THURSDAY, OCTOBER 15, 2015|
Posted by: Vince Brigante
Folk-jam outfit Blitzen Trapper is back again with All Across This Land. And just as the title suggests, there are plenty hints of environmental and character exploration. Blitzen Trapper are known for their manifold styles. What starts as a rock record, ends as a contemplative philosophy ballad. This is the Portland group's eighth release, and they claim it's their best yet.
This record is a modern version of It's Pronounced 'Leh-'Nerd 'Skin-'Nerd. Southern-style is obvious. That's what the Trappers do best. But this is different: it's not that usual Blitzen Trapper Southern keg party, but more of a home-cooked Sunday dinner. The tones have washed up, and the content is ready for supper. The album gets off to a running start with the title track "All Across This Land." The energy is followed immediately by "Rock and Roll (Was Made for You)" in which he compares music to being drug-like and says "'Cause the things you love, they can do the most harm."
But then after the first three tracks, the album starts to slow down. No, not in terms of excitement (come on, how could Blitzen Trapper do that?!) but in actual tempo. The state turns from country-style rock to somber blues, if you will. Here's where the storytelling begins to unfold. These are the stories shared at that chicken and mashed potatoes dinner.
I know I keep referencing it, but there's this "home-y" feel to the record. "Nights Were Made for Love" depicts the passion that happens when the sun goes down. Although this is a country record, it's dressed very differently It certainly isn't Sam Smith or Blake Shelton. Much more serious matters are being discussed; the banjo doesn't seem cheesy. "Even If You Don't," comes to terms with acceptance: singer Eric Earley advises the reader with a "hand-on-your-shoulder" expressiveness, "I know what you're running from, even if you don't." "Advice" would be a solid word to credit this album with. Earley writes about mistakes, and the road that comes after. The last track "Across The River" does exactly that: takes you across the river. The river that separates the listener from the past, and a hopeful future where harmonicas play and everything is all good.
So, take the truck out to the field, lay down in the back and look up at the stars. Think about love, the time you got into a fight near the graveyard when you were younger, and how good things are now; and listen to All Across The Land. Let Blitzen Trapper help you organize those thoughts, and navigate through nostalgia. All Across The Land is out now.