It’s rare to see a young artist arrive so fully formed in his or her musical direction, but just in his mid-20s, singer/songwriter Noah Gundersen already seems to possess the soul of a wizened, grizzly troubadour.
Washington-based Gundersen, whose recent album Ledges has been the recipient of several notably enthusiastic rave reviews, has a unique background that might explain that “out of time” air he exudes: He grew up in a conservative religious household in which secular music had no place—thus, as a music lover, most of the artists he grew up listening to had deep religious convictions and, shall we say, weren’t exactly blaring on pop radio.
Gundersen produced and recorded Ledges at Seattle’s Studio Litho, owned by Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard, and it is a muscular, personal album that is subtly and tastefully arranged. Among those appearing with him are family members Abby—on violin, cello and piano—and Jonathan on drums.
In Austin last month, Gundersen and his sister Abby walked into Yahoo’s South By Southwest headquarters in Brazos Hall and very casually dropped two of this year’s strongest and most memorable performances. An enlightening interview, in which the singer talked about his past, his future, and his overall artistic ambitions, was revealing and personable, very much like his music is. Watch and be impressed.