The moods within and among songs aren't always so dark. Common themes in Trapper's
lyrics run the not-so-original gamut of 10 Commandments-centered moral
conundrums, mostly played out in stories that involve drinking whiskey
and/or breaking up with/fatally shooting a lover ... usually on some
railroad tracks. Still, I'm a sucker for a good story, and when the
lights turned low and Earley took to the stage solo with his guitar and
harmonica, I caught myself rapt in his yarns with the rest of
Two of Earley's solo ballads had my ears especially perked: "The
Man Who Would Speak True," from the album Destroyer of the Void,
which follows the disturbing tale of a down-and-out guy pulled out of
his own personal hell by a sweet gal named Grace, who he then proceeds to
shoot and kill with a stolen gun when he was drunk one night. D'oh.
Then he turns himself in. D'oh, again. To find out what happens next,
you're just going to have to listen to the song.
"Woman on the Water," from Furr, is a little more
metaphor-laden poetry stuff and less straightforward storytelling,
but has a strikingly pretty melody.
group of talented musicians that have been together for years.
In fact, they've been playing together for nearly a decade. That's why
it's a bit surprising that their sound also lacks a certain consistency
in tone -- although I'd characterize most songs Trapper played last
night as folk-rock, some edged more toward dark alt-country, while
others verged on pop. The intra-organization of Trapper's songs can be
just as confusing, containing the kinds of harmony, melody, and rhythm
changes that only a band like Queen can really get away with. (Although
Earley also has the kind of voice that actually may well deserve a
Freddie Mercury comparison.)
Which brings me back to Earley and his natural habitat onstage. One of the best parts about seeing Trapper live was learning that beneath the shaggy haircut and occasionally melodramatic
lyrics is a guy who just plain loves to rock out. And who really needs anything more from a frontman in a rock band?