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Travel to Mongolia in Steve Gunn’s new “Way Out Weather” video

Steve Gunn | photo by Constance Mensch
Steve Gunn | photo by Constance Mensch

Steve Gunn has released a new video for “Way Out Weather,” the title track of his latest effort, which is set for release early next month on Paradise of Bachelors.  The clip follows up the album’s first single “Milly’s Garden” and presents the record as a thoughtful, contemplative take on experiencing all corners of the globe.

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Stream a new Steve Gunn song, “Milly’s Garden”

Steve Gunn | photo by Constance Mensh
Steve Gunn | photo by Constance Mensh

Steve Gunn will release the follow-up to last year’s excellent Time Off. Way Out Weather is scheduled for release on October 7th on Paradise of Bachelors.

The Philadelphia native stepped into somewhat of a new role with Time Off, becoming more of a bandleader rather than a solo artist or collaborator.  And with “Milly’s Garden” it feels like Gunn’s confidence, both in this new role and with his singing, has reached an all-time high.

It wouldn’t be a Steve Gunn jam without an impressive showing of instrumental dexterity, though, and “Milly’s Garden” has that in spades thanks to an expanded backing band that introduces Nathan Bowles (Black Twig Pickers), James Elkington (Jeff Tweedy) and Jimy SeiTang (Psychic Ills) to the already established mix of Jason Meagher, Justin Tripp and John Truscinski.  Philadelphia favorite Mary Lattimore also appears on the record to round out the crew.

Gunn will be in town on August 26th for a show at Underground Arts with Kevin Morby.  Tickets and information can be found here. Below, listen to “Milly’s Window.”

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: David Wax Museum at Ardmore Music Hall, Plastic Little at Underground Arts, Wake Owl at MilkBoy and more

David Wax Museum classifies their own sound as “Mexo-Americana,” claiming a uniqueness that blends Americana folk and Latin influences into one. Upon the release of their fourth album, Knock Knock Get Up, they were named WXPN’s Artist to Watch  – and for obvious reasons you can hear for yourself tonight at Ardmore Music Hall. The show starts at 8 p.m. and the $18 tickets can be purchased here.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Lee Ranaldo and the Dust at Boot & Saddle, Kevin Devine at Musikfest Cafe, Dirty Dozen Brass Band at World Cafe Live and more

Lee Ranaldo and the Dust | photo via www.facebook.com/leeranaldoandthedust
Lee Ranaldo and the Dust | photo via www.facebook.com/leeranaldoandthedust

Lee Ranaldo and the Dust headline Boot & Saddle tonight.  The founding member Sonic Youth has created an impressive solo career over the last couple of decades, most recently releasing Between the Times and the Tides in 2012 (ahead of an XPoNential Music Festival appearance) and Last Night on Earth in 2013.  In-between, Ranaldo has performed the works of John Cage in intriguing and experimental ways (check out an interview about it here).  Tickets and information for tonight’s 21+ show with Steve Gunn can be found here.  Watch Ranaldo and his band perform “Lecce, Leaving” on Conan below.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: XPN Welcomes Toy Soldiers at Johnny Brenda’s, Steve Gunn at Little Berlin, XPN Welcomes Shovels & Rope at Union Transfer and more

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Toy Soldiers celebrate the release of The Maybe Boys at Johnny Brenda’s.  The local roots / rock outfit recorded the LP with Bill Moriarty (Dr. Dog, Man Man) this year,  capturing most of the songs in a live set-up.  Live is the best way to experience the band – they’ve clocked in hundreds of shows on the road and know how to get the crowd invested.  Tickets and information for tonight’s 21+ show can be found here.  Check out Toy Soldiers’ Key Studio Session from earlier this week here and watch them perform “Tell the Teller” and “Forget How it Used to Be” below.

Steve Gunn returns to his home city for a show with Cian Nugent and Chris Forsyth at Little Berlin tonight.  The guitarist / singer has reached a new audience with his latest Time Off release, which he put out earlier this year through Paradise of Bachelors.  As he proved at the record’s release show in June, Gunn has a knack for blending playing styles from all over the world in an enthralling and transcendent way.  Tickets and information for tonight’s show can be found here.  Below, watch Gunn’s Tiny Desk Concert, presented by NPR Music.

Cold Roses headline MilkBoy Philly tonight.  The gravely-voiced local band released its debut EP The Georgia Fugue earlier this year and recently followed it up with August’s “The One You Love” single, taken from an upcoming LP.  Cold Roses echo the hard-lived grit of deep country rock but temper the edge with upbeat, danceable melodies.  Tickets and information for tonight’s show can be found here.  Listen to “Lose That Man” below.

XPN welcomes Shovels and Rope to Union Transfer.  The husband and wife duo have toured with Dawes, Jack White and Justin Townes Earle since releasing their debut LP O’ Be Joyful but are striking out on a headlining tour across the States this fall.  Based in South Carolina, Shovels & Rope perform foot-stomping , twangy and heartfelt country that is easy to sing along to.  Tickets and information for the show can be found here.  Watch the band perform “Gasoline” below.

Also happening: Hard Skin at Boot & Saddle; Randall Bramblett at the Sellersville Theater; Cheers Elephant at Ortlieb’s.  Tickets and information for all shows can be found on the XPN Concert Calendar.

