Blitzen Trapper: American Goldwing

Rootsy country rock delivered with panache.

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The last time we found ourselves in Portland, Oregon, it seemed pretty heavy on coffee shops and boho eateries, and somewhat short on sawdust-strewn whisky bars and panoramic prairies. Yet it’s this hidden underbelly that Portland’s Blitzen Trapper mine for their bright, classy take on country rock, giving The Band, Creedence and the Eagles a spritely modern spruce.

While the winding blues rock of Street Fighting Son sounds dated compared to anything by the White Stripes, and Girl In A Coat is brazen Dylan drudgery, Blitzen really shine when tackling vivacious bar-room country on Might Find It Cheap and My Home Town, the drug-running C&W saunter Fletcher and the glam stomp of Your Crying Eyes.

It’s here, and in the more Supertrampish title track, that the band tease out warm yet credible atmospheres of redneck romance and canyoneering cheer, like a musical Coen brothers adding grit and gloss to a sepia genre.