Though currently a member of Kurt Vile’s touring band, Steve Gunn is a compelling musical protagonist in his own right—partly for his tenure in groups like the Magic Markers, GHQ and the Gunn-Trucinski duo, but mostly for his guitar playing, which he studies with a diligence that feels charmingly old world. In the John Fahey-inspired, post-Jack Rose world of American-primitive-folk-meets-blues-meets-raga-meets-noise music, Gunn is quite simply the best, and he has a way of capping off an entire song’s worth of anecdotal finger-picking with the last-minute, bone-chilling, entry of his voice, hinting at a rare talent for songwriting without overstating it. “Water Wheel” is the sprawling, country-rock-inflected lead number on his upcoming Time Off album, which he recorded with drummer John Truscinski and bass player/guitarist Justin Tripp, and it’s exciting to hear him jump right in for a change. Watch his Open Bar performance on FADER TV, and look for the album on June 18th, when it comes out via Paradise of Bachelors.
Stream: Steve Gunn, “Water Wheel”