Mike Gunther’s primitive and patently American music melds fiery lyricism and unusual instrumentation with traditional elements of country, blues and soul. On Burn It Down for the Nails (Heart of a Champion), the second full-length release from Mike Gunther and His Restless Souls, Gunther leads a parade of eclectic players as they romp amid the shadows and flames of his storytelling. Gunther’s First LP, Every Dream Thatʼs Dropped and Died, (Heart of A Champion 2003) and charismatic live show garnered the attention of critics with Gunther named “Best Songwriter” in the City Pages annual Best of the Twin Cities issue. The band was then nominated for three Minnesota Music Awards.
In 2004 Gunther recorded and released a split single with acclaimed songwriter Eleni Mandell. Gunther, a Montana native who grew up in Minnesota, put his musical background this way. “I grew up listening to distant AM and shortwave radio stations and a sparse collection of records my folks had. The only instrument my mother owned was a pitch pipe from teachers college. I heard the music of Robert Johnson on the radio when I was 14, bought a Harmony guitar with a warped neck at a garage sale for ten dollars and learned to play. My lack of understanding and left handed instinct lead me to play it up side down without restringing. I played here and there, hopped freights, got scared of hitch hiking, became a diesel mechanic, cab driver, truck driver, carpenter. So here is where the heart lies kissed off, vagabond and all the time writing songs for myself.”