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Guitar heroes: Steve Gunn, Lee Ranaldo and Meg Baird come to New Orleans 

The artists perform June 18 at Gasa Gasa

click to enlarge lee-ranaldo-by-leah-singer-2012sm.jpg

Photo by Leah Singer

Nearly a year to the day after his last visit to Gasa Gasa, guitar hero Steve Gunn returns with two of his own guitar heroes in tow: Lee Ranaldo (pictured), the Sonic Youth co-founder cited by Gunn as a main inspiration for his interstate-tripping road ragas; and ex-Espers co-founder Meg Baird, whose trippy, long-form eponymous debut with Heron Oblivion (Sub Pop) placed near the top of Gunn's favorite records of 2016. Gunn and Ranaldo share more than a special talent for six-string whispering. Both cut their teeth as the secret weapon for other singer/songwriters (Kurt Vile and Thurston Moore, respectively) before segueing to center stage, where their modest voices emerged as a natural extension of their obvious instrumental gifts. But that convergence happened from different directions: Whereas Gunn's solo efforts (including last year's stellar Eyes on the Lines) continue the meditative weavings from his work with Vile's Violators, Ranaldo's backing band The Dust rose from the ashes of Sonic Youth in starkly jammy contrast to that band's nuttier, noisier experimentation. In this context, consider Baird — a do-everything fingerpicker-turned-drummer whose solo and band albums soothe and seethe with equal abandon — the fretboard intersection. Tickets $15 in advance, $18 day of show.

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