New Music Monday: Noah Gundersen

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Noah Gundersen (Photo by Ben Blood) Noah Gundersen (Photo by Ben Blood)
By Nick Mattos, PQ Monthly

Get back to your roots — check out the folksy sound of Noah Gundersen in today's New Music Monday. Fans of Ray LaMontagne, the Civil Wars, and k.d. lang, we'd like to introduce you to the next troubadour who's going to capture your heart: Noah Gundersen. The Centralia, WA-raised singer-songwriter picked up the piano at 10 years old, then taught himself guitar and began recording songs with his father's recording equipment as a teenager. By 16, Gundersen was performing at Seattle-area cafés, often accompanied by his sister Abby on violin and vocals. In 2006, Gundersen founded his first band, Noah Gundersen & the Courage; though several name changes (and a brief stint in the post-hardcore act Beneath Oceans) Gundersen consistently crafted timeless and challenging Americana music and built a steady grassroots buzz amongst fans. One such fan crafted an ode of sorts to Gundersen's work, shared on the BandCamp page for his latest EP Family:

Noah's newest EP... pays homage to the people who have shaped his life — rather than the self-aggrandizing so common to the often homogeneous world of singer-songwriters."Family comes in many forms," says Noah. "It lives with us, for better and for worse. It shapes us. Thats what this album is about..." The songs on Family are consistently impressive and defy genre. Whereas roots-tinged songs like "Family" conjure up shades of a solo Ryan Adams, the sweeping and etherial "Fire," bears similarities to the lush harmonic feats of Fleet Foxes. Perhaps the album's standout track is the pulsating "David," which combines the haunting darkness of Tom Waits with the lyrical angst of Neil Young. "The song is about who I want to be, while realizing who I am. I want to be less like my Father and more like my Dad."

Seriously: listen to "Cigarettes," "David," and "Dying Now." If you're taken with the sound, here's great news: Gundersen's coming to Portland's Aladdin Theater on November 11! Will we see you there, readers? BlogTail_NickMattos