I’ll say this for Blitzen Trapper–they haven’t settled into some sort of mid-career rut. No, the band’s recent days have seen them putting together a full-on stage production, debuted in their Portland, OR hometown earlier this year. And you can make cracks about the fact that of course it’s a band from the setting of Portlandia who are the ones to do something like this, or how go figure that a band with major Springsteen influences have finally done what Bruce’s critics always accused him of, i.e. turning rock n’ roll into a Broadway show, but the songs that are part of Wild N’ Reckless are enough to hush up any such wisecracks in a big hurry. The seven-song rock opera joins with five more songs on the band’s new album of the same name, and its title track has a real Desire-era Dylan fed through, yes, 70s Springsteen sound, but I can’t imagine why anyone would complain about that.
Make no mistake, these songs have a real darkness at their heart. Blitzen Trapper is older and wiser now, finding themselves looking back at their younger days and wondering if they can somehow recapture the energy of those days and feel truly alive again without reliving the mistakes they made back then. It’s kind of an alt-country Beach Slang move, if anything, and fans of groups from The Band to the Drive-By Truckers should find something to enjoy here, both musically and lyrically. And you know, it’s always a great to catch a band at the moment of their big statement, so if you were ever gonna go see Blitzen Trapper, you couldn’t do better than going this Saturday night. You’re sure to feel some feels.