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JPR Live Session: Blitzen Trapper - Friday, September 25th at Noon

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On Friday, September 25th at Noon, JPR will broadcast a JPR Live Session (from afar) with Blitzen Trapper on Open Air.

Over the course of 20 years and ten full-length albums, the Portland, Oregon band, with singer-songwriter and guitarist Eric Earley firmly at the helm, has crafted a singular catalog of songs—sometimes wrapped in impressionistic imagery and scruffy, singalong melodies (the fan favorite “Furr," for example), and other times rendered in sharp-focus, needlepoint detail and imbued with driving, electrified rhythms (like “Cadillac Road,” about a depressed and deserted mill town in the Oregon mountains where Earley’s father once worked)— that celebrate the human experience in all its triumph and tragedy.

As for how each new album comes into focus, well, that’s more a matter of immediate inspiration than some long-conceived plan. “The records are a chronicle of my own journey, to be honest—snapshots of where I am at that time,” Earley says. “I don’t know that that’s any way to have a career, but for me it’s a cathartic way of documenting where my head’s at.

Earley says of their latest album Holy Smokes Future Jokes: “The main theme that kept drawing me in when I was writing was what I call ‘cosmic humility’... It’s the idea that humanity is not the center of the universe, or even the center of our own universe here on earth. We’re not the most important thing. Because we’ve only been around for, like, a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a second in the grand scheme of things, you know? But it’s very difficult for humans to conceive of their own non-existence.” He continues, “As I was writing these songs and trying to understand my own actions, it got me thinking about what I initially loved about playing guitar when I was five and six years old—and that was just sitting and finger-picking on an acoustic... So I started to go back to all these different ways and means of playing that I liked doing when I was a little kid. And that seemed to fit with the music, because it was a darker, more intimate kind of thing I was doing with these songs.

Listen Friday, September 25th at Noon for a JPR Live Session (from afar) with Blitzen Trapper on JPR's Rhythm & News Service. To listen online, click the orange 'Play' button at the top of the page and select "Rhythm & News." Or grab the JPR Live Sessions podcast at Spotify, Stitcher, or Apple Podcasts.