Sub Pop (label)
13 September 2011 (released)
24 August 2011
Wikipedia describes Blitzen Trapper as “experimental alternative country/folk”. I don’t quite get the ‘Experimental’ part because on the evidence of this album what they are is a damn fine alt-country band that rocks out with a great heart.
This is a cracker of an album and they bring to mind some of the great bands of the past such as Lynrd Skynrd or even The Band. Their folk elements are there too so I guess that you could plant them in the Roots/Americana fold but really they are just a great American music band.
Every track seems to have a different personality, from the boogie of the opening ‘Might Find It Cheap’ with a really Tom Petty Heartbreakers edge to it and some terrific guitar, to the straight country ‘Love the Way you walk away’ with a bubbling banjo and harmonica behind Eric Earley’s impassioned vocals – the pedal steel/lap guitar is used sparingly and brilliantly and you can’t help but feel that country music is a very much maligned medium if it can be this good.
‘Your Crying Eyes’ sounds as though it will be a classic country tear-jerker but instead you get pounding rock with a marching pace and howling axes but then ‘My Home Town’ gives you all the down-home nostalgia you could wish for – takes us all to a place we can recognize!
Every track is considered and played to perfection but it doesn’t sound over-produced or analytical. The songs are great but they need the performances to make them work and they do.
Eric Earley says that he was trying to “evoke a true American Nostalgia” and his stories seem to tell all there is of the recent past – no trying o recreate the old west or farmland hicksville, just stories of the America we all remember from the movies and something to put you back there.