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MAGIC LEAVES, Noah Gundersen, Painted Palms

Tue, February 7, 2012

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

Brick & Mortar Music Hall

San Francisco, CA

This Is A Free Event

This event is 18 and over

http://woodshoppesf.com @woodshoppesf

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Wet Illustrated
Wet Illustrated
MAGIC LEAVES
MAGIC LEAVES
Born on Galveston Island, Texas, Joshua Bruner now makes music under the moniker Magic Leaves while residing in a secluded beach side community in Northern California. Past projects include Moonquakes, City Mouth Country Mouth, Spooky Texas. and the V.V.'s.
Noah Gundersen
Noah Gundersen
“Here I stand on the edge of the ledges I’ve made/Looking for a steady hand” “Ledges”

At the tender age of 24, Noah Gundersen is already a young veteran who recorded his first album on his dad’s Tascam Studio 8 reel-to-reel home tape machine at 13. Born in the tiny town of Centralia, WA—about midway between Portland and Seattle—Gundersen has honed his craft through a series of albums, both solo (with his sister Abby, an expert string player) and with their band The Courage. He’s already placed songs on TV shows like Sons of Anarchy (the title track from his 2011 solo album Family, “David” and “He Got Away,” a track he sang written by the show’s creator Kurt Sutter and music supervisor Bob Thiele Jr.), Vampire Diaries (“Family”) and One Tree Hill (“Middle of June” from his 2009 EP Saints and Liars).

His latest album, Ledges, self-produced and recorded at Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard’s Studio Litho in Seattle, represents the latest stop in a journey which began in his strictly conservative, religious home growing up, where he was strictly forbidden to listen to secular music. Instead he grew up listening to Bob Dylan’s gospel albums, along with Christian artists such as Keith Green, Larry Norman and Rich Mullins.

“I’m not a religious person anymore, but I’ve learned that spiritual energy transcends religion and that’s something I’ve attempted to incorporate into my music,” Noah explains.

An impressive personal work, Ledges co-mingles the sensual and the sexual with the spiritual, often using religious and biblical imagery like Leonard Cohen to plumb the depths of everyday emotions and feelings. The album explores doubt and faith, sin and redemption, mortality and transcendence in 11 songs that get underneath the skin and cut to the heart.

From the acapella gospel chant that opens “Poor Man’s Son,” a song that channels poverty’s effect on the soul and the Jackson Browne-like narrative of the autobiographical title track (“I take a little too much/Without giving back.I want to learn how to love”) to the Don Henley-like metaphor of “Cigarettes,” comparing one bad habit to a relationship that just can’t be ended even though we know it’s bad for us, Ledges is a confession that boasts universal appeal.

“This is the first record where I finally got to a comfortable place in the studio,” he says of the experience. “Something about Litho was very inspirational, offering a safe environment to experiment and create. It’s not overly produced; we left a lot of the mistakes in..”

The songs work on different levels, inspired both by a ruptured romance and a questioning of dogma in all its forms.

“The spiritual element of music is something I’m very much draw to and motivated by,” says Gundersen. “Religious imagery was a large part of my upbringing. It’s still beautiful, powerful and timeless. I believe in the elevation that music and art can bring to people, but I’m still trying to define myself as an individual outside of structures or organized religion. I’ve come to a place in my writing where I’m less focused on the outside forces of spirituality and more on how it relates inwardly to my own life.”

To that end, his songs capture snapshots of events in his life, including an encounter with a woman in another relationship (“Isaiah”), whose tattoo is inscribed with a biblical passage that doubles as the song’s chorus (“Fear thou not/My right hand will hold you”). “Poison Vine” tells the tale of a co-worker who succumbed to a drug overdose, pondering the thin line between life and death, while “First Defeat” illuminates the feeling the first heartbreak.

