Guitarists Lee Ranaldo, Steve Gunn and Meg Baird will wield a different kind of ax in the heart of Wayne National Forest, one that does not cut down but rather builds up.
Stuart’s Opera House will host the three guitarists Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. Psych-folk guitarist Meg Baird will play an opening set at the venue at 52 Public Square, Nelsonville followed by the co-headlining sets of Sonic Youth founding member Lee Ranaldo and New York guitarist Steve Gunn.
Tickets to the show are available online for $17 for main floor and $20 for box seats. Tickets sold at the door cost $22 for the main floor and $25 for box seats.
Lee Ranaldo received acclaim over his three-decade career as a founding member of the groundbreaking noise-rock group Sonic Youth along with Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon. In 2012, Spin gave Ranaldo and Moore the top spot on its “100 Greatest Guitarists” list as descendants of the “no wave” musical movement of late 1970s New York.
Steve Gunn takes a different approach to his guitar. In the tradition of acts like John Fahey and other American Primitivist guitarists, Gunn utilizes fingerpicking techniques to produce notes and sequences full of melodious resonance accompanied by his voice.
“Solo guitar music (is) overall pretty mellow,” Brian Koscho, marketing director of Stuart’s Opera House, said. “But it should be a mix of mellow and rockin’. All of the performers have played in louder groups in their careers.”
Parallel to his solo releases dating back to 2007, Gunn played guitar in Kurt Vile’s backing band “The Violators.” Last summer, he collaborated with the “Pretty Pimpin’” rocker on an EP for Three Lobed Recordings titled Parallelogram, which includes three original songs and three covers of songs by Randy Newman, John Prine and Nico.
Meg Baird will open with the first of the three sets. She has played at the Nelsonville Music Festival with the San Francisco psych-rock band Heron Oblivion but has never played the town as a solo performer. She also performs with the Philadelphia psych-folk Espers.
She will deliver her “classic singer style” Wednesday with her Martin 00-15 guitar. She described her performance as “kind of a shared quietness that isn’t forced” between her and the audience.
“(All three of us) are chasing a lot of voicings and playing a really layered style,” Baird said. “My playing is pretty related to what Steve is doing with classic fingerpicking, but we are a little idiosyncratic and individual.”
The three guitarists bear different guitar styles exemplifying the possibilities of guitar work. However, roving in a similar group of collaborators, Ranaldo, Gunn and Baird maintain a complimentary sound that will echo off the walls of Stuart’s Opera House on Wednesday.