field report no.060916

LOCATION: Music Hall of Williamsburg BK.NY
SUBJECT: Steve Gunn

I'm not sure where to catalogue my appreciation of Steve Gunn. He's just so… trad-rock. There's precious little in his music that deviates from templates established decades before, but he and his band bring a level of genuine enthusiasm and pure talent to it. In that way, it reminds me of fingerpickin' folk revival records. Thankfully, his music manages to avoid the pervasive frat-boy atmosphere so many roots-rock bands truck in.

He does manage some personal flair within the forms. I believe I can detect the slightest whiff of post-rock OCD repetition in it. His solos, though highly accomplished are never rote or overly grandstanding. His vocals serve the music well, but the closest analogy I can make is Sam Prekop in Sea and Cake: his voice weaves itself into the instrumental fabric—it's almost ignorable but the song wouldn't be the same without it.

Seeing them live, you have to marvel at their accomplishments. They make songs that are visibly challenging to play sound easy. What might, on record, sound like a jangly blues number is often made up of a complex interplay of dual guitars and intricate fretwork. 

NOTES: Steve Gunn and the Outliners