Preview – Steve Gunn at Gasa Gasa 3/20 | New Orleans

Tonight, Friday March 20th, Steve Gunn rolls into New Orleans for an Uptown show at Gasa Gasa. The show gets started at 10 pm, with Ryley Walker opening. Gunn’s latest album, Way Out Weather, was released October 7th of 2014 on Paradise of Bachelors.

The collection seems short at eight tracks, but resonates with mid-tempo acoustic-driven songs that float and nod in no particular hurry, extending 5-6 minutes regularly. The space allows the notes and melodies to breathe, and has a way of letting the listener settle firmly in the the center of the mix.

There is a meditative quality present in his work. In the title track, a main riff drives the song forward, while pedal steel guitar and piano twinkle on the frays of the stereo mix. Gunn’s gritty, earnest voice is sparse, but effectively employed.

Gunn’s albums and live videos show a substantial virtuosity when it comes to acoustic, finger-picked guitar playing. Those who have seen M. Ward and are familiar with the legendary catalog of John Fahey will be big fans of Gunn’s subtle, precise picking.

Steve Gunn | Photo by Constance Mensh

If some of the qualities of Steve Gunn seem familiar, you may be reminded of the music of Kurt Vile – particularly his pre-Smoke Ring catalog. Vile’s early records specialized in similar spaced-out folk rock, with synthesizers and drum machines substituted for pedal steels and pianos. This comparison is more than reasonable, Gunn played in Vile’s backing band as a Violator.

Like Vile, Gunn has prolifically released records with little recognition for years. But that part of Gunn’s career is beginning to fade into the rearview mirror – it was recently announced that Gunn would be working with Matador for future releases – one of the most respected active labels in the music community. Additionally, he is slated to open for Wilco on this summer’s 20th anniversary tour.

Tonight’s show at Gasa Gasa promises to be an entertaining affair for those of us who prefer a smoke over a drink some Fridays, hope to see you out.

Steve Gunn | Photo by Constance Mensh