musings from boston

screams, whispers and songs from planet earth

Tag: Christopher Paul Stelling

Checking In with C.P. Stelling

photo by Jenn Sweeney

photo by Jenn Sweeney

For regular readers of musings from boston, this soulful troubadour should need no introduction. Christopher Paul Stelling is an old friend, and he’s up to some stuff this year. His new album, Labor Against Waste (a fine bit of advice, by the way) is due out on June 16th on Anti-. He’ll be performing on CBS This Morning (yes, that’s network television) on Saturday, June 13th. He was featured in Rolling Stone and on NPR, he’s currently on a major tour across Europe, and on July 26, he’ll be playing at this small gathering called the Newport Folk Festival. In other words, he’s doing OK. And this should come as no surprise, if you’re at all familiar with Stelling’s compelling songwriting, jaw-dropping acoustic finger-picking guitar chops and ‘venerable old soul’ vocals.

A few entrancing videos of songs from the upcoming album have been released recently. Here’s one called “Warm Enemy.”

A recent press release from Anti- describes the inspiration behind “Dear Beast,” another offering from the new album. “The song offers a moving examination of personal faith lost and then redefined. As Stelling explains, ‘It’s about turning the mirror back on itself. It’s about excepting our flaws completely, and moving on from there with them in our full embrace. It’s about taking responsibility and caring for the beast that lives in all of us and for the metaphysical beasts that we’ve created because of our inherent need to feel watched over and protected… Mostly it’s a lullaby.'”

And because there was no way to decide between the three of them as they’re all simply breathtaking, here’s “Hard Work” (though C.P. makes it all look so easy). If you think all this is impressive, you should see him do it live. This humble picker and folk singer is one of the warmest, most engaging performers I’ve ever seen. After returning from Europe, he’ll be performing around New England (starting with Newport), though sadly I don’t yet see a Boston date. For details, see the tour schedule on his official site.

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Christopher Paul Stelling ~ from False Cities to small towns

Christopher Paul Stelling

Christopher Paul Stelling

Tyler Lyle

Tyler Lyle


So this is how it goes when I’m trying to get something up quickly before the entire day goes by. I’ve been previously astonished by Christopher Paul Stelling in these pages, and he’s just released False Cities, which is once again a heart-stopper of an album, filled to the brim with ageless, timeless desperation, passion and hell-fire fury. I don’t have the time to do this justice, but for now — it’s an earth-shattering cry for salvation with furious fiddling and finger-picking and a voice conjuring all spirits from their not-so-final resting places for one last desperate dance.

Breathtaking music, Beer and BBQ ~ The Brew Session welcomes Christopher Paul Stelling and Tyler Lyle (Jessica’s apartment) – ::: tickets :::

What’s the rush? It’s to let everyone know about CP’s tour, currently in progress and touching down in Boston on Saturday, June 15, for one very cool and crazy intimate event at “Jessica’s apartment” (which I believe actually is some woman named Jessica’s apartment). It’s called The Brew Session, and it’s one part ridiculously fine music and another part beer & BBQ party. This sounds like something that would appeal to most Bostonians, so it would probably be wise to get your tickets quickly. The evening also features, direct from Santa Monica, singer-songwriter Tyler Lyle. I’m just listening to him now for the first time, but he sounds pretty great as well. He has a new EP out called Expatriates. Have a listen below. This is something you won’t want to miss.

Upcoming Shows

Christopher Paul Stelling
Jun 06 – The Living Room, New York, NY
Jun 11 – Cafe Nine, New Haven, CT
Jun 15 – Jessica’s Apartment, Boston, MA (Brew Session)
Jun 17 – Divan Orange, Montreal, QC
Jul 12- Bunbury Music Festival, Cincinnati, OH,br />
Jul 17 – The Shitty Barn, Spring Green, WI
Jul 20 – Ace Bar, Chicago, IL
Jul 23 – Rumba Café, Columbus, OH

Tyler Lyle
Jun 08 – Hotel Cafe, Los Angeles, CA
Jun 14 – The Living Room, New York, NY
Jun 15 – Jessica’s Apartment, Boston, MA (Brew Session)

