Steve Gunn & the Outliners, Promised Land Sound | Schubas | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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click to enlarge Steve Gunn

Steve Gunn

Constance Mensh

Steve Gunn & the Outliners, Promised Land Sound 

When: Thu., June 23, 9 p.m. 2016
Price: $15
At first glance it seems like everything about Steve Gunn’s terrific new Eyes on the Lines (Matador) refers to life on the road, particularly those hours spent traveling between towns (the title of the album itself echoes Merle Haggard’s trucker classic “White Line Fever”). But Gunn actually uses the repetition of words like “path,” “direction,” “road,” and “street” in a broader sense—allowing himself to get lost—as his narrators eschew specifics of place to wander and explore the byways of their own minds rather than those of any town or city. Over the last few years Gunn has been transforming himself from a capable fingerstyle guitar player into a dusky folk-rocker, and Eyes on the Lines makes plain that he’s no longer wandering in that regard—he’s arrived. His rambling tunes go down easier than ever, rolling along like the wheels of a van carrying the band to the next gig, and for the first time his homespun vocals feel utterly natural and relaxed. Fluidly backed by Chicago guitarist Jim Elkington, bassist Jason Meagher, and drummer Nathan Bowles, Gunn creates music that breathes, chugs, and rolls with cosmic ease.
— Peter Margasak
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