Blitzen Trapper "VII"

 

Blitzen Trapper brew up a mix of funky appalachian rock with lots of hunting metaphors.

If funk grooves and country twang decided to have a throw-down, each tearing across an open field to tangle, who would you bet on? How about betting on a really unique, booty-shaking collection of songs that will keep both your hunter brother-in-law and your hipster niece happy at the family reunion? Blitzen Trapper continues to be a band that doesn’t fit a tidy little genre as they plunder funk, soul, blues, country, and rock music for their seventh album, appropriately titled VII.

Singer and songwriter Eric Earley’s rural upbringing factors into his songs, from the hunting and backwoods metaphors that creep into his lyrics to the Appalachian picking and bluegrass undertones of his music. But for a band that tours as much as Blitzen Trapper it’s not surprising that the band’s picked up influences from the regions they’ve traveled, from Midwestern rock to laid-back California folk, to southern blues and soul. Earley admits to listening to a lot of Merle Haggard recently so some of his attitude ripples through the record.

VII kicks off with the funky “Feel The Chill” as song about waning attraction and communication in a relationship. The groove seems to come from Memphis but the lyrics refer to hunting deer. This kind of random mixing of cultures flows throughout. “Shine On” continues the funk with organ, harmonica, red-hot guitar licks, and funky female backing vocals. “Neck Tatts, Cadillacs” highlights Earley’s Appalachian banjo as it collides with rollicking soul grooves. What is particularly appealing about Blitzen Trapper’s rock is that it remains dirty and raw. This isn’t a band that pursues studio perfection. Every song,

Eric Earley isn’t shy about revealing his character’s weak points, admitting to drinking, cheating and shaky self-esteem. He captures those moments in life when regrets sneak up on you, leaving you spook like a frightened animal. The band’s web site offers this sentiment about VII – “May these songs minister in ways mysterious and eternal, or at least maybe make you shake a hip.”

Rosemary Welsch (Afternoon Mix)