“Much of the album was written toward the end of a period of being single and reckless,” he says. “I’ve lived a great deal compared to most people my own age. I’ve traveled the country playing music, doing what I love for a living. But, in terms of emotional experience, I’ve swept a lot of things under the rug. I started asking questions to people I respect about what it means to be a man and, in a larger sense, a decent human being. This record is the culmination of that process.”

Ledges was also very much a family affair, with Noah joined by his sister Abby, who conveys the wordless emotions through violin, cello and piano, and younger brother Jonathan on drums.

“The chemistry Abby and I have is unlike any other I’ve experienced in music” he says, pointing to the album closer, “Time Moves Quickly,” as a song she wrote the music for and plays piano on. “She’s an essential part of what I do.”

And while major labels have come sniffing around, Noah is determined to maintain his independence as a musician and artist. Having built up a following through touring and online marketing, Gundersen is determined to maintain the kind of creative control that makes Ledges such a powerful, intimate work.

“I’ve had some offers from major labels, but it’s not a direction that’s viable for me in terms of a long-term career and forging a lifetime in music,” he says. “I want to give my fans the music they’ve come to appreciate without going through any other filters.”

Ledges is about making that existential leap of faith, it’s about taking responsibility for the choices you’ve made, with sometimes painful honesty. Noah Gundersen’s voice comes through loud and clear.

“Writing ‘Ledges’ was a purifying process for me,” he says about the album’s epic title track. “In three verses, I was able to sum up exactly where I was in life, with no real answer, but a declaration of hope and uncertainty.”

“How long, how long should it take/For you to learn your lessons from all your mistakes,” he sings in “Dying Now.”

On Ledges, Noah Gundersen goes from a boy to a man before our very ears. It’s a journey well worth taking with him.
Painted Palms
Painted Palms
Canopy is the debut EP from duo Painted Palms. With its echoes of Brill Building pop, buoyant electronics, and encompassing textural experimentation, the EP exudes something ebullient as well as meditative. Canopy is a modern psych-pop collage with an affinity for fluidity and the exotic.

Cousins Reese Donohue and Christopher Prudhomme are the creative force behind Painted Palms – a duo in the studio that expands to a five-piece band for live shows. The two grew up together on the same block in Lafayette, Louisiana. After Donohue moved to the Bay Area in California for school, they spent several years exchanging music they had made by themselves – hypnotic sound experiments and song fragments. However, it wasn’t until they both returned home for the winter break in 2009, that they began playing music together. They tried to make a song together for the first time. Two days later, they had completed “Falling Asleep,” the only track on Canopy that was made while they were in the same room.

Soon thereafter, Donohue returned to the Bay Area and Prudhomme remained in Louisiana to complete his college education. Even after making “Falling Asleep”, they never legitimately considered pursuing a musical collaboration because of their distance—until the possibility of collaborating over the internet came up in a phone call weeks later.

After several months of exchanging tracks and building songs, Canopy was finished. Soon after, of Montreal’s Kevin Barnes heard Canopy and invited Painted Palms to act as main support for of Montreal on their 26-date North American tour.

Each song on Canopy reflects the self-discovery that was a constant for both musicians during its making. They came to find that their lifelong relationship had produced within them a strikingly lucid, meaningful way in which to communicate in their newfound creative space. Then, they set out to make this visceral language an intrinsic quality of their music.

According to Donohue, “We placed full artistic and emotional trust in one another and discovered an intense bond that existed between the two of us-one that may have not existed otherwise. Pulling myself apart and focusing on personal honesty influenced a large part of the music, which was made in such a strange and amazing period of self-exploration for both of us. Destroying the contrived and constructed elements of my personality and thought processes-that’s what Painted Palms is to me.”

Painted Palms are ready to move forward while pushing boundaries of many sorts, both as individual musicians and as a collaborative pair. To quote Prudhomme, “We try to reveal the nature of ourselves with the music. That’s a main objective. Each song is our way of confronting obstacles in our personalities or our friendship.”
Venue Information:
Brick & Mortar Music Hall
1710 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA, 94103
http://www.brickandmortarmusic.com/