Graham Reid | | 1 min read
For someone whose music is heard regularly around the Elsewhere mansion, it's surprising that American singer/guitarist Steve Gunn's albums have only appeared at Elsewhere a few times (although we did do a major interview back in 2017).
Inspired by the British folk styles of the Sixties (Davy Graham, Bert Jansch etc) and cult figures like Mike Cooper and Jack Rose, Gunn has as a broad a musical palette as only artists in the 21stcentury can: Tom Verlaine, psychedelic folk, Kurt Vile, John Coltrane . . .
Now umpteen albums into a 15-year career, he delivers Other You as a dream-pop folkadelic collection which typically shimmers with electric guitar alongside the flexible rhythms of his fellow musicians which often sound created out of thin air (the stuttering and atmospheric Protection just past the midpoint which is laid out over a relentless groove).
There's a kind of ease and effortlessness about these 11 songs with the golden mercury tone of his guitar weaving in and around his lowkey vocals and the piano, percussion, guest vocalists (Julianna Barwick among them) which conjure up a beautiful warmth in many places.
These pieces create moods and soundscapes which swell and retreat, enfold and push away.
Call it avant-folk (the idiosyncratic Reflection arrives over keyboards and unleashes a stratopsheric guitar part), popadelic (Morning River) or whatever you like, it's genre-defying nature and the emotional comfort implicit here make this one of those albums for long afternoons . . .
Or indeed a long lockdown when you feel the need for an escape into the breezes he creates.
You can hear and buy this album from bandcamp here