Eclectic guitarist Steve Gunn delves into vivid storytelling on The Unseen In Between | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

Eclectic guitarist Steve Gunn delves into vivid storytelling on The Unseen In Between 

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click to enlarge Steve Gunn

Steve Gunn

Courtesy of Matador Records

Steve Gunn’s new album, The Unseen In Between (Matador), contains the most assertively outgoing music of the Brooklyn-based guitarist’s career. It grabs the listener right out of the gate with the soaring strings, reverberant electric guitar, and swinging upright bass (played by Bob Dylan bandleader Tony Garnier) of “New Moon.” Gunn has never sounded as confident as he does singing the album’s sequence of gracefully winding melodies, and its gorgeous production (from Chicago-based multi-instrumentalist James Elkington, who’s worked with the likes of Jeff Tweedy, Richard Thompson, and Brokeback) delivers one perfectly placed detail after another. The Unseen In Between also includes some of Gunn’s most emotionally resonant lyrics to date; “New Familiar” conveys both the comfort and the inadequacy of nostalgia when dealing with a turbulent present, and in “Vagabond” he searches for evidence of his late father’s love and guidance in his memories upon accepting that calling him up is no longer an option. Though the album focuses on songwriting, Gunn is also a splendid guitarist who can blend lilting country melody, Saharan-influenced drone, and bracing noise into a single captivating line. Backed by a lean combo that includes second guitarist Paul Sukeena (Spacin’, Angel Olsen, Chris Forsyth’s Solar Motel Band), Gunn will have plenty of room to tell tales with his fingers as well as his words.   v


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