Steve Gunn – Stonehurst Cowboy

Labels:Beggars Group
Number of Tracks:1
Total Time:00:03:42
From the Album:Stonehurst Cowboy
Formats:AAA,Non-Commercial,NPR,Specialty,Triple A
Available Date & Time: Dec 06 2018 10:00:00 EST
Impact Date: n/a







“A homespun mystic vision somewhere between the Van Morrison of Astral Weeks, the Nick Drake of Bryter Layter and the Donavan of 'Season of the Witch’” –Rolling Stone


“Shimmering, fingerpicked electric guitar, deadpan-­cool vocals” –Washington Post


“Lush and thoughtful… expansive guitar wizardry” –Stereogum



Following the release of acclaimed single ‘New Moon, Steve Gunn has shared a second song off of The Unseen In Between (out January 18th on Matador Records), titled ‘Stonehurst Cowboy’. The song is the emotional centerpiece of the album, a duet between Gunn’s raw acoustic guitar and spare basslines by Bob Dylan's musical director Tony Garnier, who is featured throughout the album.  The lyrics distill the lessons Gunn learned from his father and is a solemn but tender remembrance, a tribute to his father’s reputation as a tough, wise, and witty guy from far west Philadelphia. 


’Stonehurst Cowboy’ is a tribute to my late father, who passed away in 2016.  Stonehurst is an area in Southwest Philadelphia where both my parents grew up,” says Gunn, adding, “Heavily affected by the Vietnam War, he became an adult at hyperspeed after high school when he was drafted — though he didn’t end up actually fighting in Vietnam.  He was too young to know what the hell was going on when the war broke, and it wasn’t until he, his brothers, and friends came back to make any sense of it.”




For over a decade, Steve Gunn has been one of American music’s most pivotal figures — conjuring immersive and psychedelic sonic landscapes both live and on record, releasing revered solo albums ranking high on in-the-know end of year lists, alongside exploratory collaborations with artists as diverse as Mike Cooper, Kurt Vile, and Michael Chapman (whose most recent studio album he produced).  Gunn is known for telling other people's stories, but on his breakthrough fourth album, The Unseen In Between, he explores his own emotional landscapes with his most complex, fully realized songs to date. The lyrics evoke voyages, tempests (actual and emotional), and a rich cast of characters met along the way — the work of an artist finding a place of calm in the midst of a storm. Produced by frequent collaborator James Elkington and engineered by Daniel Schlett, the immaculately recorded Unseen forces a reassessment of Gunn’s standing in the pantheon of the era’s great songwriters.


Getting to The Unseen In Between itself was not easy for Gunn. In the summer of 2016, Gunn released Eyes On The Lines, his winning and elliptical debut for Matador. It should have been a triumphant moment, but exactly two weeks later, Gunn’s father and namesake died following a two-year struggle with cancer. During his sickness, he and his son had connected as never before, listening to one another’s experiences and understanding one another’s perspectives; they became not father and son but real friends. 


A sense of musical renewal and emotional complexity fits the new songs perfectly; “Luciano” seems to be about the chemistry between a bodega owner and his cat, an unspoken romance of gentle obedience and quiet gestures. But Gunn peers below the relationship’s surface and wonders about the owner's lonely future once the cat is gone, a devastating meditation wrapped in soft strings.


And then there’s “Vagabond,” Gunn’s graceful attempt to humanize a rich cast of characters whose lives have gone astray, wanderers who live outside of society’s modern safety net, who pursue “a crooked dream” in spite of what the world expects. Supported by the perfect harmonies of Meg Baird, Gunn finds something lovely in the unloved.


Inspired by contemporary artist Walter De Maria’s Dia Art Foundation-affiliated installation of 400 stainless steel poles atop the high desert of New Mexico, “Lightning Field” considers what we get out of art when it doesn’t work, when lightning does not light up the night for visitors.


In a final contrast, “Morning is Mended” is an acoustic beauty so resplendent it ranks alongside Sandy Denny or Jackson C. Frank. Buoyed by a melody that sparkles like sunlight on still water, Gunn acknowledges the hardships around him, the feeling of being a “nothing sky,” and then moves forward into the world, walking tall into the fresh morning.  The song is an apt encapsulation of The Unseen In Between, a gorgeously empathetic record that attempts to recognize the worries of the world and offer some timely assurance.  It is a revelatory and redemptive set, offering the balm of understanding at a time when that seems in very short supply.




The Unseen In Between – Tracklisting:

1. New Moon

2. Vagabond

3. Chance

4. Stonehurst Cowboy

5. Luciano

6. New Familiar

7. Lightning Field

8. Morning Is Mended

9. Paranoid


US Tour Dates:

3/1 – Marfa, TX – Crowley Theater

30/1 – New Haven, CT – State House $

31/1 – Boston, MA – Great Scott ^

1/2 – New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom ^

2/2 – Philadelphia, PA – Union Transfer ^

8/2 – San Diego, CA – Casbah ^

9/2 – Los Angeles, CA – Teragram Ballroom ^

10/2 – Santa Cruz, CA – Moe’s Alley $

12/2 – Portland, OR – Aladdin Theater $

13/2 – Seattle, WA – Tractor Tavern $

15/2 – Novato, CA – HopMonk Tavern #

16/2 – San Francisco, CA – The Chapel #


^ w/ Meg Baird & Mary Lattimore

$ w/ Meg Baird

# w/ Sachiko Kanenobu

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