Over the course of nearly-15 years, Portland, Oregon-based folk-rockers Blitzen Trapper have crafted a unique sound—a fusion of different genres. And while they continue riding the wave of their latest album release Wild and Reckless, the group plans to tap further into their creative resources and experiment with a different live performance format, as well as to set aside time to reflect on their last eight studio albums.
Frontman Eric Earley admits that when the band jumped into theater workshops to prepare for their album’s first theatrical production, he was somewhat intimidated. “I had all these stories that I wanted to tell,” the singer-songwriter says. “So we started working with directors, lighting, designers, and all this cool stuff. It was all new to me, but it was fun.” The band took a chance to test out their new project early in 2017 at the show’s first performance in Portland, something that Earley admits was emotionally challenging. “At first I was second-guessing the stories but the directors really liked that people would be engaged, rather than just being at another show,” he says.
While writing Wild and Reckless, Earley felt especially nostalgic about both his own personal life and the history of Blitzen Trapper. It’s because of this, he says, that the band’s 2008 album Furr can be seen as the companion album to Wild and Reckless, in that its narrative follows a dystopian era making its way through America. “When I made Furr, it was right when Obama got elected. This record was being made around 2016 when Trump was elected. There’s a similar thing going on in, but in a different direction,” he says of the country’s political atmosphere. “These two records show the change in government, I think.”
Earley also says that the new album takes in a gamut of stories, delivering snapshots across America. His storytelling skills truly never falter on the hypnotic lead single “Rebel” that describes the dark challenges of reaching for the American dream. “I want my lyrics to have some kind of impact and to make people see things in a different way, I guess,” Earley humbly admits. “I want them to have an experience,” he adds.
With their newly announced 2018 tour dates, fans of Blitzen Trapper can experience Wild and Reckless all across North America with support from Lilly Hiatt. Watch the newest video from Blitzen Trapper for their song “Joanna” below.