Tracker Pixel for Entry

Blitzen Trapper’s “All Across This Land” a powerhouse

by Stephen Anderson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Music | October 1st, 2015

Rock and Roll was made for you. Band in Fargo on Saturday


There’s nothing more rock and roll than singing about rock and roll. For as long as the genre has existed, its torch-bearers have spouted its mystical, transformative virtues. A seeming act of piety, it’s been ambiguously twisted into averb in thrashing sermons by the likes of Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Bob Seger and the Velvet Underground. While those bands’ definitions fall far from total encapsulation, country-rockers Blitzen Trapper dare to offer up a sort of rock and roll primer with their eighth LP, “All Across This Land.” They play Fargo this Saturdya at the Aquarium a day after their new album comes out.

A return to form after the unexpected hip-hop dabbling of their previous “VII” album, Blitzen Trapper’s latest is the archetypal rock album in every way, and in indie music’s current riff recession, it’s a needed kick in the ass. With the same power chord pounce of the group’s previous records “American Goldwing” and “Furr,” “All Across This Land” burns hot like a finely tuned tube amp.

Here, the band’s sacrificial offering at the altar of Rock, “Rock and Roll (Was Made for You),” is surely due, considering their obvious debt to their forebears. These ten songs, all hovering close to that three-minute-thirty-three-second sweet spot, encompass large swaths of classic rock radio, invoking the canyon breeze of the Eagles and Jackson Browne, the blue-collar heroics of Springsteen and Mellencamp, and the dark Americana of Neil Young, whose 1972 album “Harvest” they incidentally covered live in its entirety for their contribution to this year’s Record Store Day.

Frontman and primary songwriter Eric Earley said he wrote the songs quickly, opting to follow his instinctual songwriting instead of ruminating on and tweaking them as he had on previous albums. His avoidance of creative hand-wringing has surely paid off; each song hits its mark, with every chorus demanding a sing-along and every bridge tugging tension for the next one. If it sounds like the band is settling in, it’s only because they’ve got a formula worth settling into.

Though Blitzen Trapper’s music has always been marked by punchy riff-rocking and unabashed guitar wailing, it’s Earley’s lyrics, delivered in his calling-card twang, that have endeared so many listeners to the quartet’s AM radio-reminiscent songs. While the immediate darkness of fan favorites like “Black Water Killer” is absent here, within “All Across This Land” resides an entire town of burnt-out, forlorn could’ve-beens and never-weres.

Earley’s character sketches, vaguely rendered with swirls of high school booster club spirit and summer nights spent in the backseats of muscle cars, ache with a deep current of rural desperation. Delivered over nothing but a ghostly steel guitar moan, lines like those in “Cadillac Road” (“Got a teenage boy, he doesn’t know my name / Sometimes I go and watch him at his football games / But one of these days I’m gonna tell him the truth / Who his old man is and who I was in my youth”) dim those Friday night lights.

As surely as small towns are glued together by earnest, knowing smiles and those charming, two-fingered steering-wheel waves one truck cab to another, “All Across This Land” is united by its unflagging, rocking spirit, no matter how dark its undercurrents may be. With a simultaneous rural grit and spit-shined polish, this rock and roll catechism may very well be the band’s finest effort yet. It’s just a shame that the world’s dusty Camaros will never know the album on the eight-track format it deserves.

IF YOU GO:

Blitzen Trapper

Saturday, October 3rd

The Aquarium (226 Broadway above Dempsey’s) Fargo, ND

8 pm Doors, 9 pm Show

advance tickets at Orange Records and ticketweb.com

Recently in:

By the time this article is published, all the major new outlets in the area will have reported on the May 30th protest in Fargo demanding change and justice after the needless killing of George Floyd, as well as its aftermath. …

by Sonja ThompsonDebra Ruh is the CEO and Founder of Ruh Global IMPACT, a consulting firm that strives to help clients amplify their impact and become disability inclusion leaders. She also serves as the Chair of the United…

Best Bets

Ladies Ag Night

by HPR Staff

Thursday, March 19, 4:30- 8 pm1609 19th Ave N, FargoCass County Soil Conservation District is hosting their annual Ladies’ Ag Night supper event. This event has a goal of bringing together multiple generations of women involved…

by Sofia Makarova and Massimo Sassi The global pandemic is an incredibly challenging time for many. Nearlyone in every three Americans’ jobs have been affected, whether a temporary layoff, a permanent job loss, or a reduction in…

Gadfly

Shark Feasts

by Ed Raymond

How Did Sharks Know The Middle Passage Route Of Slave Ships?Because they ate a lot of living and dead naked Africans for 350 years who either jumped off slave ships or were dumped off dead. That’s not fake history, folks, but in…

To say that this year’s Bartenders Battle was the best display of talent in the six years since its creation would be an understatement and a disservice to not only the bartenders who made it into the competition, but also the…

It goes without saying that Valentine’s Day is the most profitable of all the holidays and the one with the most tortured history, literally. It is confusing how an ancient Roman festival that involved sacrificing animals and…

Fargo obviously loves their classical music. Audiences have still turned out during the 2019-2020 season of the Sanford Masterworks Series performed by the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra despite an unrelenting winter. That…

Both Jim Jarmusch’s contemporary classic “Dead Man” and Kelly Reichardt’s newly released “First Cow” open with cosmic epigraphs. The former uses Henri Michaux’s idiosyncratic line, “It is preferable not to travel…

This weekend, the 10th Annual Unglued Craft Fest will be held at the Plains Art Museum, featuring over 70 local and regional artists selling handmade items. Though most are Fargo-Moorhead residents, artists from Minneapolis, Sioux…

Theatre

Fargo Film Festival 2020

by HPR Contributor

by Dominic EricksonThis March, the Fargo Film Festival will celebrate its 20th year of entertaining die-hard cinephiles and casual moviegoers alike. The festival begins on March 17 and concludes March 21. The event is once again…

by Kris Gruberperriex1@gmail.comAdam Quesnell's last show at The Cellar beneath the Front Street Taproom in Fargo was in early September of 2018. He was embarking on a seminal move from Minneapolis to LA. As always, his comedy was…

by Jill Finkelsonjsfinkelson99@gmail.comFar North Spirits, located up in Hallock, MN, is the northernmost distillery in the lower 48. They may be young in the distillery world but the farm and the spirit reach far into the past.…

Wellness

Discover Yoga Differently

by HPR Contributor

by Laurie J Bakeremsdatter@gmail.com Part of modern yoga is participating in the world around us. We live in a time of upheaval in society and nature, and of great suffering in humans of all ages. Most of us perceive this suffering…

by Devin Joubertdevinlillianjoubert@gmail.comIt’s that beautiful time of the year that’s filled with seasonal decorations, sparkly lights, warm family gatherings, and delicious feasts. I love everything about this time of the…

"…evil appears as good in the minds of those whom god leads to destruction." - Sophocles, Antigone“It is a mistake…as events since September 11 (2001) have shown—to suppose that a government can promote and participate in a…