Leigh MichaelTuesday,26 November 2013

The Snap:

Alternative country band Blitzen Trapper has had a busy year. Between touring cities peppered all over the country, they found time to release their seventh studio album, Vii, back in October. I was able to catch their final show at Seattle’s Neptune Theater on Saturday.

The Download:

There’s something about Blitzen Trapper that is quintessentially Seattle. The Portland-based band opened up their show saying that, as a fledgling group, they had expansive dreams of someday playing shows up in their PNW urban counterpart. Today, Seattle was the last stop on a tour that’s taken them all over the country in the past six months. They’ve evolved, but they haven’t given up on that signature sound that gained them a following over ten years ago.

Blitzen Trapper is the kind of band that can make lyrics like “They found the girls body in an open pit / Her mouth was sewn shut, but her eyes were still wide / Gazing through the fog to the other side” sound like a lullaby. They’ve nailed the Old West vibe, singing about rough-and-tumble subjects while holding up a light facade that renders itself appealing to listeners of any age or taste.

I love Blitzen Trapper because they can tuck coming-of-age lessons and reflections into a song about a boy who grows up with wolves. They can talk about small-town love affairs without making it sound trivial or stale. Whether they’re focusing on the weird or the mundane, Blitzen Trapper somehow nails it every time.

But VII, the band’s October release, indicates a shift – albeit a small one – from their classic style. Labeled by frontman Eric Earley as “hillbilly gangster,” it has a subtle electronic vibe. I loved that album, but it will never replace their old material. This is why seeing BLitzen Trapper live is such a great opportunity. You get a spectrum of different stuff – from gentle acoustics to rollicking jams to experimental material. And you get just enough of each to keep you music-full and happy.

If you have the opportunity to listen to Blitzen Trapper live, make sure you make it over there. They might not throw an epic, expansive show (ahem, Yeezus)… but that’s part of the beauty of it. Blitzen Trapper is the ultimate “back to roots” music… And they really, really rock it.

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Hat Tips:

Rolling Stone, Epilogue, Blitzen Trapper, SoundCloud, Image Credit: Flickr

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