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American Goldwing, A Highway Companion

Courtney Eckerle | Thursday, September 22, 2011


Roll down the windows of your classic American muscle car and prepare to cruise down the open road of Americana folk that is Portland, Ore.-based band Blitzen Trapper’s latest venture “American Goldwing.” Blitzen Trapper’s croaking crooner, frontman and singer-songwriter Eric Earley has been compared to the unparalleled Bob Dylan since the beginning of the band’s career, with his reclusive nature, throaty tone and storytelling abilities and it is no more obvious than in “American Goldwing.”

With its Southern, rambling rusted 1970s good ole American rock ‘n’ roll, it’s a love letter to the open road or a starry night bonfire. It’s straightforward nostalgia for the good old days of Southern rock that makes you think of the word “jams” – those intense, rolling Skynyrd guitar solos with pedal to the metal, engine revving, ripped blue jean wearing jams.  

“Might Find It Cheap” is a song right out of Daddy’s eight-track collection, and is one hell of a ride for the album’s intro. The hero of “Fletcher” is introduced with the lyrics “Old Fletcher in the car drinkin’ whiskey from a jar through his teeth” and keeps going with “Old Fletcher’s been drinking with a pistol and he’s itchin’ to play,” showing the storytelling ability of Earley more than any other track. He also croons “Oh Mama” as often as possible, which is probably the best indicator of an awesome rock song. 

“Love the Way You Walk Away” is a last call at a dinky, hole in the wall dive bar kind of of song – slower with a mournfully enchanting harmonica riff that is full of regret and too much booze. “My Home Town” also takes advantage of the magic in a well-placed harmonica, has a fun momentum building up throughout and will make any far from home college student want to head on back to their roots. “Girl in a Coat” shows the band’s quirkier folksier side and lifts the “girl” to the status of the mysterious women of great ‘60s and ‘70s love songs, specifically reminiscent of Dylan’s “Tangled Up in Blue.”

“American Goldwing” consists of the nostalgic swirls of banjo, harmonica and guitar that the American listener has been craving since its golden age. It’s a feel good, blood rush free fall of guitar chords that will keep on going for decades. Straight forward, no bells and whistles and good old southern rock, Eric Earley described it perfectly to “The Owl Mag,” calling it “[music] that makes you want to get loaded and get in a fight or find a girl and fall in love forever,