I picked up Wild Mountain Nation in 2007 on a whim, and ended up enjoying it quite a bit. I thought Blitzen Trapper was a great mid-level underling band in the tropes of amazing acts hailing from the northwest. The most immediate reaction I had was that they sounded a bit like a more melodic-based Modest Mouse. With their Destroyer of the Void, Blitzen Trapper left Mouse behind entirely and became one of those bands I listen to a lot but never give enough credit to in conversation.
So let me tell you today, folks, that American Goldwing is a fantastic record that will take you back to the 70’s in an instant and fill your mind and heart with memories of the first time you heard those southern rock/country bands of the era. There’s way more going on with this album than anything the “Mississippi Queen” authors Mountain ever gave us, but I find it a apt comparison. There’s also quite a bit of Bowie, Dylan and The Band, and even a little Zeppelin.
That Zeppelin reference comes early in a little guitar riff on the opener, “You Might Find It Cheap.” It’s a bit “Hey Hey What Can I Do?” and a lot of fun. And if I had to pick one word to sum up this record, it would be fun. I’ve literally listened to American Goldwing six times already today. It’s just got that undefineable quality that makes me want to hit repeat as soon as it’s over. If Double Deuce from Road House were a real bar, this is the music they would play after Jeff Healey died.
Every song is a breath of fresh air, and they’re all quite wordy. It strikes me as odd, because a lot of these songs I could see just turning into jam sessions in a live setting, but here they’re expertly constructed and they all tell a good story. My favorite of these is “Astronaut.” Easily the most Elton John-ish of this collection, it’s got a great, catchy piano riff, and they lyrics are delivered perfectly by Eric Earley:
So if you’re gunna play your games with me
Better use some real chicery
Better get smart cuz that lock on your heart
It aint as heavy as it used to be
In the land without no gravity
In this windless place on the edge of space
Where the saints and the sinners have passed
With the dead satellites and the trash
In my spacesuit hopin that this woman would call me at last
Cuz I’m an astronaut on the shores of this grand illusion
And I’m fallin down at the sound of this beating heart
And that’s my favorite on an album with ten other songs that make that decision really hard. Other standouts are “Girl In A Coat,” “Love The Way You Walk Away,” and “Stranger In A Strange Land.” You can’t go wrong just hitting play on a random song, though. There’s something for everyone on American Goldwing, and I hope you pick it up at your earliest convenience.