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Listen to “Cat Mask at Huggie Temple” by Steve Gunn and Cian Nugent (playing Little Berlin on 9/13)

ciannugent
Cian Nugent

Road trips have long been the source of creative inspiration: for Jack Keruoac and On the Road, Peter Fonda / Dennis Hopper and Easy Rider, and now guitarists Cian Nugent and Steve Gunn with their upcoming LP Cat Mask at Huggie Temple.  Joined by drummer John Truscinski, the trio recorded two expansive and exploratory tracks as Desert Heat inspired by a joint tour that crossed continents and oceans.  The title track, now streaming on Soundcloud via distributing label MIE Music, stirs together the drone-y, meditative and wordless storytelling structures of Dublin’s Nugent and Brooklyn’s Gunn, reaching from the blues of the Delta to the ragas of India.  Nugent, Gunn and Philly’s Chris Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band will perform at Little Berlin on Friday, September 13th; more information can be found here.  Listen to “Cat Mask at Huggie Temple” below.

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Review: Steve Gunn celebrated the release of Time Off at Johnny Brenda’s

After set opener “Trailways Ramble” came to a stirring close at his Time Off record release show on Saturday night, Steve Gunn asked the crowd gathered at Johnny Brenda’s if the volume was “Black Sabbath” enough.  And though the Brooklyn-based guitarist was likely joking, he has more in common with the heavy metal pioneers than just a new album.  Like the Birmingham trio, Gunn is a master of longevity.  His fifteen-year career, now marked by many strong releases with a variety of collaborators, began in high school hardcore bands that were probably influenced by Ozzy and his crew to some degree.  But unlike the metal rockers, Gunn is a musical chameleon; he works not so much within the framework of a genre as he does around the capabilities of an instrument – and in his case that instrument is a guitar. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Steve Gunn at Johnny Brenda’s, The Felice Brothers at Mauch Chunk Opera House, Cough Cool at Kung Fu Necktie

Steve Gunn

Indie singer-songwriter/guitar virtuoso Steve Gunn is playing a record release show at Johnny Brenda’s tonight. The New York musician and his band are releasing Time Off on June 25th, not long after finishing up a tour with Kurt Vile. Gunn has a classic, old-soul sound to his music, along with a lot of solo acoustic jamming out – all of which you can hear in his recent studio session with The Key. Below, check out Gunn performing in Philly earlier this year. Tonight’s show will also include performances by Endless Boogie and Psalmships. Tickets and information can be found here.

Americana/Folk-rock outfit The Felice Brothers will be performing at the Mauch Chunk Opera House in Jim Thorpe. Their last album, God Bless You Amigo, is available only online. It is an effort to raise some money after the band’s home and equipment were almost destroyed in a hurricane, among other unfortunate events you can read about on the album page. Below, you can listen to a song off of the new album called “Lincoln Continental.” Tickets and information can be found here.

Another album release party – local poppy fuzz rock outfit Cough Cool is dropping their album 29 this weekend and is celebrating with a show at the Kung Fu Necktie! The album is already streaming on soundcloud, which you can check out below. Tickets are to be purchased at the door, but you can find some more information here.

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Talking travels, characters and Time Off with Steve Gunn (playing Johnny Brenda’s tomorrow night)

Steve-in-studioWe could all learn something from Steve Gunn.

Now in his mid-thirties, the Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter has eschewed the constraints of time that cause musicians to churn out mediocre work just to keep afloat.   For the last fifteen or so years he’s been building a network of collaborators and admirers in the underground clubs of New York, lending his nimble guitar playing to the drone / psych experiments of GHQ, the mystical and mysterious rumblings of his duo with drummer John Truscinski and always pushing the frontier of solo acoustic guitar playing.

His is a realm of genre confluence that innately desires experimentation, discovery and adventure while demanding an exact ability to work within rigid boundaries: chords, keys and tone.  And Gunn’s efforts have always been precise, even in their most free-form, avant-garde moments.  Perhaps the juxtaposition of freedom and limitations in his music comes from living in New York City for over a decade, a city that encourages its inhabitants to think outside the box and break down perceived walls, both creative and social, while simultaneously urging them forward in a swift current that doesn’t allow for many missteps.

All of this comes after Gunn cut his teeth in Philadelphia as a compatriot of Jack Rose and Meg Baird, becoming part of a local movement that celebrated and expounded on the trailblazing  fingerpicking of John Fahey, Harry Taussig and other American Primitivism guitarists.  His own albums are steeped in cultures both near and far, colored by trips to Morocco, Ireland, Turkey, Portugal and cities all over the U.S. and approached through the back alleys of acid jazz and psych-folk.

But back to timing.  Time Off, the follow-up to 2009′s Boerum Palace and Gunn’s label debut on Paradise of Bachelors, sees the Lansdowne native expertly weaving his experiences with raga, blues, folk, jazz and rock into a vibrant tapestry that reveals more and more of its intricacies over time.  It’s a crock-pot of American tradition, world travels, characters, moments and ideas that seem both familiar and new; it’s an homage to what music has been, is and could be that The Key’s editor, John Vettese, aptly described as a “vision quest.”  To learn more about his influences, process and the new LP I swapped emails with Steve ahead of his record release show this Saturday, June 22nd at Johnny Brenda’s. Continue reading →

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The Week’s Best Free MP3s, incl. Steve Gunn, The Shouting Matches, Tedeschi Trucks Band

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

Brooklyn-via-Philadelphia guitarist / singer-songwriter Steve Gunn was the focus of this week’s Key Studio Session in advance of his upcoming Time Off LP.  Backed by a bassist and drummer, Gunn performed three tracks off the album – stream and download “Old Strange” below and get the full set here.  He’ll be headlining Johnny Brenda’s on June 22nd.  Tickets and information can be found here.

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