.

Breaking Artist: Blitzen Trapper

August 8, 2007 6:39 PM ET

Who: Six nature-loving mountain men from Portland, Oregon, who play roots folk with a contemporary twist.

Sounds Like: Sunbaked lyrics about mountains and rivers merged with ramshackle guitar grooves and cheap keyboards.

Three Things You Should Know:
1. The band got their big break when the Hold Steady asked Blitzen to open for them in May.
2. Music runs in frontman Eric Earley's family. His grandfather was a traveling harmonica virtuoso from the Ozarks. "Family reunions were all about banjos and bluegrass," Earley recalls.
3. Earley recorded most of the band's third record, Wild Mountain Nation, himself in a makeshift studio that used to be a telegraph station using vintage Casios, an old piano and a four-track recorder.

Get It: They're always available on their official Web page.

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Song Stories

“Vans”

The Pack | 2006

Berkeley, California rappers the Pack made their footwear choice clear in 2006 with the song "Vans." The track caught the attention of Too $hort, who signed them to his imprint. MTV refused to play the video for the song, though, claiming it was essentially a commercial for the product. Rapper Lil' B disagreed. "I didn’t know nobody [at] Vans," he said. "I was just a rapper who wore Vans." Even without MTV's support, Lil' B recognized the impact of the track. "God blessed me with such a revolutionary song… People around my age know who really started a lot of the dressing people are into now."

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