Every so often you come across a new song that is so complete, so full, that life itself stops for 5 minutes. “Way Out Weather”, the title track of Steve Gunn’s 11th studio album, seems designed for long road trips through scenic aesthetic. Just like the extensive mountainous roads of northern New England, “Way Out Weather” is repetitive to the point of ceaselessly simple entertainment rather than monotonous boredom. Gunn leaves so many intricate yet subtle variances within each stanza that make the newness of each line tough to pinpoint but easy to embrace. His first go at a self-made album accompanied by a full band is so evidently thoughtful, with an added slide guitar, intermittent piano, and light percussion that collectively line the skin with goosebumps as the brain fails to hide it’s sensitivity to Gunn’s eased and meaningful sounds.
Gunn seems to have finally found the essence of his voice within his 2014 album as he puts a full breath put into each short line as if significant emphasis needs to be attributed on a verse by verse basis. In fact, the name Gunn itself leads the new listener astray with precluding assumptions that songs may be be fueled with loud and aggressive fodder, when in fact he can be better compared to a remedy than a weapon. Gunn just released “Eyes on the Lines”, his 14th Studio album in which the song “Ancient Jules” lies on the cusp of judgment in its attempt to crack my “Top 100 Songs of 2016” list. I don’t mean to make it sound like my periodic lists of favorites are the end-all-be-all of musical excellence, but as you loyal readers/listeners know, you’ve just got to respect my subjective musical elitism.