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Steve Gunn Unveils Cover of Neil Young’s ‘Motion Pictures (For Carrie)’

Singer-songwriter releases track in time for the 45th anniversary of Young’s On the Beach

Annabel Mehran*

Neil Young has only performed “Motion Pictures (For Carrie)” once — at New York’s Bottom Line in 1974 — but that hasn’t stopped artists from covering the gut-wrenching On the Beach track for years. Singer-songwriter Steve Gunn released a rendition of the song via Amazon Music, a day before the album’s 45th anniversary.

Gunn’s cover gives the track a funereal touch. His stark, husky voice looms over the lyrics: “Well, all those people, they think they got it made/ But I wouldn’t buy, sell, borrow or trade/Anything I have/ to be like one of them/I’d rather start all over again.”

Young probably hasn’t performed “Motion Pictures (Song for Carrie)” in 45 years because of its intense subject matter — the song is about his disintegrating relationship with actress Carrie Snodgress. He wrote the track in a hotel room at L.A.’s Sunset Marquis, where Young was recording On the Beach. “Me and Ben [Keith] and Neil were sittin’ in Ben’s room,” guitarist Rusty Kershaw recalled in Jimmy McDonough’s Young biography Shakey. “Neil started hummin’ somethin’, and I started palyin’ along with the melody on the steel. Neil picked up the pen and just wrote the words right then.”

Gunn recorded the cover in Brooklyn in May. “‘Motion Pictures’ perfectly captures the wistful anxiety of ‘living in between’ the real world and being on the road,” Gunn said in a statement. “Like Neil, I also find watching TV in hotel rooms inspiring.” Gunn is currently on tour in support of his album The Unseen in Between. 

 

Steve Gunn Tour Dates 

7/21 —  Jacksonville, FL @ Intuition Ale Works
7/24 — Portland, ME @ Port City Music Hall
7/25 — Portsmouth, NH @ 3S Artspace
7/26 — Newport, RI @ Newport Congregational
7/27 — Burlington, VT @ Artsriot
7/28 — Montreal, QC @ Bar Le Ritz
7/30 — Toronto, ON @ Horseshoe Tavern
7/31 — Pittsburg, PA @ Club Café
8/1 — Baltimore, MD @ WTMD First Thursday
8/2 — Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s
8/3 — Brooklyn, NY @ Industry City
8/4 — Nijmegen, Netherlands @ Merleyn
8/17 — Montauk, NY @ Solo East Resort
8/25 —  Charleville-Mezieres, France @ Cabaret Vert Festival
8/26 — Brighton, UK @ Patterns
8/27 —Nottingham, UK @ Bodega
8/28 — Glasgow, UK @ Stereo
8/29 — Bristol, UK @ Exchange
8/30 — Dorset, UK @ End of the Road
8/31 — Antwerpen, Belgium @ OLT
9/1 — Barcelona, Spain @ Sidecar
9/2 — Kafe Antzokia – Bilbao, Spain
9/3 — Madrid, Spain @ Sala 0
9/4 — Lisbon, Portugal @ ZDB
9/6 — Amsterdam, Netherlands @ Zonnehuis
9/7 — Asten-Heusden, Netherlands @ Misty Fields
9/8 —  Frankfurt, Germany @ Brotfabrik
9/9 — Köln, Germany @ Bumann & Sohn
9/10 — Berlin, Germany @ Lido
9/11 — Jena, Germany @ Trafo
9/12 — Oberhausen, Germany @ Druckluft
9/13 — Utrecht, Netherlands @ Helling
9/14 — Leffinge, Belgium @ Leffingeleuren
9/16 — Dublin, EIR @ Lost Lane
9/17 — London, UK @ Omeara
9/19 — Helsinki, Finland @ Kuudes Linja
9/23 — Istanbul, Turkey @ Salon
10/18 — Austin, TX @ Lambert’s
10/20 — Tulsa, OK @ Duet’s
10/23 — Seattle, WA @ The Showbox
10/24  — Vancouver, BC @ Commodore
10/25 — Bellingham, WA @ Wild Buffalo
10/26 — Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom
10/28 – 10/30 —San Francisco, CA @ Slim’s

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