Blitzen Trapper - American Goldwing

An intensely personal, nostalgic album.

It’s been a busy time for Blitzen Trapper’s Eric Earley. The singer/guitarist has gone from being a college student, to being homeless, to releasing his sixth album with the band that he fronts, all in the space of a short few years. It’s no surprise then that ‘American Goldwing’ finds him taking stock and looking back, asking questions of himself like ‘does a true heart change or does it stay the same’ while expressing a desire to ‘go on back to from where I came’.

From the first listen ‘American Goldwing’ sounds like an intensely personal, nostalgic album. The title itself comes from the Honda Goldwing motorcycle that Earley’s brother-in-law used to keep around the back of his father’s house. The music too, harks back to bands that you can easily imagine a young guy listening to while growing up in a small town in the American South (that Earley actually hails from a rural town just outside Portland, Oregon seems irrelevant), from Lynyrd Skynyrd to Townes Van Zandt via Nashville Skyline-era Bob Dylan. There’s also the same conflict implicit in half of Springsteen’s back catalogue (and explicit in the other half) between the affection you feel for the place you grew up, the place that shaped the person you grew to be, and a burning desire to escape, to jump the rails and discover what adventures lie beyond the horizon.

At heart though, this is simply American Rock, feeding off all the history that classification implies and incorporating it seamlessly into a great set of songs where blasts of harmonica, banjo and slide guitar elbow in alongside crashing riffs and hammering drum fills. This is music to drink cold beer to on a hot night, sitting on the back of a pickup truck under the stars or sat in a roadside bar in the deep south, watching the best bar band you’re likely to see and remembering with fondness the people and places you’ve loved and left behind.

Tags: Blitzen Trapper, Reviews, Album Reviews

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