Steve Gunn's new record, Way Out Weather, is a hard thing to describe. The album, out now on Paradise of Bachelors, should please fans of bands as disparate as Dire Straits and Television. But, hey, there's a link there, isn't there? If you guessed virtuosic guitar playing you'd be right.
Gunn here keeps things largely down-tempo but he lets his guitar set the mood. Whether it's a blues-y hook, or a snarling riff, the guitar is the star of this record. And that's not to downplay Gunn's strengths as a vocalist.
"Tommy's Congo" calls to mind Tom Verlaine and Steve Kilbey. Sinister in spots, a cut like this insinuates itself with a listener in terms of both the playing and the vocal delivery.
The title cut and "Wildwood" sound a bit like Led Zeppelin III-era Jimmy Page while the awesome "Milly's Garden" is like some weird mix of Thurston Moore and Richard Thompson. It's affecting, vaguely rooted in the blues tradition, but wholly something else.
The splendid "Drifter" is Americana with a sort of Nick Cave edge to it. On this cut it seems as if Gunn's vocals are every bit as affecting as his guitar.
There are not many albums I can recommend to fans of both Nick Cave and Bert Jansch. And there are not many albums I can say that will appeal to fans of both Fairport Convention and Robert Quine.
But Way Out Weather by Steve Gunn is one such record. An unexpected delight, the record is a moving collection of subtle tracks. I urge you to grab it now.
Way Out Weather by Steve Gunn is out now on Paradise of Bachelors.
Follow Steve Gunn on his official website.