Eyeing up Queenstown

Steve Gunn: Eyes on the Lines for Matador Records

American muso Steve Gunn puts his New Zealand tour down to the stars aligning.
The guitarist and songwriter has wanted to perform here for years — but logistics got in the way.
Gunn, a former guitarist with Kurt Vile and Violators, is playing solo at The Sherwood this Sunday.
He says it gives him the opportunity to strip songs down from album versions — adding short instrumentals, extra verses or other things he likes on the hoof.
“I quite enjoy it because it is a different take on the music and it’s challenging in a different way. I really like performing solo.
“I used to do it a lot and then missed it when I was performing with the band. It is nice to explore that part of what I do again.”
The NZ tour follows a stint in Europe and the United States promoting his new album Eyes on the Line which was released last August.
The nine-track album is named after a lyric on one of the tracks — words that Gunn says stood out.
Speaking to Mountain Scene from the United States, he says there is no set formula when it comes to writing.
“I write a collection of songs, then I make demos and share them with the band. I book the studio and we all show up and quickly do the arrangements and try to cut the song fairly live — so they have that feel to them.”
He says the initial tune can change significantly through the process.
One track from the album Ancient Jules was filmed in the Yorkshire Dales in England.
Gunn says travelling is one of the best things about his job.
It’s the reason he persisted with trying to get a NZ gig and will play four in total while in the country.
“Everything aligned properly and I was able to get the opportunity to come down there. It is exciting.”
Gunn, who is based in New York, has been playing the music circuit for over 15 years.
Queenstown gig-goers can expect an acoustic mix of blues, folk and a bit of rock taken from his solo album and other collaborations over the years.
Melancholy indie folk-pop band Grawlixes open for Gunn.
The Wellington-based Dunedin duo, Robin Cederman and Penelope Esplin, have just returned from a European tour and release their new album Set Free this month.

Catch Steve Gunn, The Sherwood, Sunday, 9pm. Tickets, presale $35, door $40