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  • Writer's pictureStevie Connor

Album Review: Newcastle Park by Woods Of Light

Brian Gunther

Photo Credit: Ashley Clarkson.

In the realm of indie-folk, where heartfelt storytelling meets acoustic artistry, Brian Gunther's solo project, Woods Of Light, makes a striking debut with Newcastle Park. This deeply personal and nostalgic concept album invites listeners into the intimate corners of Brian's life, evoking memories of youth in the 1990s, friendships, family bonds, and the bittersweet transition from childhood to adulthood.

Brian Gunther, a seasoned singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, has spent years honing his craft across various musical projects. With Newcastle Park, he steps into the spotlight, sharing his music with the world from his self-run studio, Ravenwood, in Quebec, Canada. Every note and lyric on this album is a testament to his dedication, as he single-handedly writes, arranges, performs, records, and mixes each track. The result is a cohesive and immersive listening experience that feels both timeless and refreshingly original.

Brian Gunther

Photo Credit: Ashley Clarkson.

The album's foundational sound is rooted in indie-folk, and creates a lush, inviting atmosphere, further enriched by solid rhythms that anchors many of the songs. The intricate instrumentation and thoughtful arrangements reflect Brian's meticulous attention to detail and his deep connection to the material.

From the opening title track, "Newcastle Park," listeners are drawn into a world of vivid recollections and emotional landscapes. At 10 minutes and 49 seconds, it sets the tone for an album that is as expansive as it is intimate. Each subsequent track builds on this foundation, exploring different facets of Brian's memories and experiences.

"Virtue Hill" and "Blue-eyed Stranger" delve into the themes of friendship and the passage of time, their melodies tinged with a sense of longing and reflection. "Left Behind" and "Sunny Summer Avenue" capture the essence of carefree days and the inevitable changes that accompany growing up in a small town.

The album's middle tracks, "Hometown" and "Words We Never Say," offer poignant reflections on family ties and unspoken emotions, while "Sleepy Side Of Town" and "Shadow Of Autumn" embrace the melancholic beauty of life's quieter moments. The closing track, "Final Summer," is a brief yet powerful encapsulation of the album's overarching themes, leaving listeners with a sense of closure and contemplation.

Recorded over nine months and polished to perfection, Newcastle Park is a labor of love, dedicated to Brian's family and the patience they afforded him during its creation. Special thanks are given to his two-year-old son William, whose ears were treated to many takes and re-takes on trips in the car honing the fine details, leading to the album's final form. This personal touch adds another layer of authenticity and warmth to the project.

Newcastle Park by Woods Of Light is more than just an album; it's a heartfelt narrative woven through intricate melodies and evocative lyrics. Brian Gunther's ability to capture the essence of his past and translate it into a universally relatable experience is a testament to his skill as a songwriter and storyteller. As he continues to perform and promote this debut effort, it's clear that Woods Of Light has a bright future ahead, illuminating the path with the glow of nostalgia and the promise of what's yet to come.

Woods Of Light


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