VII gives you no indication that it was created after 1975. Blitzen Trapper’s seventh full-length continues in the band’s tradition of offering listeners a timeless blend of folk, rock, roots, gospel, country, and everything in between. Songwriter Eric Earley picked up his first string instrument when he was 6, and about 30 years later, he’s still paying tribute to the songs his father taught him, from John Denver to Creedence Clearwater Revival.
Some are good old-fashioned, twangy fun, like album opener, “Feel the Chill,” which tells the tale of the old neighborhood haunted house that Earley and his friends were afraid to approach as kids. “Ever Loved Once” and “Don’t Be A Stranger” are folksy ballads that that slow the pace, reminiscing about love gone wrong. The former includes harmonies that would make CSNY proud.
Everything about VII is classic, from the stuck-in-a-desert feel of “Earth (Fever Called Love)” where you can all but feel the dried out sand crack beneath your feet, to the lively groove of the southern gospel of “Shine On.”“I’ve been running so long/I can’t recall what it means to stay,” croons Earley in “Thirsty Man.” The frontman is no stranger to running. He has spent chunks of his life without a real home, traveling from place to place. That wandering quality is evident on these songs, filled with tales inspired by his own wayward adventures. It makes it just that much more fun to join Blitzen Trapper’s journey on VII.