Since releasing his self-titled debut in 2007, Steve Gunn has become an incredibly prolific and consistent songwriter. Schooled in the rootsy, primitive guitar calisthenics of John Fahey and the eastern modal wormholes of sitar players like Ravi Shankar, Gunn’s an expert at weaving dizzying tapestries through jammy guitar freak-outs.
His breakthrough album was 2014’s fantastic Way Out Weather, which finds him operating within a meditative Appalachian groove when he isn’t conjuring the meandering licks of the Grateful Dead and contemporary primitive practitioners like Glenn Jones and Ryley Walker. He’s further upped the ante in his collaboration with fellow fret-shredder Kurt Vile, as well as his instrumental duo with drummer John Truscinski. Gunn’s 2016 Matador Records debut, Eyes on the Lines, finds him carving out trippy musical mind-melds on tunes like “Ancient Jules” and “Nature Driver,” creating both bucolic witchiness and a cautious sense of connection with the modern world.
Joining Gunn on this West Coast tour is the equally bewitching singer/songwriter Julie Byrne, whose 2017 LP Not Even Happiness is full of contemporary folk tunes with lush, whispered sensitivity, like the stunning opening track “Follow My Voice” and standout “Natural Blue.” Both artists are performing back-to-back evenings at Mississippi Studios this weekend—if you haven’t procured tickets yet, I’d recommend doing so immediately.