Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJ’s think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on the Morning Show with John Richards, is “Jealous Love” by Noah Gundersen from the 2015 album Carry The Ghost on Dualtone.
Although Noah Gundersen emerged in Seattle concurrent with a wave of folk musicians, his flair for roots-leaning textures, rough-edged voice, and heavy, direct lyricism set him far apart from many of his contemporaries. Gundersen was born in Olympia, Washington into a musical family (Gundersen’s siblings, particularly his sister Abby, have frequently contributed to his work) and began recording and gigging in his early teens, first as part of The Courage and later as a solo artist. Gundersen’s self-released EPs Saints & Liars (2009) and Family (2011) put him on the radar of Seattle tastemakers before breaking out to a wider audience with his 2014 full-length debut, Ledges, the success of which was confirmed with a hometown stand at The Moore Theatre in November 2014. Gundersen quickly began work on his sophomore effort, this year’s Carry The Ghost, which incorporated both more full-band arrangements and more existential themes than any of his work in years. Gundersen has written about love plenty of times before, but there’s desperate undercurrent to the pining, country-leaning “Jealous Love” that shows Gundersen’s increasing depth as a songwriter. Riding a languid steady beat, Gundersen’s gently strummed guitar floats along while his heartbroken proclaimations circle around his resolve-seeking chorus. Even though it features some of Gundersen’s most compact, efficient songwriting and a typically great cameo from his sister Abby on vocals and violin, what’s most striking about “Jealous Love” is that Gundersen’s weathered voice has never sounded so at home in a song, tapping into the wounded and courages tone that CHVRCHES’s Lauren Mayberry and Jason Isbell use to carry their best songs. If diving headfirst into uncertainty is what allowed Gundersen to take such a leap in his songwriting, it was a risk worth taking because he’s never sounded so confident in his abilities.
Noah Gundersen will play a hometown show at the Neptune on September 12 with Silver Torches. Before that, however, he’ll play live on KEXP on Friday, September 4th, at 9:30AM, a session that you can also watch as live streaming video, from the KEXP homepage. Get tickets and more info on that all ages gig here, keep up with Noah at his Facebook and website, and watch Noah play “First Defeat” live on KEXP last year.