Steve Gunn‘s tenacity and prolific output have paid off. When I saw the man mentioned in Rolling Stone in conjunction with his latest, Way Out Weather, which also received favorable notice in all the right places, I felt that sense of vindication that sometimes the mainstream gets it right. Properly hailed in that magazine as a “six-string legend”, what is perhaps more notable about Gunn’s recent turns is his growth as a vocalist. More than a few guitarists’ careers have foundered when the man stepped to the microphone, but Gunn’s vocal turns, particularly on his last two records, have only broadened his appeal. You’d be mistaken if you ignored instrumental triumphs like Boerum Palace and Ocean Parkway (or his Golden Gunn effort with Hiss Golden Messenger), but Gunn has established himself now as a capable traditional frontman as well as one of the most exciting guitarists of his generation.
This show celebrated the release of Way Out Weather in Gunn’s hometown, and he and the band arrived exhausted but loose from a too-long stint on the parking lot of I-95. The show began almost informally, with the band’s soundcheck seguing into a jam that became “Water Wheel” from Time Off, followed by “Old Strange” from that album in a similar, extra-extended mode. Gunn took his time between tracks to chat about the meanings of songs (“Wildwood” came from a lot of time on the Jersey shore as a kid; “Milly’s Garden” arose out of conflict with a nosy neighbor) and joke with the crowd. The vibe was both homecoming and celebration, as it should have been. The title track and “Tommy’s Congo” already feel like live show standards, offering Gunn ample opportunities to shred on guitar. Likewise, he and the band didn’t hold back on the encore number, “Lurker”, a song celebrated for a while now as one of the best examples of Gunn’s vintage blues. Gunn’s exposure to the world has been a bit like his music, unfolding without hurry, at his own pace. Here’s to more people spreading the word.
I recorded this set with Schoeps MK41 supercardiod microphones and a soundboard feed from Rough Trade engineer in our usual location in the venue. The sound quality is excellent. Enjoy!
Stream the full set (minus banter tracks):
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Rough Trade NYC
Brooklyn, NY USA
Exclusive download hosted at nyctaper.com
Recorded and produced by acidjack
Schoeps MK41 (DFC, PAS, at SBD)>KCY>Z-PFA>Sound Devices USBPre2 + Soundboard (engineer: Nick)>Edirol R-44 [OCM]>2x24bit/48kHz WAV>Adobe Audition CS 5.5 (align, mix down, compression)>Izotope Ozone 5 (EQ, effects)>Audacity 2.0.3 (tracking, amplify, balance, downsample, dither)>FLAC ( level 8 )
Tracks [Total Time 1:15:25]
01 intro jam>Water Wheel
03 Old Strange
07 Shadow Bros
09 Milly’s Garden
10 Way Out Weather
12 Tommy’s Congo
13 [encore break]
Steve Gunn – Vocals, guitar
Nathan Bowles – Banjo, drums
Jim Elkington – Guitar
Jason Meagher – Drums, bass