Christopher Paul Stelling
My favourite moments in this job are those when I’m introduced to a previously unheard of (to me) artist who just blows me away.
After over 13 years I still get a huge buzz when an agent contacts me about an act, I have a listen and I know that the CD is going to join the likes of Drew Holcomb & The Neighbours and The Mulligan Brothers in that rotation of played to death on the CD player. The latest in a long line of music that I probably never would have come across if not for the job but I now love is Brooklyn-based Christopher Paul Stelling, whose new album, Itinerant Arias, is one of the gems of 2017.
It’s packed with darkly beautiful and powerful songs. The name describes it perfectly - the experiences gained from over 400 shows in the last three years, distilled into one haunting and impassioned masterpiece. The standout track for me is recently released single Destitute. It’s on Youtube - give it a listen. It’s a sublime combination of effortless yet intricate finger-picking guitar, a voice that sounds both young and old and lyrics that are dramatic, perceptive and intensely confessional.
I hadn’t heard of Christopher Paul Stelling until about six weeks ago but Itinerant Arias is his fourth album, following up on the success of Songs Of Praise and Scorn (2012), 2013’s False Cities and 2015’s Labor Against Waste – an impressive catalogue of honesty, talent and beauty. It’s on the Anti label – another good sign. Anti are one of the independent American record labels whose taste in music is generally beyond reproach.
I’m really looking forward to his upcoming Balor gig where he’ll line up as a three-piece with Stelling on guitar and vocals joined by a bassist and violin player. You may not be familiar with the music of Christopher Paul Stelling but I guarantee you that after this gig you won’t forget him.
Christopher Paul Stelling plays The Balor, Ballybofey on Monday September 25th at 8pm. Tickets are €15 available from The Balor Box Office on 0749131840 or online at www.balorartscentre.com