The Gunshy, Andrew Bryant

The Gunshy

Andrew Bryant

Wed, December 6, 2017

9:00 pm

The Hideout

Chicago, IL

$10.00

The Gunshy
The Gunshy
On December 6, 2017, The Gunshy will be commemorating the tenth anniversary of the release of their album There’s No Love In This War. Originally released on October 30, 2017, the album received high praise for its stark presentation of wartime life.

The Gunshy’s Matt Arbogast on There’s No Love In This War:

From 1943 until 1945, my grandfather Paul Arbogast spent his days preparing for, fighting, recovering from, and again fighting a war. The songs that comprise There’s No Love In This War are based on the seventeen letters he wrote to the girl he met at the Ukranian Club at home in Allentown, Pennsylvania, the year before he left.

Paul and Julia were married six months after he returned and in 1947 she gave birth to their first child, my father Mark. Paul passed away at the age of 39 of a heart attack, attested mainly to the shrapnel still in his chest from wounds received at Anzio in 1944.

Though she never spoke in detail of Paul, my grandmother Julia had no other man in her life. She passed away a few years ago.

These songs are his, though they may not do him justice. I’ve never fought in a war and hope to always be able to say that.
Arbogast self-released those attic songs in 2002 as his debut album, To Remember/To Forget, and began a seven week tour immediately. His travels introduced him to a world of comradere, booze, and sleeping on floors that quickly became his home. His second album, No Man's Blues, was initially self-released, then quickly re-released in 2004 by Latest Flame Records, who had been given a copy by his tourmates at the time, Troubled Hubble. Impressed by the album and Arbogast's conviction, they were anxious to offer their support. After critical acclaim and lengthy touring behind No Man's Blues, Arbogast relocated The Gunshy to Chicago. With the big city came the addition of more instrumentation to his songs. The result, 2005's Souls, was perceived by critics and admirers alike as a great step forward for The Gunshy. On the day of it's release, Julia Simon of Spin.com wrote, "If Matt Arbogast's debut as The Gunshy wasn't enough to catapult him into the storytelling ranks of Destroyer's Dan Bejar and Silver Jews' David Berman -- those kings of self-referential literariness -- his third LP, Souls, will."

Though his songs have allowed him to travel the States nineteen times and join most of his favorite artists on stage, Arbogast still maintains the DIY ethics that initially allowed him to do what he loves. He often prefers art spaces or house shows to the typical club setting. "It's sad and frustrating that the most popular form of art is so often restricted to those of drinking age. I drink plenty, but would prefer to play a living room of ten people listening to songs than a bar of hundreds too drunk to listen," he says. He's the type of performer you'll find watching other bands play or drinking a beer with his host on the couch in someone's living room, rather than hiding backstage with his rider of expensive liquor.

When he's not on the road (which is only about half the year), you'll find Matt either at the Green Eye on Western and Milwaukee in Chicago, at a show around town, writing and recording songs, or keeping in touch with those he's met on the road. He may not be handwriting all of those correspondences as his grandfather did, but you will hear in these songs from whom Matt inherited his wordsmith abilities…Please listen to and enjoy There Is No Love In This War, out October 30, 2007 on Latest Flame Records.

The Gunshy's There's No Love In This War: Matt Arbogast, Andrew Bryant, Kara Eubanks, Jeff Grabowski, Ben Grigg, Dan Hanke, Andrew Lanthrum, Adam Penly, Hawley Shoffner, Corey Wills.
Andrew Bryant
Andrew Bryant
Nobody right now does reflection and interiority better than Andrew Bryant. He’s always stopping to look. Starting again and recalibrating. Asking questions. The songs on Ain’t It Like
the Cosmos provide complex observations about work, fatherhood, love, and longing. What does it even mean to be a father and a husband and a son? What’s it mean to be from a place? To truly live in a place? To feel trapped in a place? To feel freed by work and music and love? The album is rooted in sensory details. This intimacy gives us access to Bryant’s memories and fears. The thing that wrecks me most is the sincerity in his voice when he sings a line like “I don’t want to
let you down / I just want to drink some booze” on “Everything in This World.” It’s the kind of line that allows you to insert yourself into the story of the song. Bryant’s narrators are always concerned with being better men, with leaving behind the things that bog them down, be it blood, place, or bad habits. Shaving your beard and throwing out your liquor can be a big accomplishment, as is the case on “I Am Not My Father’s Son.”
The fifth track, “Practical Man,” supplies us with the album’s mission statement: “I’ve always been the type to ask what it all means / and I’ve always tried to get down to the heart of things / But the older I get the less it matters to me / I’m a practical man at the end of the day / I used to be the kind to hide my mistakes / Bury them in a mix of guitars and bass / But the older I get the more I want them in my face.” It’s an uncompromising statement, one that makes clear
Bryant’s preoccupations. How do you strip things down to the bare essentials? How do you embrace and learn from mistakes? Like his heroes Jason Molina and David Bazan, Bryant is reckoning with time and failure and the past, and he’s trying to find hope in this savage world.
He’s trying. He’s doing the nasty work of living. He’s not going to look away. He’s going to face it head on.
“The Price Was Right” is one of the album’s great heartbreakers: “I call my mother / Her name is Paula / She’s having trouble with her mind / We talk about Shiloh / She grew up there / Sometimes I smell her chicken pie.” Bryant’s a master at these simple, human moments. He can hit that yearning place like no one else I can think of. Kell Kellum’s pedal steel roams in the background on this song (and on so many of these songs), giving us the sensation that the music
is on our tail on some long dark road. You can smell the melancholy like pine trees heavy in the air.
Elsewhere, on “Bittersweet,” Bryant sings: “Lord, ain’t it bittersweet this place we call our home / Ain’t it like the cosmos to light up the magnolias at dawn.” If the world’s savage, if Mississippi can be a difficult place to understand and exist in, there are these moments of intense beauty to give it meaning and balance it all out. These songs are perilous with the push and pull between life and death, the recognition that everything is fleeting. One minute you’re playing ball with your son in the yard, as in “The Price Was Right,” the next minute you just want to “check another night off your list,” like the narrator of “Everything in This World.” Bryant goes on in “Bittersweet”: “Ain’t it like the cosmos to play every card in the deck?” The business of living is sloppy. We find our foundations in ways we couldn’t have expected.
And now the first for last. “Robert Downey Jr’s Scars” is the most urgent album opener since Songs: Ohia’s “Farewell Transmission.” It’s the song where Bryant espouses his code with strutting brutality: “Iron Man was on the TV / I was pouring myself another beer / Thinking about all the pain that’s in my heart / Thinking about Robert Downey Jr’s scars / And, man, I
know just what it takes / Yeah, I know just what it takes to start again.” He does. You spin your mistakes into magic. You do the work. You put the hammer down and do the work.
—William Boyle

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Venue Information:
The Hideout
1354 W. Wabansia Ave
Chicago, IL, 60642
http://www.hideoutchicago.com