Reviews

Carrying the Tradition: Noah Gundersen

By: Noah Dolinajec

A friendly forewarning before feasting your ears on Noah Gundersen’s music:

Be prepared to truly feel the blues. Gloomy skies, warm coffee and a good view are all suggested, but not required.

A few years ago, I was sorting through some off-name folk singers and came across a young Seattleite who had toured with Emmylou Harris. I figured he must have some talent if a legend like her endorsed him. 4 hours later, I realized it was 2:00am and I had no intention of shutting off the music.

Gundersen’s songs express his gritty heartache like when he says “so bum me a cigarette, buy me a beer, till I’m happy to be here, happy to be here” in his song Family and reminiscent melancholy like “you stick with me, you never even kissed me, but I can’t let you go” in the song Time Moves Quickly.Just listen to “Cigarettes,” for example,  off his 2014 album Family. But he also has a knack for rougher sounds, like “Fire” off the same album.

Most of his work is done solo. He produces an engaging and quality sound without the use of a heavy bassline or simple catchy chorus, instead he uses minimal instrumentation and powerful phrasing. When he tours, he features his younger sister on violin and backup vocals rather than scouting for professional talent.

All things considered, it’s clear: Noah Gunderson plays music for the soul, not for the wallet.

Gundersen has two full length solo albums out now, along with a handful of EP’s. His third album is set for release on August 21st, 2015. He begins a North American tour on September 11th that wraps up on November 3rd.

 

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