Steve Gunn takes on the Smiths for Aquarium Drunkard's Lagniappe Sessions - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart
Steve Gunn | photo by Constance Mensh | courtesy of Matador Records

Lansdowne native / Brooklyn resident Steve Gunn is the latest artist to take on Aquarium Drunkard’s Lagniappe Sessions, a cover series that has seen some pretty eclectic combinations. For his part, Gunn selected two Smiths tracks: “This Night Has Opened My Eyes” from Louder Than Bombs and “The Hand That Rocks The Cradle” from the self-titled debut.

It’s unmistakably Steve Gunn – the deft finger picking and the voice we’ve become familiar with over his last few records – but he pulls in the phrasing and melancholy delivery of Morrissey so well it’s a little hard to tell where one stops and the other starts. The meditative lead guitar melody on the second track even sounds like it could have been a Gunn composition.

About his musical relationship with the Smiths, he writes:

A lot of teenage guitar players went straight into metal or prog, but the Smiths were the first guitar band that really spoke to me. Some people hated this band then and still do. Somehow that is pretty understandable. I love them.

When I was a new guitar player, I borrowed a Smiths cassette from my older sister. Johnny Marr’s arrangements mystified me, transfixed me. I felt that they were something I’d never be able to decipher. It wasn’t until later that I started to look into his influences, and I came to understand his playing and arranging, especially in partnership with Morrissey. Plus Johnny looked so damn cool playing that Rickenbacker.

Listen to Gunn’s versions over on Aquarium Drunkard and watch the originals below. He released Eyes on the Lines via Matador Records last year.

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