As MerleFest 2018 approaches, a highlight from one of the 100+ performing acts will be featured daily…
Hope and redemption. Philosophy and folklore. The music of Gunner and Smith has always been a collection of fiery elements, blending searing guitars, brawny rhythms and distinct folk-family vocals to produce tightly-knit rock anthems. But on Byzantium, the group’s second full-length album, the songs simmer and seethe with a newfound brooding energy that looks at the darker sides of love, loss and humanity.
Anchored by the stolid songwriting of frontman Geoff Smith, the ever-shifting nature of the band has once again undergone another evolution, with a talented cadre of musicians joining the frontman at the helm. Featuring an ever-expanding sound that combines indie rock, alt-country and sizzling psych-Americana, Byzantium is borne from a deeper, darker place than the group’s previous material.
Conjured from realms where empire lie in tatters, the story of Byzantium is one of densely layered narratives that weave and wend ominous tales of imaginative and tactile worlds. The album’s namesake, taken from a besieged ancient empire centered in Constantinople—modern day Istanbul—hints at the endless cycles of war and waste that plague humanity. But while the themes are seemingly grim, the music keeps the mood buoyant. Opening the album with a wry, snakey guitar line, Smith’s oft-dark, meticulous visions are rounded out by balladry and brightly melodic guitar-heavy rock.
The mainstay signature element of Gunner and Smith identity has always been built by the overriding concepts behind each individual album. Conjuring a literary amalgamation of decay, faith and ambition – whether it’s the uncertainty of modern life, or the constant life shifts of middle age, Smith’s latest offering is one that exists in a barren world where light ultimately shines through.
Bio provided courtesy of www.gunnerandsmith.com
Catch Gunner and Smith at one of their two sets on Friday (April 27) during MerleFest this year.
Friday, 9:45am-10:15am (Cabin Stage)
Friday, 11:00am-11:15am (Austin Stage)
View the full MerleFest schedule and stage lineup here.