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Folk/Americana - Released February 7, 2020 | Anti - Epitaph

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Folk/Americana - Released October 16, 2019 | Anti - Epitaph

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Folk/Americana - Released January 9, 2020 | Anti - Epitaph

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Folk/Americana - Released May 5, 2017 | Anti - Epitaph

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Christopher Paul Stelling's fourth long-player, Itinerant Arias, follows a period of relentless touring on behalf of his 2015 release, Labor Against Waste. It took the singer/songwriter/guitarist to 40-some U.S. states and over a dozen countries in the span of a year-and-a-half. The follow-up is informed by both the travel and some of the sociopolitical turmoil he witnessed during that time both at home and abroad. It's fitting inspiration for a folk-spirited guitar shredder, and Itinerant Arias does put the focus on message and song over showmanship. It's also his first album to feature a steady backing band (bass, drums, and violin), resulting in a slight broadening of the spotlight. While established fans may miss the more virtuosic acoustic picking of prior albums, there's no lack of fire and flair here, as songs like "The Cost of Doing Business" and "Stranger Blues" let loose on subjects like exhaustion, troublemakers, and the Devil. On the latter tune, Stelling wails, unrestrained, against unknown forces that may or may not really be out to get him. More measured but still intense, "Sleep Baby Sleep" takes on the plight of refugees encountered first-hand in his travels ("Trapped behind razor wire/Gathered 'round bare fires/'Cause their skin ain't the same shade as mine/And it still makes me weep"). Later, "Badguys" calls out those who have been plotting "To kill off decency/Pay off the referee/And turn us once and all against our fellow man," lamenting that "darkness has taken over again." He delivers the rant in a half-spoken patter over repeated gritty electric guitar riffs that build up to an instrumental jam replete with horns. Stripping down to acoustic guitar and strings, the album closes on the more reflective and philosophical "A Tempest." It determines that the future is wide open, "Each new journey informing the next/But there's always surprises and beautiful distractions along the way." With songs steeped in protest and folklore by a performer with such an urgent presence, Itinerant Arias is a captivating listen, one with a well-earned chip on its shoulder. ~ Marcy Donelson
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Folk/Americana - Released May 5, 2017 | Anti - Epitaph

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Folk/Americana - Released June 12, 2015 | Anti - Epitaph

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The sophomore long-player and Anti debut from Brooklyn-based, Florida-bred singer/songwriter Christopher Paul Stelling, Labor Against Waste draws from a wide spectrum of American roots music, from backwoods gospel and blues to bucolic folk and road trip-ready country. A dazzling finger-picker to boot, Stelling cites influences such as John Fahey, Van Morrison, Mississippi John Hurt, Waylon Jennings, Bob Dylan, Roscoe Holcomb, and Skip James, but there's a real Van Morrison/Damien Rice vibe at work here as well, especially on some of the album's less ardent cuts like "Scarecrow" and "Too Far North." Stelling sings and writes with the conviction and sincerity of a road-tested troubadour, and he's at his best and most fevered when the pace goes from a trot to a full-on gallop. There's a nervy energy that runs through the album that belies its more or less spartan arrangements and string band setup. Despite keeping the proceedings completely acoustic, Stelling manages to achieve rock-level decibels on stand-out cuts like the bustling "Hard Work," the rowdy, Led Zeppelin III-inspired "Horse," and the spirited opener "Warm Enemy," the latter of which features enough six-string fireworks to, at the very least, earn the still young virtuoso a temporary seat at the table with the likes of Fahey and company. ~ James Christopher Monger
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Folk/Americana - Released June 16, 2015 | Anti - Epitaph

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Folk/Americana - Released September 4, 2019 | Anti - Epitaph

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Folk/Americana - Released February 5, 2020 | Anti - Epitaph

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Folk/Americana - Released February 5, 2020 | Anti - Epitaph

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Folk/Americana - Released December 16, 2016 | Anti - Epitaph

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Folk/Americana - Released May 5, 2017 | Anti - Epitaph

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Folk/Americana - Released June 12, 2015 | Anti - Epitaph

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