You’d be hard-pressed to find a musician as prolific and enigmatic as Steve Gunn. The New York-based singer, songwriter, and guitarist has managed more than 20 releases in the past 15 years, including collaborations with Kurt Vile, Hiss Golden Messenger, Ryley Walker, and more. Each new album, EP, and split finds Gunn venturing into new and unfamiliar territory and demonstrating his continued growth and evolution as an artist. His latest, Other You—which came out on Matador Records this past summer—is no exception, with an uncharacteristically bright sound and an aura of optimism that’s present in the album’s 11 tracks.

Before setting out on a co-headlining tour with Jeff Parker (which includes a December 4 stop at Cactus Club), Gunn spent some time telling My First Band host Tyler Maas about the process of making Other You, his excitement to be back on the road and playing solo shows, and what’s in store for him next year. Along the way, Gunn spoke about growing up a few miles outside of Philadelphia, the role nearby college radio stations and independent record stores had on his musical taste, and spending his teens and twenties exploring New York and other East Coast hubs in search of new and unfamiliar live music experiences. Before episode’s end, Gunn also talked about taking guitar lessons, playing in a project called GHQ, and briefly being part of Vile’s backing band, The Violators.

My First Band is sponsored by Mystery Room Mastering and Lakefront Brewery. The show is edited by Jared Blohm. You can listen to My First Band on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, and wherever else you get podcasts. You can also listen to rebroadcasts of previous My First Band episodes on WMSE every Wednesday from noon to 12:30 p.m. CST. Music used in this episode comes courtesy of Devils Teeth (“The Junction Street Eight Tigers”) and Steve Gunn (“Fulton”).

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