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Blitzen Trapper stands on its own

Sinclair Cambridge, Cambridge, Mass., October 13, 2015

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

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Blitzen Trapper is a band that wears its references well.

When it came to the vocals of Eric Earley, thoughts of Bob Dylan weren't too far away, and that's not the recent Dylan either. The connection as probably never more apparent than on the lead-off encore song of "The Man Who Would Speak True," where Earley was on acoustic guitar and harp.

As for the music, echoes of The Band crept into the sonics a good amount of the time ("Astronaut").

Those cornerstones serve the band well. Blitzen Trapper came off even more of a country/roots sounding entity ("Across the River") than they did on their just released "All Across This Land." The Portland, Ore. quintet offered a good amount of the new disc.

Earley, who writes the songs, which often had an acoustic underpinning, was the focal point and a good one at that as he exuded an appropriate amount of confidence. It also helped that he had a few band members, who were about equally adept.

Blonde-haired Erik Menteer was often understated on guitar, but when needed, he provided the requisite fills. Marty Marquis was behind the keyboards, while also offering backing vocals. Sometimes, Blitzen Trapper went for multi-part harmonies, further fleshing out the sound as they did on encore cover of Townes Van Zandt's "If I Needed You."

The launching points of Dylan and The Band may be there, but Blitzen Trapper is not handcuffed by them either. The group got on the funky and soulful side on "Shine On."

The end of the show found them rocking out far more, albeit with a sense of purpose. That included turning in a good cover of The Beatles' "You Never Give Me Your Money."

Reference points can only account for so much because, ultimately a band must stand on their own. Blitzen Trapper had no problems doing that in spades.