Christopher Paul Stelling: web | facebook | bandcamp
Tyler Lyle: web | facebook | bandcamp

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Seeing Out The Year That Was: My 12 Favorite Shows of 2012

A last minute addition: The Magnetic Fields at Symphony Hall for First Night (last night)

A last minute addition: The Magnetic Fields at Symphony Hall for First Night (last night)

It’s a good thing I held off posting this, because I’ve just made it an even dozen in honor of the year that just flew by, 2012. The last one? A band I had the immense pleasure of seeing for the first time, on First Night just last night at the majestic Symphony Hall. [Why do they call it “First Night”? Shouldn’t it be “Last Night”?]

I saw a total of 24 shows this year. Not a whole lot for a music blogger, but I’ll tell you—nearly all of them were spectacular. That’s damn good odds. I’ve heard some people say that 2012 was an awful year. What I’ll say, from my personal perspective, is this: 2012 was a year of massive challenges and difficulties, but the rewards, if you were prepared to step up, and I mean step up in a major way, were equally impressive. It was most definitely not a year for lightweights. But it’s all moving forward, and it’s moving forward quickly. Hold on to something sturdy, because I have a feeling 2013 is going to be just as intense. Remember, with challenge comes opportunity. Happy New Year, everyone.

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Christopher Paul Stelling begins his East Coast/Midwest tour

C.P. Stelling and his partner-in-crime, Julia Christgau (photo by Clarence K. Photography)

C.P. Stelling and his partner-in-crime, Julia Christgau (photo by Clarence K. Photography)

You’re unlikely to find a more ‘timeless old soul’ singer-songwriter, nor a more mind-numbing acoustic guitar picker than Mr. Christopher Paul Stelling. He melted my brain back some months ago at Precinct, and he’s in town again to begin a month-long tour on the East Coast and around the Midwest. His debut album, Songs of Praise and Scorn only hints at the unbridled intensity of his live performances. Tomorrow night he’ll be at Lizard Lounge, opening up for the lovely cello/guitar duo and gentle harmonies of Tall Heights. They’re in the midst of a month-long Tuesday night residency at Lizard Lounge, with the grand finale and their EP Release Party for The Running of the Bulls on 9/25.


Upcoming Shows
9/10- Providence, RI- House show
9/11- Cambridge , MA- The Lizard Lounge w/Tall Heights
9/12- New Haven, CT- BAR
9/14- Utica, NY- Utica Music Fest
9/15- Saratoga Springs, NY- Cafe Lenna
9/17- Portsmouth, NH- The Red Door
9/22- Rochester, NY- The Bug Jar
9/23- Erie, PA- The Crooked I

Plus shows in Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Virginia, DC and Pennsylvania. See site for full details.

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Music for the Soul: An Evening with Christopher Paul Stelling and Julia Christgau (at Precinct in Somerville)

CPStelling_Julia_Precincta
CPStelling03_Precinct


It’s a testament to this fine performer that eleven days after Christopher Paul Stelling’s mid-evening set at Precinct, I still have a vivid memory of it. I’d written about him a few times here, marveling at his lightening-fast finger picking style and impossibly warm and soulful vocals, but wasn’t able to get out to see him the last time he was in town (also at Precinct).

CP’s music and his live performance has this religious fervor that’s both deeply moving and overpowering. It’s in his eyes – wide and piercing, as if remembering some especially vivid night horror. I was instantly drawn in and fascinated by this solitary figure standing on a piece of plywood, stamping out a beat with his boots, fingers flying fluidly across his beat-up acoustic guitar, and vocals compelling like a hellfire-and-brimstone revivalist but without the preaching and damnation.

