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Album Review

Born into a musical but very religious family, Noah Gundersen didn't hear many secular songs as a child, perhaps explaining the subtle and hushed gospel intensity and sincerity he brings to his songs, which, while definitely secular, deal with themes of loss, hope, and personal redemption nonetheless. This set is his first full-length outing following a trio of EPs, and it's a quiet, mostly ballad and lament-heavy sequence that leaves a powerfully subdued and emotional residue. Aided by the presence of his younger sister Abby Gundersen, a gifted string musician who adds violin, cello, piano, and gorgeous vocal harmonies to most of these tracks, Gundersen sounds a bit like the serious narrative side of Jackson Browne if Browne had wandered into Neil Young's Harvest sessions. That's both good and not so good. The best tracks here, like the beautiful "Poor Man's Son," which opens things, and the gorgeous Tom Waits-like lullaby lament "Time Moves Quickly," which closes things, have a kind of quiet strength, a gospel sureness of better days and times, and resound powerfully. Other tracks seem overly serious, with the joy half leached out of them, as if Gundersen forgot that singing is not the same as telling, however sweet the melody and redemptive the intent. One song, "Cigarettes," is so slow that it hardly has a rhythmic pulse at all, full of long, tortured pauses and restarts, a thus stuttered love ballad that still — and this is Gundersen's odd strength — conveys a kind of desperate, restrained passion that makes it emotionally work. This is a low-key, autumnal-sounding album that impresses with its unhurried pace and thoughtful, muted sincerity. The songs sound sad but each carries hope somehow, although a little jump and joy here and there might have given this set a little more spark. Life is lived in the sunshine, too.

Customer Reviews

Surprised, I love it!

I don’t really know why, but I just love this album! I bought Ledges alone and decided I should check out the others and am glad I did. Reminds me of the soul from Marcus Mumford, the delivery of Damien Rice, and good mixing of instruments as found with both of the aforementioned artists in their supporting troupe. Great album. Excited to see where Noah ends up!

Wow. Just... Wow.

I was watching The Originals on The CW and "Poor Man's Song" played and I searched and searched for the artist. I am SO glad that I did. This album blew my mind. Amazing.

Muito bom

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Biography

Born: May 31, 1989 in Olympia, WA

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Pop-folk singer and songwriter Noah Gundersen was born May 31, 1989 in Olympia, Washington into an extremely religious but also very musical family that frowned on secular music, a view that he eventually abandoned. Gundersen began taking piano lessons before he was a teen, and after inheriting an electric Epiphone guitar from his father in 2002, he began tracking songs on his father's recording equipment. By the time he was 16, Gundersen was gigging in the local cafes, and in 2006 his sister, Abby,...
Full Bio