The Rocks Off 200: Gunnar Cushway, Insko's Feel-Good Utilityman

Welcome to The Rocks Off 200, our portrait gallery of the most compelling profiles and personalities in the far-flung Houston music community -- a lot more than just musicians, but of course they're in there too. See previous entries in the Rocks Off 100 at this link.

Photos courtesy of Gunnar Cushway
Who? Everything about Insko feels like a lazy dream. It's a strummy, indie sort of sound that slows the heart and opens the mind to gentler thoughts. Taylor Harper has a light, but powerful voice that frames each word and thought like a cloud drifting through an azure sky, but it's grounded by the journeyman guitars and incidental instrumentation of his mate Gunnar Cushway.

His presence is always hovering in the background, painting the songs with little strokes of emphasis and solidity. Guitar, bass, drums, light keys, vocals -- whatever a song needs he's on it. His approach to music is very artistic, always questioning a song's message and which instrument will clearest express that message. The result is terribly honest tunes that feel like they've been signed like a painter signs a masterpiece. I'm very much looking forward to their debut LP from NoisePodium Records later this year.

Home Base: Insko grew out of a night spent drinking and singing, and the band's writing process reflects that genesis. Cushway writes his work wherever the fancy takes him and flushes it whenever he's next in the presence of his bandmates. The stage he likes best in the city is Fitzgerald's, which he refers to as a "home posing as a venue with expensive drinks."

Why Do You Stay In Houston? "There's this music scene here that's emergent and fresh but also somewhat close-knit and familiar," he says. "Plus it's home."

Good War Story: "It's difficult conjuring up a good 'war story' from a career that's essentially nonexistent," Cashway admits. "On the other hand, I've dealt with your typical hardships faced as a musician: stolen equipment, disputing with venue management for the agreed compensation, having our sets cut short, etc. 'The essentials.'"

Story continues on the next page.

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