter. However, Paradise of Bachelors is here.

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