American Goldwing

"Guess I left the world behind," Eric Earley sings on the sixth Blitzen Trapper record. No doubt: The Portlandians play Nineties Americana rock like Wilco if they'd never upended the genre on Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. It's a simplistic but intoxicating roots fantasy - full of Dylan mysticism, spidery acoustic Dead jamming, tasty 1970s rock moves and evocations of high-plains drifters with itchy trigger fingers drinking from jam jars. Earley has Jeff Tweedy's bed-headed wonderment, and every steel guitar filament or harmonica blast is perfectly placed; modern references are so rare that when they roll out a funk tinged tune called "Astronaut," it's almost unnerving-like someone whipping out an iPhone in a Western.

Listen to "American Goldwing":

Related:
Breaking Artist: Blitzen Trapper
Photos: Bonaroo 2010

From The Archives Issue 1139: September 15, 2011