Zac Gunthorpe brings the 'Ghost of the Town' to you
“All I’ve ever wanted to do is write songs and be true to them,” says Zac Gunthorpe.
It might sound like an obvious approach, but some musicians take years to discover it. For Gunthorpe there was never any other way, which tells you much about the young songwriter and his music. As a youngster, he plunged into music so intensely he would have exploded if he didn’t have a crack at making it himself. Combining enthusiasm (bordering on obsession) with natural talent and an intimate familiarity with Beatles/Byrds/Band songcraft, he was off and running.
Debut album Glory Bound (2015) cemented Gunthorpe’s dedication to making music and, more importantly, to songwriting as a way of life.
“It was always songwriters that I went to, to try and make sense of life before I began writing and playing music,” says Gunthorpe. “I got to a point where I realised they were writing their own songs to make sense of life for them and I needed to do the same if I was going to make sense of mine.”
Which brings us to album Number Two, Ghost of the Town. The title track, released earlier this year, introduced a focus on lost, desperate spirits, the “stealers and their shadowy nooks,” the “broken hearted lovers laying in graves.” Over eight original songs, Gunthorpe and The Brown Byrds (Ryan Miller, Brett Layton, Zach Miller and Neal Purchase Jr) dedicate themselves to these ghosts with a raw commitment reminiscent of Neil Young’s Tonight’s the Night, with engineer/producer Zach Miller hanging onto the desk controls for dear life.
“I think it’s about the invisible people,” says Gunthorpe of Ghost of the Town. “Downtrodden folk, down on their luck, that can’t catch a break and feel like the world has turned its back on them. That’s why we had to track it live with imperfections included. Life isn’t perfect, especially for the characters in these songs.”
Whether driving wild and fast on ‘You Know, You Know’, celebrating classic Australian jangle rock on ‘Really In Love’ or easing back into timeless country roots in ‘Bone Dry Blues’, Gunthorpe, the songs and The Brown Byrds unite as one spirit.
“These songs and The Brown Byrds were made for each other,” Gunthorpe affirms. “That’s what it feels like playing with The Brown Byrds, like we are conjuring spirits. And I think we did the spirits of the songs justice.”
'Ghost of the Town' is streaming now via Spotify, and you can catch Zac on his album release run when he plays Thomas Surfboards in Noosa on November 3.