With over a decade of experience and five other albums under their belt, Blitzen Trapper proved their worth long before creating new album American Goldwing. This of course means that they also have a reputation to uphold, particularly after failing (so far) to revisit the acclaim of their 2008 release Furr with either of the two subsequent releases. Let’s just say the bar remains set, but it’s not exactly raised.
American Goldwing packs a bit more of a punch than a lot of their previous work; a dose more guitar and fewer pretty vocals make it feel more country-rock than the folk-country they used to champion. The country aspect is still well represented though, with generous presence from the trusty harmonica and lap slide guitar.
The title track especially is a good old-fashioned ditty: “Oh my sister’s playin’ in a rock ‘n’ roll band” is about as classic a country lament as any. They do wander to the edges of the genre in a few places, though. The soothing ‘Love The Way You Walk Away’ is gently pock-marked by a background banjo, then is followed by a full-on party mode in the rockier ‘Your Crying Eyes’, which may even have a touch of Slade about it (but don’t tell BT we said that).
This is no life-changer of a record, but it is a good, solid example of folk-based country music that sounds like a CD you found in your Dad’s collection from the seventies. By which we mean it’s good enough to be respected for decades, it just might get forgotten for a bit in the middle.
Words: Ashleigh Arnott