Blitzen Trapper on Universal Traveling | Q&A

photo courtesy of Blitzen Trapper

Blitzen Trapper's sixth studio album, American Goldwing, gets its name from the Honda Goldwing, a motorcycle introduced in 1975. The album, filled with Americana anthems, stands as a tribute to the open road.

But even with lines like, "It's true, I'm only just passing through," it's hard to believe the Portland-based band, which has been together for more than a decade, will be leaving music any time soon. One thing's for sure: The band will bring their alt-country vibe to the Bourbon Theatre tonight with Sydney Wayser opening at 8 p.m.

Hear Nebraska caught up with lead singer Eric Earley as the band was traveling through Wyoming.

Hear Nebraska: Your music's been described as Americana, classic rock, folk, country, just to name a few. How do you feel about all of that? 

Eric Earley: It really depends on the song you are listening to. If I had to call it something, it'd be guitar rock. It's always weird to see other people label it.

HN: You mean in reviews?

EE: Yeah. I don't really read a lot of reviews, but they all have something different to say.

HN: Your first album, the self-titled Blitzen Trapper, came out almost one decade ago. What's changed since then?

EE: We've changed. 

HN: As people?

EE: Yeah. And with that, touring, the way you tour, the ability to tour, all that changes. The way we record has changed, and the way I play live. With all of that, the music's evolved.

HN: Most of your songs are stories. Where do they come from? Are they personal?

EE: Most of them come from my own experience, but they aren't always meant to be taken literally.

HN: American Goldwing has a definite traveling vibe to it. Is there an allure to writing and making music about traveling?

EE: Absolutely. Some of it comes from touring. But everyone travels, whether it's for going away to college or going on vacation. People move away from the bad. And when you think about it, there's not a lot of time between us and the people that lived here before us. Those people were traveling constantly.

HN: Travel themes are universal.

EE: Yeah. I think it's just one of those things everyone understands. Because we all move, we have to move.

Katie Fennelly is a Hear Nebraska intern. She once wrote a less than favorable review of American Goldwing and feels kind of bad about it. Reach her at