Having recently been somewhat cynical towards the idea of classical genres having modern day appeal I am happy to admit I was perhaps a bit too hasty in that sweeping generalisation.
‘American Goldwing’ is the sixth studio album from Portland based Blitzen Trapper. A fusion of American folk and southern country rock, despite Portland being about as far as possible geographically in the US from the origins of country rock. It has plenty of contemporary charm and I would pitch it somewhere between Bob Dylan and Lynyrd Skynyrd. They take a vintage sound and revamp it with more modern rock edgyness.
The album opens with ‘Might Get It Cheap‘. A five second sliding guitar solo introduces the track which if we were back in the 70’s may well have went on for 3 or 4 minutes. I do feel slightly cheated out of this epic Free Bird-esq intro. The tempo sets off at a medium pace with a bouncy toe taping melody. Electro acoustic bridging riffs tie the verses together and help the track flow.
There is a good variance as the album progresses. They branch out from the signature sound with touches of blues, rock n roll and radio friendly post-grunge. The vocals are gritty which gives them a sense of integrity.
If pressed I’d probably plump for ‘Fletcher’ as my favourite track is more folky with the focus on the vocals and rhythm guitar. The melody is easy on the ears and the chorus catchy.
‘American Goldwing’ is my first exposure to Blitzen Trapper and silly name aside I am totally sold on them.
(Available now through Sub Pop Records)