Brian Dunne, Skylar Gudasz

Hailing from the Red Roof Inn, the driver's seat of a Honda Fit, the floor of the airport, the guest bedroom at your Aunt's and Uncle's house, the back seat of a 15-passenger van, and New York City, Brian Dunne is the companion you never knew you wanted. Equipped with a Telecaster, a Gibson Hummingbird and 17 dollars, he is coming to your town to play his guts out and then stand by the merch table."Bug Fixes & Performance Improvements" was produced by Brian and released in May of 2017 independently. It garnered a great deal of attention based on the quality of the songwriting and musicality, landing Brian on NPR's Mountain Stage and 2017's Cayamo Cruise, and tours with The Secret Sisters, Will Hoge, Rosanne Cash, Robert Earl Keen, Joan Osborne, Delbert McClinton, and a myriad of other songwriting heavyweights. The first two singles were picked up by SiriusXM radio, and if you visited a shopping mall during the spring of 2017, you probably heard the lead single "Don't Give Up On Me" being interrupted by an announcement that someone had lost their kid at the food court.​Brian followed the release of "Bug Fixes" with a live EP of stripped-down versions of previously released songs entitled “The Timber House Sessions”. In early 2019, Brian returned to the studio to begin his next LP with producer Andrew Sarlo which is slated for release sometime before we're all dead and expected to be "totally the most amazing thing you've ever heard," according to Brian's mom. In the meantime, his newest single "New Tattoo" has been played extensively on XM radio and become a huge hit amongst a very niche group of people that fly JetBlue and frequent Starbucks.

With her luminous voice and captivating songcraft, Skylar Gudasz has won the admiration of some of the most distinguished artists in music. In the past few years alone, the Durham, North Carolina-based singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist has shared stages with the likes of Ray Davies and Cat Power as part of the Big Star’s Third tribute concerts, opened for Television and toured with Teenage Fanclub, and appeared as a background vocalist on albums by Hiss Golden Messenger and Superchunk. In the follow-up to her full-length debut Oleander (a 2016 release that prompted The Bitter Southerner to praise her as “the Joni Mitchell the South never had”), Gudasz now delivers a new track revealing an even more dynamic dimension of her artistry.

Produced by Ari Picker of Lost in the Trees, “Play Nice” centers on elements signature to Gudasz’s sound—her melodic ingenuity, intricate guitar work, and hypnotic vocal presence—but brings in a gritty vitality and groove-driven energy previously unglimpsed in her music. With its lyrics showing the stark power of her poetry (e.g., “I’m as nice as a guillotine”), that edgier sensibility echoes the song’s emotional core. “When I wrote it I was feeling a lot of rage at the idea that, as a woman, you have to play nice and smile and go along with certain things as sort of a survival mechanism,” Gudasz says. “I hope when people listen they come away with the feeling that it’s okay to be angry.”

Growing up in Ashland, Virginia, Gudasz first found her affinity for music by learning to play flute at age five, and soon started writing songs of her own. She later taught herself to play piano and guitar, drawing inspiration from Joni Mitchell’s use of alternate tunings in developing her own distinct style. Although she spent several years in bands after heading to North Carolina for college, Gudasz eventually struck out on her own and sculpted the lushly textured sound of Oleander with the help of producer Chris Stamey (co-frontman for The dB’s and music director for Big Star’s Third).

“Play Nice” is slated for Gudasz’s forthcoming sophomore effort, an album produced mainly by Brad Cook (Waxahatchee, Hiss Golden Messenger) and recorded at April Base (the Wisconsin studio founded by Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon). And while she’s purposely exploring new sonic possibilities in her latest output, Gudasz continues to approach her music with the same intentionality she’s always brought to her songwriting. “My songs tend to start from a lot of different places, like a phrase I’ve written down or music I heard in a dream or something I found through sitting at the piano and just playing whatever comes out,” she says. “But however they start I usually take my time instead of committing to anything right away. I like to leave space for songs to become whatever they want to be.”

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