Deschutes River Recordings: Blitzen Trapper’s Eric Earley

Posted on: October 5th 2012

This week we released the second episode of Deschutes River Recordings, featuring Blitzen Trapper’s Eric Earley. Eric performed “Up on Cripple Creek” right along the Metolius River, a tributary of the Deschutes, located not far from our home base in Bend, Oregon.

Eric, a native Oregonian and Portland resident, has always had close ties to the river. Tucked away in Oregon’s southeast corner is the Donner und Blitzen River, the inspiration for his band’s name. German soldiers crossed the remote river during a thunderstorm and aptly named it Donner und Blitzen (thunder and lightning). Before his success, Eric bounced around different rehearsal spaces, staying with friends, and was, as he describes, “basically homeless.” Often, he found himself wandering along the banks of the Willamette River in Portland, which inspired the story for “Black River Killer” off the album Furr. The catchy ballad recounts a murderer’s journey from the Sunset Strip up to Oregon. In another song off the band’s latest album American Goldwing, Eric croons, “I’m weary from this river, it flows far, but never nearer to my home,” challenging the notion of the river as place of respite.

We’re so appreciative of Eric’s strong connection to the river, his incredible talent, and his willingness to collaborate with us. Eric not only sings and strums his guitar as he performs “Up on Cripple Creek,” but also plays the harmonica, keyboard, and lap steel. Overall, we were quite impressed. Not to mention, Philip Graham of Ear Trumpet Labs provided the one-of-a-kind microphone used in the video. This beauty was handcrafted in Portland with recycled lamp parts and provides incredible sound quality.

Blitzen Trapper is finishing up their tour with The Head and the Heart tonight in Los Angeles and then heads out to play with singer Brandi Carlile. Check out more dates here. And after the tour? They’re headed back to the studio to record another full-length album. We can’t wait.