John Gunter + Randy Gunter release Spirit World.
Spirit World is an instrumental exploration of the Native American flute traversing through a variety of musical genres. The album will be released April 1, 2022 and will be available on most streaming services. Queries for CDs can be made here.
John Gunter plays the Native American flute while Randy Gunter plays guitar, keyboards, bass, percussion and other instruments. All songs are written and performed by the two. Recordings were made at Randy’s home studio in Exeter, WI. (South of Madison, near New Glarus.)
What started out as a long weekend recording session just for the fun of it yielded some very positive results from the beginning. Another long weekend added more strong recordings which prompted the duo to consider turning their sessions into a CD project. Additional sessions started, but delays soon came about from covid risks. After the two got their vaccines and covid risks lessened, they resumed recording. Over the winter months Randy worked on final mixes and masters for the CD.
The nature of the Native American flute gives all songs an indigenous/world sound. Both John and Randy have Native American ancestors, although neither identify as Indian. (John and Randy are uncle and nephew, although they are close enough in age that they are commonly mistaken as brothers.) One of the songs on the album addresses this heritage, a song called Lost Nation.
Lost Nation is a term that Randy coined to identify people who have lost their heritage. His great-grandmother was Hunk Papa Lakota and was taken from her Indian family and raised out east. That ancestral upbringing was taken away from her as part of the U.S. Government’s plan to “take the Indian out of the child”. Randy refers to her, and all of her descendants (including himself), as part of the Lost Nation who lost their connection to their heritage.
The song Spirit World also ties to what could be considered Native American beliefs and practices. John is a believer in deep meditation and reaching out to spirit guides. The song Spirit World signifies the journey from one state to another, the physical world visiting the spiritual world through meditation.
The idea of the two worlds that can connect was also the inspiration in the selection of the cover artwork. Obanite is a painting by prominent artist Tom Uttech. Randy had been an admirer of Uttech’s work for some time and approached the painter about using one of his pieces for the cover art.
When Randy explained the meaning behind the title Spirit World, Mr. Uttech conveyed he had a piece that he was working on at the time that he felt also touched on the duality of different worlds. The water in the nature scene reflects the forest images and animals on land, while at the same time also shows the world of aquatic life underneath the surface. The two worlds meeting each other create this dichotomy of worlds, and Mr. Uttech believes there is a spiritual quality to these natural settings.
Nature also finds its way onto the project as nature recordings are incorporated into a number of the songs. Many were recorded in the woods behind Randy’s house, including songbirds, rain and thunder, owls, and howling coyotes. Nearby destinations were the sources for frogs from the lake in nearby Belleville and a babbling brook was recorded a few miles away near Mt. Vernon.
Toe-tapping tunes with hum-along melodies include songs such as Bridges, A New Day, A Memory and You and I. You might find yourself hearing Celtic influences in some of these upbeat instrumentals. A more ambient/chill approach can be heard in songs Flying, The Journey Home and Spirit World. Go with the Flow follows a basic blues progression. And Randy gets to expand his instrument range on the Americana style Snake Dance, where he plays banjo, slide guitar, bass, harmonica, mandolin and percussion.
For more information, contact Randy Gunter by email or call 608-424-0264.