The influence of visionary folk guitarist John Fahey has long hovered over forward-thinking fingerpickers, but in recent years his legacy has grown still more prominent. Elder statesmen such as Glenn Jones and up-and-comers including William Tyler have channeled Fahey’s pioneering language, while Brooklyn-via-Philadelphia crooner Steve Gunn follows Fahey’s example and adds his own two cents.
Since 2007, Gunn has crafted a signature blend of acoustic Americana, bluesy boogie-down and deep, nomadic jams. His trajectory has been marked by copious collaborations and super limited slabs, but long-players Boerum Palace (2009) and Time Off (2013) signaled a new phase: Gunn had become a proper singer-songwriter. That streak continues with the new Way Out Weather, an ethereal yet crusty, backwoods-style gem. Along with bassist Justin Tripp and drummer John Truscinski, Gunn offers world-weary introspection and pedal-steel–bathed radiance, shuffling ditties and homegrown swamplands chug. The sound suggests not only Fahey but also Dylan and the Dead—to Gunn’s credit, his work still feels like good old Brooklyn DIY.—Brad Cohan