Christopher Paul Stelling Debuts Video At NPR

Christopher Paul Stelling Debuts Video At NPR



Video Premieres Today Care of NPR’s First Watch

Anti- Debut Album Labor Against Waste Arrives June 15th

Photo Credits: Jenn Sweeney

Christopher Paul Stelling stands alone in his cramped kitchen, armed with just his guitar, a microphone, and his gravel-road voice. He begins to play, his own manic fingerpicking style, the lazy drawl of John Fahey amped up on truck-driver speed, and then to sing: “I know my work is never done; till I can see the good in every one.” The song is titled, appropriately, “Hard Work,” and it comes from Stelling’s highly anticipated Anti- debut album Labor Against Waste, arriving June 15th. Watch the video care of NPR.

Christopher Paul Stelling works hard. An old-school traveler on the folk circuit, he has played over 400 shows in the last 3 years (and just keeps going – June 6th he starts a 5 week 9 country tour of Europe, then straight home for the Newport Folk Festival and a US tour through Thanksgiving and beyond). So if he delivers his brand of folk with a ferocity not often seen in the genre, his labors must be understood in light of that refrain, “I know my work is never done; till I can see the good in every one.” It’s a vision of redemption through work that is profoundly American, as old as the transcendentalists, as modern as songwriters like David Byrne and Warren Zevon. “It’s somewhat of a secular prayer,” says Stelling. “It’s a song about the strength it takes to love each other, no matter what the cost. It’s a song about who I’d like to be someday and who I’ve been.”

Even his videos work hard; rather than lip-syncing to a standard album track, Stelling has insisted with each new video from Labor Against Waste on recording a live performance (assisted on “Hard Work” by photographer Josh Wool), following in the tradition of American artists like Bruce Springsteen and John Mellencamp who have leaned on the authenticity that live performance brings to a video. And it’s a fitting setting for a song about performance, about burning muscles and the deliverance that fire may bring.
Watching Stelling play guitar can leave you breathless. Starting out, he would get home from his bookstore day job and play guitar for ten hours, eventually perfecting a melodic finger-picking style influenced by blues legends such as Skip James and Mississippi John Hurt, masters like John Fahey, and banjo greats Dock Boggs and Roscoe Holcomb. But in his thrusting voice, his fierce eyes, there is a hungry American tradition of road and roadhouse, of Waylon and Waits and the young Dylan turning up his collar on the side of a Minnesota highway.  This is what it means to be Christopher Paul Stelling; this is what it means to work hard.

Christopher Paul Stelling European dates:
10 June – Amsterdam (NL) – Paradiso Noord, Tolhuistuin
11 June – Middelburg (NL) – Het Hof
12 June – Asten (NL) – In de Gloria
13 June – Utrecht (NL) – Molenerf de Ster (icw Ekko)
14 June – Oostende (BE) – De Zwerver
18 June – Zaragoza (ES) – La Ley Seca
19 June – Bilbao (ES) – Kafe Antzokia
23 June – Notthingham (UK) – Guitar Bar
24 June – Cardiff (UK) – The Moon Club
25 June – London (UK) – The Garage (upstairs)
26 June – Duisburg (DE) – Grammatikoff
28 June – Witten (DE) – Knuts
29 June – Cologne (DE) – Stereo Wonderland
30 June – Essen (DE) – Banditen Wie Wir
01 July – Leipzig (DE) – Waermehalle Sued
02 July – Jablonec nad Nisou (CZ) – Eurocentrum
03 July – Hamburg (DE) – Brooks
04 July – Berlin (DE) – Prachtwerk
05 July – Munich (DE) – Backstage (outdoor)
07 July – Milan (IT) – Unaltrofestival
13 July – Winterthur (CH) – Andres Backyard
14 July – Basel (CH) – Hinterhof
15 July – Zurich (CH) – Bar Rossi
16 July – Treichli (CH) – Unterwiehnacht
17 July – Pontresina (CH) – Sporthotel Lounge Bar
18 July – Zurich (CH) – Fork & Bottle
19 July – Lucerne (CH) – Blueballs Festival

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Christopher Paul Stelling Debuts Video At NPR