Christopher Paul Stelling
It was like a fever dream. Every day counting blessings for safe passage. Out there on the road with his battered guitar, playing 260 shows in just the last year and half, across 46 states and 14 countries, acclaimed troubadour Christopher Paul Stelling says he could see it all out there unfolding on the horizon.
Amidst the euphoria of playing in bars, cafes, theaters, festivals, under bridges and in living rooms, were late night conversations with friends, new and old, about the undercurrents of tension and change in their countries and concerns about what was happening back in his own. He witnessed immigrant riots, saw the fires burning. Back in places like New York or Los Angeles it was harder to see, he says,But go the a Walmart in Oklahoma and tell me this wasnt coming.
And so Stelling wrote songs about it all. Darkly beautiful and powerful songs which became the album Itinerant Arias which was released May 2017. Months ago, these songs seemed cynical, even paranoid. After all, everything was going to be fine.
I wrote this album about something that hadnt happened yet, and now its happened, he says. I played the songs for people and they said, Thats not whats going to happen. And I would tell them, it really is. Im not patting myself on the back about it. But I had been out their traveling the world, seeing it building. When driving by refuge camps and seeing people behind barbed wire fences it breaks you.
Of the album title, Itinerant Arias, Stelling explains, these songs have in common no single origin, or sense of place. like found objects, overheard stories, lost melodies.... with no real home, but from a single voice.
Stelling has been on the move for years now. Left home early to roam and search. Periods spend in Colorado, Boston, Seattle, New York City and North Carolina, all interspersed with further destinations to play his songs. His debut record Songs of Praise And Scorn was recorded at a functioning Kentucky funeral home. American Songwriter heard it and proclaimed, this what a real self-contained, modern-day troubadour looks and sounds like. Stellings 2015 Anti debut was called Labor Against Waste. Big Takeover called him a punk rock Leadbelly a dynamo while NPR Music wrote, He's a great finger picker, a strong songwriter, listen to his words - you'll love what you hear.
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Atwood's Tavern (View)
877 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02141
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