Noah Gundersen is folk music’s it guy right now. With Ledges, his long-awaited first full-length LP, he’s really knocked it out of the winter. Listen to the presence he brings on gospel-influenced knockouts like Poor Man’s Son (I can’t find a studio version on Youtube, but it’s great).
Musically, this reminds me of the gospel peak of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club in the Howl era (who were covered in Issue 6). I love Isaiah, which might be my favourite track on the record. Ledges is clearly the song Noah is gunning for a hit with. And while Dying Now is as emotionally accomplished of a folk song as a guy in his early 20s can muster, the most emotionally powerful track on the record (at least for me) is Cigarettes. Now there’s a heart-wrenching tune. I might be biased though. Not only is Cigarettes the song I would have written for a bad breakup a couple years back, the entire album is the album I would write right now if I picked up a guitar again.
Noah Gundersen feels like a breath of fresh air in a genre currently owned by pop stars and banjo-swindling electric rockers. Ledges is refreshing not because it’s a response to the current folk scene, but because it feels so natural and authentic that it couldn’t be anything less than real.
In a genre of full of fakers and people looking for the next chart hit, Gundersen is making his own way. And it’s beautiful.