Club Red, Telluride Conf. Center: Blitzen Trapper

Club Red, Telluride Conf. Center: Blitzen Trapper

This is a story about seeds and the good and great things they germinate.

Eric Earley knows all about seeds. Seeds were the central conceit of an Op Ed piece he penned for the New York Times.

Earley grew up in the Oregon hills and mountains, where giant Douglas firs “just grew to the heavens” from itty bitty seeds, becoming “big, surly, and strange” – adjectives that also describe Earley’s uber hip band, Blitzen Trapper.

Blitzen Trapper

Blitzen Trapper

Earley claims that as a boy just old enough to pick up a banjo, he searched out “These seeds, where every song starts…”

“Something small and out of the way. These seeds can be tragic or crazy or terribly mundane but they are necessary to find your way in a world full of nonsense. A tree grows from something small and inconceivable. A seed grows into a song in like fashion. For instance, here’s a seed:

“The Mexican migrant worker who built a tattoo gun from machine scraps stolen from the factory where we both worked out off highway 22 and marked himself with intricate designs of Looney Tunes characters — Taz, Tweety Bird and the crew — all over his chest. He offered to put Wiley Coyote on my arm, said his girl had it on her neck. So I say, Why’d she let you do that? Cause she love me, he says. She love you? She told me once she loved me so much she’d blow a hole in my chest if I ever loved another. This flagrant little seed grew up into a tune called “Neck Tatts, Cadillacs.”

“Neck Tatts, Cadillacs,” a tale about a woman with crooked teeth and a neck tattoo, is one of the featured tracks on VII, the latest release from Blitzen Trapper, an experimental country/folk group that formed at the dawn of the new millennium in Portland, Oregon, that quirky city “with no rules and no desire to have them” (the New York Times) –  just like the band itself.

Expect funk-folk, even rap, or, per Earley, a “hillbilly gangster” booty-shaking vibe, from Blitzen Trapper when they perform, fittingly enough, on Friday, March 7, on the virgin stage of the brand new Club Red at the Telluride Conference Center in Mountain Village. The show marks the start of the group’s tour to promote VII. Doors are at 8 p.m.; curtain up at 8:30 p.m. This event is supported by the Telluride Conference Center, Telski, the Inn at Lost Creek, and The Peaks. Denise Mongan’s “Beyond The Groove” is producing.

“Throughout the 12 songs, Earley’s warped country-boy witticisms float over ghostly harmonicas, DJ scratches, and funky keys — a subtle shift from their previous records,” wrote Rolling Stone.

According to Earley, two of the biggest influences on VII were “Wu-Tang and Waylon Jennings.”

New York hip hop meets American country in Portlandia.

About Blitzen Trapper:

Blitzen Trapper’s music went through various genres with each record, bouncing from indie folk to art rock to experimental folk before settling into a rich, dusty brand of Neil Young-inspired alt-country.

When the band formed in 2000, Earley led a lineup of native Pacific Northwesterners that also included Erik Menteer (guitar, keyboard), Brian Adrian Koch (drums, vocals), Michael Van Pelt (bass), Drew Laughery (keyboard), and Marty Marquis (keyboard, vocals).

The sextet played around town endlessly to skeleton crowds and gave away lots of garage recordings on CDR for years. Then came the Blitzen Trapper record in 2003, and Field Rexx in 2005. But it wasn’t until 2007’s self-released Wild Mountain Nation made a big splash that they finally hit the road, setting the stage for Furr’s release the following year. Powered by its title track and by the G-funk-inflected “Black River Killer,” the record became an unlikely hit and the group suddenly found itself on network television and in glossy magazines and astride colossal festival stages. So they released more music, toured the Western world incessantly, got to work with the likes of Wilco, Stephen Malkmus, Guided By Voices and Belle & Sebastian, and slowly became the band they’d always dreamed they would be.

Blitzen_Trapper_VII-hi_resVII is the seventh record from Blitzen Trapper and their first release for Vagrant Records. Its twelve tracks feature vivid tales of longing, flight, desperation, and redemption, all set in a sonic landscape at once familiar, but also strange and new, just like a dream. Without a doubt the culmination of all the group’s best work, VII sounds a lot like America.

Tickets available locally at Wizard Framing and Entertainment and online at Show is all ages and tickets are $22.

To learn more about Earley and Blitzen Trapper, click the “play” button and listen to our chat.

About Club Red:

Sleek and sultry, with a capacity of 450, a large performance stage, red ambient lighting throughout the room, and seating areas for a more private experience, Club Red is expected to become the choice music venue of the Telluride region. And Club Red twins with Denise Mongan. The place is the brainchild of the music producer (massage therapist and homeopathic healer) and a close friend.

Tony Kalyk of the Telluride Conference Center, Denise, Robert Stenhammer, Telski

Tony Kalyk of the Telluride Conference Center, Denise, Robert Stenhammer, Telski

Born and raised in Ireland, Mongan embodies the signature attribute of strong Celtic women. From pagan times, Irish legend has been filled with ladies whose feet were planted firmly on the ground, but who were also non-conforming and enlightened enough to believe in magic.

The seeds of Club Red were planted in 1999, when Mongan really began to hone her ear with great success:

“The two bands I picked out as the sounds of 2013 were indeed #1 and #2 on the BBC sounds of 2013: Kodaline and Haim! I just seem to have an instinct for what new music will do well and am a passionate listener. I tune into European radio, which is always cutting edge. I have enjoyed scouting talent and producing shows for many years and now have my own production company, Beyond the Groove. Last year I produced three shows at the Moon saloon: Sea Wolf, the Cave singers and Toubab Krewe. I will produce many more.”

The music Mongan tends to listen to – and scout – does not include the usual suspects around these parts:

 “No jam grass, no jam rock, nothing of that ilk, much more progressive. Much of it is European, mostly British, Australian, and new American. Not all new, Blitzen Trapper has been making music for over decade, but they are still considered indie. Beyond The Groove is my avenue to produce bands I enjoy, bands I seek out, and do my darndest to secure before they are main stream and beyond the budget. I hope to produce many more shows at Club Red throughout the year, featuring high-quality sounds in a classy, comfortable venue the likes of which did not exist in Telluride – until now.”

Please go to to like, support, promote.

Questions? Denise Mongan. She can be reached by phone at (970) 729-2279 and by email at

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