Tracker Pixel for Entry

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

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 Olivia Slyteroslyter.g@cord.eduPhotos by Sabrina HornungFor months, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has been asking the heavy question “Should the 1973 ruling of Roe v. Wade be overturned?” On May 2nd,…

MayKenny Wayne Shepherd KWS creates genre-defining rock n' roll.Fargo Theatre, Sunday, May 1,…

Thursday, May 26, 5-7 pm, on view May 26-July 7   Spirit Room Gallery, 111 Broadway N, FargoDennis Terhak attended Moorhead State College after serving four years in the Marine Corps. He spent 25 years wielding a brush, working as…

By Sabrina Hornungsabrina@hpr1.comOur opinion: It’s not a matter of pro-life or pro-choice, it’s anti-womanI hate to admit it, but aside from the Women’s March in 2017, I hadn’t attended a rally or a march since the Bush…

By Ed Raymondfargogadfly@gmail.com If You Want a Free University Education, Why Not Go to Europe?Why are President Joe Biden and the White House in some kind of sleep mode? Very little is getting done! We can’t afford to go back…

Well shiver me timbers. After weeks of sampling some of the finest drinks in F-M from more bars than we could shake a belaying pin at, the results of High Plains Reader’s 6th Annual Cocktail Showdown are in! For nine weeks,…

By Rick Gionrickgion@gmail.comPhoto by Rick GionAs you may have read, the Hotel Donaldson and the Hodo Lounge are transitioning to the ownership group that runs the Blarney Stone Irish Pubs in North Dakota. Although feelings seem…

By Michael Str!ke  michaelstrike.solo@gmail.comThe word noise can mean so many different things. But here in Fargo, our Noise scene is thriving as what many…

By Greg Carlsongregcarlson1@gmail.com Novelist/screenwriter/director Alex Garland has earned a sizable and devoted following over the years. His previous two feature directorial efforts, “Ex Machina” and “Annihilation,”…

By Sabrina Hornungsabrina@hpr1.comArtwork: Woodcut by Danielle Gravon titled "Allegory of Fargo Winter I"On June 18, the Rourke will be holding their 62nd annual Midwestern Preview, the date celebrating the opening anniversary of…

By Kris Gruberperriex1@gmail.comDrag shows, for me, feel like a celebration of artistry, esthetic, music, and camaraderie. With a dash of confetti thrown in.The local drag community is a close-knit family. Giving back to affiliated…

By Sabrina Hornungsabrina@hpr1.comCharlie Berens is a man of many hats. The creator of the “Manitowoc Minute” is a newsman, comedian, writer and musician. We had the opportunity to speak with the Wisconsin native about his new…

By Kris Gruberperriex1@gmail.comSpring is here (mostly), and our area is buzzing with people eager to get back out and about -- many newly vaccinated and feeling a bit safer. Partnering with Jade Events, Fargo Brewing is just…

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 Sabrina Hornungsabrina@hpr1.comLehr Mayor and Council Members Donate City Salaries To Save Legion HallEvery rural community has at least one social space that holds multiple generations of memories and has remained a social…

Hukun provided his responses via email. “I live in downtown Fargo. Downtown living makes everything accessible and convenient! I love taking my kids to Lindenwood, and enjoy the food at Rugsan on 13th Avenue. I also like shopping…