Steve Gunn's already made one RSTB best of list this year with his excellent and wholly essential RSD release under the name Golden Gunn, and his solo album, Time Off, follows in that album's mining of the canons of JJ Cale, Sandy Bull and early Dead while still holding strong to traces of his Fahey worship. Maybe all the touring with Kurt Vile has spurred him into a more sunburnt songwriting position, but whatever the impetus its certainly growing fruit. The album opens strong with one of Gunn's most honeyed tracks and then delves deep into character sketches of neighborhood denizens, street rats and the kind of vagabond dreams that only Gunn could give justice too. Also present is a fitting eulogy and sendoff for his departed friend Jack Rose, a touching ode if there ever was one. This marks the first time Gunn's gone under his own name with the full band attached and in many ways it acts as the lighter half to Golden Gunn's yang-tinged rambler odes. He wears the band well here, though, and its clear that Gunn was born to play the leader and not just the brilliant sideman in other bands, Time Off is his time to shine.
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