Gundersen's Lover

Bruce Von Stiers

Recently I got in an album to review. The album was from a guy named Noah Gundersen and was titled Lover. Looking at the album cover, I didn't quite know what to expect. The cover had a dark red, sheet looking thing in the background and a tatted guy in front of it. Was this going to be a rock album, hip-hop, rap or what? What I learned when I started to listen to it, was the album was a mix of indie folk rock with a tiny sliver of pop rock thrown in. It was definitely different from what I imagined the album would be like. And it was far better than I thought it might be.

You might not know him by name, but Noah's songs have been used in shows like Sons of Anarchy. The Originals and The Vampire Diaries. In fact, a song that Noah wrote for Sons of Anarchy was nominated for an Emmy. He has led bands in the Seattle area and toured extensively across the U.S. Noah has recorded both solo albums and albums with the various bands that he has led.

Lover has thirteen songs and lasts a bit over forty-five minutes. It was produced by Noah and Andy D. Park. It is being released on the Cooking Vinyl label. All of the songs on the album were written by Noah.

On the album, Noah plays piano, both electric and acoustic guitar, synths and moog bass. He is helped out by Andy D. Park on organ, bass and programming, Harrison Whitford on slide guitar, Sean Lane on drums, Alex Westcoat also on drums, Josh Rawlings on piano and Rhodes, Micah Simler on bass, Tyler Carroll on bass, Erik Walters on electric guitar and Samuel Rosson does some tape loops. Park is known for his work with bands like Alice In Chains and Dave Matthews. Whitford is noted for his collaborative efforts with Phoebe Bridgers. Westcoat has played on albums by Pickwick and Jen Wood. Rawlings is a well-known studio musician along with being the leader of the jazz group The Josh Rawlings Trio. Carroll plays with Allen Stone. Walters is half of the duo The Globes. Rosson acts as the house engineer for the Hall of Justice Studio.

There are also some people who help out on vocals. They were Lerin Herzer, Whitney Ballen and Abby Gundersen. Erik Walters also does a bit of backing vocals. On one song there is a group listed on the credits as the choir. They are Tanisha Brooks, Gena Brooks, DeShe' Brooks, Josephine Howell, Maelu Strange and Michael Allen. She is a Seattle based singer / songwriter and in the past Herzer has paired off with Andrew Joslyn for several recordings. Ballen released a well-received album last year titled You're A Shooting Star, I'm A Sinking Ship. Abby Gundersen is Noah's younger sister. Aside from providing vocals, she plays violin and string music for the album. Abby has recorded with several Northwest artists along with a couple of her own albums.

Noah is quite the storyteller in the songs on the album. Relationships and life's journeys are the themes of most of the songs. A lot of the songs are pretty mellow sounding, but the lyrics have mixture of angst and calm.

Even though it is soft and gentle, Robin Williams, is full of angst. It's about the road traveled for life and career. And that we often keep moving forward in spite of setbacks.

In a way, Crystal Creek, is a rock anthem. But in some parts of the song it comes off like a power pop ballad.

The title track, Lover, is a mild rock love ballad. He doesn't want to be tied down to anyone but, yet, he needs be loved by someone.

Watermelon features vocals by Abby Gundersen. Again the music is mild in most of the song. The vocals by Noah have just a touch of melancholy. When Abby joins in with Noah, there is a certain fluidity.

Lose You is a love song. She is gone and he misses her greatly. It starts fairly mellow but then moves into a nice pop rock ballad styling. This is my favorite song of the album.

Out of Time is about a relationship he can't quite let go of. She keeps reeling him back in. The song has a bunch of interesting musical segments.

When I started to listen to Audrey Hepburn, I thought I was getting some audio interference. There was a bunch of strange sounds in the background. A bartender takes him in and he knows that he will only bring her bad luck. There are great duet vocals on the song from Whitney Ballen.

Older has a mix of rock and pop music. It is a song lamenting getting older and the things that go with it.

Wild Horses is a mostly acoustic piece with mild yet almost aching vocals.

So What tells us to “slow down, look up”, tell people you love them and live life, even though it might not be an easy road to travel.

Little Cup has some almost orchestral, otherworldly music in back of some heart aching vocals.

All My Friends has a faster, almost pop rock sound to it. This is the song that has the "chorus" in it.

The album closes with an aching love lost ballad titled Kamikaze.

Lover was definitely a surprise. I wasn't expecting to like the album. But I really like the album a lot. Noah Gundersen has a great way of melding indie folk rock music with fluid, sometimes aching vocals. Love gained, love lost and life's struggles are laid bare in the lyrics and threaded seamlessly into the music.

Lover was released a few days ago. You can check it out at your favorite music outlet.

You can also check out Noah Gundersen's official web site at

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© 2019 Bruce E Von Stiers