Folk and Americana singer/songwriter Kurt Gunn is a solo artist as well as a part of the duo Girl & The Gunn and fronts two other bands -The Kurt Gunn Band and Kurt Gunn & The Poor Town Proper.
The Green Bay native, who has lived in De Pere for the last 15 years, never took formal guitar lessons. However, a high school friend taught him and his friends to play around his sophomore year of high school.
“He took like a month’s worth of lessons and then all of our friends hung out at his house, and he had the music room in the front of the house,” Gunn says. Gunn believes this is what makes his generation of songwriters stand out.
“Back then, there was no internet, so you couldn’t just hop on theinternet and learn how to play guitar, or to learn a song you couldn’t go on the internet and learn the tablature for it,” Gunn says. “You had to actually figure it out on your own.”
His organic way of learning guitar has shaped the kind of musician Gunn is today.
“You miss out on the mistakes [which] are as important as the actual thing you’re trying to learn . . . just everything was trial and error,” Gunn says. “It’s not necessarily the right way, but it’s right for me.”
Connections with other local musicians were key for Gunn’s success in his craft.
“You meet this person, and this person opens this door for you, and you meet that person, and a lot of people have helped me throughout the years, and I still remember every person who has helped me.You can’t do it on your own,” Gunn says. “I’ve always helped people who have asked for help, because people have helped me.”
Like many musicians, what drives Gunn’s work is passion. “It’s like I have to, you know, there’s something you like doing —you do it,” he says. “It’s always there; I can’t not do it.”
Girl & The Gunn put out an EP last summer and Kurt Gunn & The Poor Town Proper released an album in 2019. For a listen, visit soundcloud.com/gunnandthegirl or kurtgunn.bandcamp.com.