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Christopher Paul Stelling at Precinct Bar Friday night (as part of Hear Now Live Presents’ stellar line-up)

photo by Clarence K. Photography

photo by Clarence K. Photography

Hear Now Live Presents: Dead Cats Dead Rats, Shoney Lamar & The Equal Rights, Division Tree, Subpar Co-star, and Christopher Paul Stelling (from Brooklyn) with
Friday, April 20
Precinct Bar, Union Square, Somerville
21+ | 7pm

Hear Now Live will be presenting a big 5-band bill Friday night at Precinct with a few Boston notables – Dead Cats Dead Rats and Shoney Lamar & The Equal Rights – and two other Boston-area bands. But the one I’m really here to talk about is Brooklyn-based Christopher Paul Stelling. His debut album, Songs of Praise & Scorn (Mecca Lecca Recording Co), was released back in February, and it’s quite wonderful.


I’ve written about Mr. Stelling’s very impressive acoustic finger-picked guitar; smooth, soulful and occasionally hellfire-explosive southern gospel vocals; and personal storytelling a few times now on ‘musings.’ The album is stunning, with minimal accompaniment in the form of gorgeous gypsy violin courtesy of Cheyenne Marie Mize and additional vocals from Julia Christgau. Last time he was also at Precinct, and I see now with Shoney Lamar as well, and for some reason I wasn’t able to get there. I’ll do my best not to make the same mistake twice. I’ve heard his live performances are quite powerful and compelling. Have a listen below, and put this on your calendar (get there early, as it seems he’s on first).

Christopher Paul Stelling: blog | bandcamp | facebook | twitter
Dead Cats Dead Rats: facebook | bandcamp
Shoney Lamar & The Equal Rights: facebook | bandcamp
Division Tree: facebook
Subpar Co-Star: bandcamp | reverbnation

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It’s About Time

Has it really been two weeks since I’ve posted anything? Sorry about that. Coming up soon in musings from boston, a few ‘shows of note’ coming up next weekend (Org: Intoxication @ Oberon, Christopher Paul Stelling @ Precinct), and profiles of bands that caught my ear over the past several weeks. Stay tuned. For now, check out coverage from Night #5 of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Rumble preliminaries over at Ryan’s Smashing Life. More about the ensuing battles will be turning up there in the coming days, and don’t forget the finale at T.T.’s with Bow Thayer and Perfect Trainwreck, Garvey J (and the Secret Pockets of Hope and Resistance) and ?? (wildcard, tbd) on Friday!

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Christopher Paul Stelling at Precinct Friday July 15th

Hear Now Live Presents: Big East, Shoney Lamar & The Equal Rights, Bitch Trifecta, Christopher Paul Stelling, Jennifer Greer @ Precinct – Friday, July 15.

I first mentioned Christopher Paul Stelling last November, when I was totally knocked-out by his incredible acoustic guitar picking and soulful Southern Gothic vocals. With mournful tales and hellfire fury, he summons ghosts and saints, heaven and hell, loss and hope. Later this summer, he’ll be in Louisville at Funeral Home Studios, recording his debut album, Songs Of Praise &amp Scorn (Mecca Lecca), assisted by Kevin Ratterman (Wax Fang). But for now, he’s playing a few shows and introducing new songs.


On his decision to record in Louisville’s first working funeral home, he says “I find the recording process to be a lot like embalming, a preservation if you will…so, I figured an actual 100 year old funeral home was a perfect place to record.”

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Band Roundup!

White Sea, Wax Fang, Darwin Deez, Glass Vaults, Mutual Benefit, and Christopher Paul Stelling (photograph by Clarence K. Photography)

White Sea, Wax Fang, Darwin Deez, Glass Vaults, Mutual Benefit, and Christopher Paul Stelling (photograph by Clarence K. Photography)

High time for another band roundup. We have the latest project from Morgan Kibbyh of M83, White Sea, whom I heard were fantastic at (the club formerly known as) Spaceland in Los Angeles Saturday night. Hope they come to Boston soon. There’s an amazing guitarist/singer-songwriter by the name of Christopher Paul Stelling, some dreamy New Zealand soundscapes from Glass Vaults, and prepared piano à la John Cage from Düsseldorf-based Hauschka. Prog rock and psychedelia from Louisville’s Wax Fang, the quirky pop of the oddly-named Mutual Benefit, and bizarre (but rather sweet) showman Darwin Deez. And oh yes, while we’re on the subject of strange band names, Boston’s own WhiteShoeBrownShoe.

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