Two and a Half out of Three HeadphonesAlbum: American Goldwing

Artist: Blitzen Trapper

Year: 2011


When’s the last time you rocked out to the sound of twanging jew’s harp?  Right.  It’s been a while for me, too.  If this lack of hillbilly goodness is troubling you, get yourself a copy of Blitzen Trapper’s newest release, American Goldwing.  It isn’t exactly country and it’s definitely not bluegrass, but American Goldwing exudes back woods goodness at its alt-country best.

At times, Blitzen Trapper could pass for a 21st century reincarnation of Jerry Garcia and friends, with songs that bounce along like a sunshine daydream but still manage to rock the electric guitar.  Other tracks are less rock and more easy folk, a la Dylan around the time of Nashville Skyline.

American Goldwing might have a little too much country charm for some, but throughout the entire album, what wins me over is Blitzen Trapper’s absolute sincerity as a band.  There is not a trace of irony or kitch to be found on this album and that may just be the secret to its success.  Unlike so many bands in recent years who seem to latch on to the sounds of 70’s in some winking, “aren’t we precious?” kind of way,  Blitzen Trapper is simply making the kind of music they love.

Ultimately, fans of classic Southern rock and modern alt-country should find plenty to love on American Goldwing.  As for you Philistines who claim not to listen anything that relies on harmonicas and dobros for its sound, this album isn’t for you, but really, it’s your loss.