Truth be told, I was a bit nervous to listen to Ledges, Noah Gundersen’s debut solo full-length, the first time. It wasn’t that I thought it would be bad- no, I think the strong back catalog of songs he’s put together made that an impossible thing- but rather I was concerned that it would be impossible for him to capture on record that energy and presence that makes him so compelling and captivating in a live setting, that thing that constantly leaves crowds in stunned silence.
From the get-go its obvious that that concern/worry/whatever was silly. Gundersen and crew did manage to get on record that feeling that permeates his live show, resulting in one of the strongest debut album’s (or, really, any other kind of album) we’re likely to hear this year. On Ledges we find Gundersen sharper and more affecting than he was before (when he was already plenty sharp and affecting with his words and songs). He’s hungry, heartbroken and struggling, working through the dark questions he has about life and love over the span of these 11 tunes, sometimes vulnerable and exposed, sometimes confident and ready for what comes next. We hear an artist just starting to realize his exceptional potential, easily weaving stories of heartbreak and struggle in a way that few of his peers can match.
Watch the Gundersen family roll through ‘Poor Man’s Son,’ the opening track on the album, in one take like it’s no big deal in the video below, and then scroll a little farther down the page and give the entire album a listen (or 5). Ledges comes out next week. Enjoy.