Alex Dunn – Southern Star (Spotify)

“The night comes and it's time to relax. Sit back and choose "Southern Star" for a joyful trip among some softly vibrating guitar chords. Follow the singer's expressive voice and say goodbye to your everyday stressful situations!”

Before returning to Seattle to pursue music, rising Americana folk artist Alex Dunn spent much of the past 15 years working and living on boats as a commercial salmon fisherman in Southeast Alaska. Now back in Seattle and coming up on the release of his sophomore LP Southern Star, Dunn has encapsulated his experiences at sea in the album’s title track out via Color Red on September 17, 2021.

“Southern Star” is an oceanic folk song that carries the rhythms of the sea while detailing the arduous yet dreamy nature of living aboard a small wooden fishing vessel. Much of Dunn’s life was often ebbing and flowing, dictated by the seasonal nature of the fish themselves—it was only natural for him to compose an Americana homage that reflects this uniquely aquatic existence. Dunn enlisted Bryant Moore (True Loves) as his co-producer and the two captured the reminiscence of long, hard days toiling upon the sea and nights spent below deck, lulled by the water slapping against the hull, the creaking wood expanding and contracting as the boat heaved up and down.

Dunn collaborated with his good friend and renowned multimedia artist Elena Stonaker on a music video to accompany the track and re-create imagery of a dream-like reality where one floats through rugged waterscapes filled with wild creatures and the experiences of a particular, untamed solitude.

“The video for ‘Southern Star’ showcases Elena’s signature style of creating soft and beautiful, almost child-like worlds, while at the same time evoking the darkness that often lies beneath the surface,” says Dunn. “I wrote many songs while living and working aboard commercial fishing vessels and the video details the numerous creatures and seascapes that filled this wild existence while focusing on the power of dreams—for they are the connections to a promising future. In this case, a future symbolized by the guiding light of a ‘Southern Star.’”

Southern Star is set for release in fall 2021 on Color Red, a music discovery platform founded by Eddie Roberts of The New Mastersounds that is also home of fellow Seattle artists Polyrhythmics, True Loves, West Seattle Soul/The Pulsations, and more. The record was tracked and mixed by Robb Davidson of Avast Recording Co. and mastered by Greg Calbi of Sterling Sound.

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Reviewed by Nagamag on September 29, 2021