Songs We Love: Steve Gunn, 'Ancient Jules' The opening cut of Eyes On The Lines offers a chooglin' mission statement scrawled on the back of a bar receipt.
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01Ancient Jules

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Songs We Love: Steve Gunn, 'Ancient Jules'

Songs We Love: Steve Gunn, 'Ancient Jules'

01Ancient Jules

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    Song
    Ancient Jules
    Album
    Eyes On The Lines
    Artist
    Steve Gunn
    Label
    Matador
    Released
    2016

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Steve Gunn. Constance Mensh /Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Constance Mensh /Courtesy of the artist

Steve Gunn.

Constance Mensh /Courtesy of the artist

There are rhythms that guide us. The syncopated funk of go-go music internally recognizes the everyday juggle of life by bouncing different parts of the body in staggered time. The motorik rhythm — a 4/4 tempo with an accent on each beat — is linear in its drive, but pulsing with tension. For its part, the feel John Fogerty dubbed chooglin' has always been tied to both an undulating rock 'n' roll rhythm and a philosophy of keeping life free and easy.

Eyes On The Lines (Matador 2016). Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Courtesy of the artist

Steve Gunn's music has always choogled, and the opening cut of Eyes On The Lines offers not so much an anthem — bombast is antithetical to the chooglin' lifestyle — but a mission statement perhaps scrawled on the back of a bar receipt. "Take your time, ease up and waste the day," he sings on "Ancient Jules."

Initially an instrumental guitarist, Gunn has really come into his own as a full-band-backed singer, more assured in his soft and leathery tenor. But here he is guided, as ever, by a riff that plays with time — a wormhole of a hook that's whipped up in a hurry and brought back to a long sip. Gunn's found a kindred guitarist in James Elkington; the two toss off a thicket of Richard Lloyd/Tom Verlaine-style interplay that turns into a rigorous workout as "Ancient Jules" folds in feedback, countermelodies and a solo that burns like a cigarette hanging just off the lip.

Eyes On The Lines is out June 3 on Matador.

Purchase Featured Music

Buy Featured Music

Album
Eyes On The Lines
Artist
Steve Gunn
Label
Matador
Released
2016

Your purchase helps support NPR programming. How?