Singer-songwriter and musician Christopher Paul Stelling doesn’t need a backing band to convey power or intensity. There is a fearsome honesty to his music that matches the loudest electrified performances.
You can see it in his new video premiering at Acoustic Guitar magazine. The song “Dear Beast” is from his forthcoming album Labor Against Waste out on June 15th. Stelling stands in an abandoned Brooklyn warehouse he describes as a “church from the underworld” with just his worn guitar and a microphone. He performs live as a hand held camera gradually moves closer. The imagery conveys a fearlessness and unflinching sense of self, a command of craft earned from hundreds of solo performances to everything from raucous crowds to lonely bars.
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.”
Watch the video for “Dear Beast” care of Acoustic Guitar.
A young man living the life of an old-school troubadour, Stelling has spent the last years on the road playing over 400 shows in just the last three years - and he plans to keep going. On June 10th he begins a five week eight country tour of Europe, then comes home for the Newport Folk Festival before embarking on a US tour through Thanksgiving and beyond. The Huffington Post called Stelling’s sound "hauntingly powerful” and My Old Kentucky Blog wrote “fans of Tim Buckley and Ray LaMontagne will find Stelling a kindred spirit to both, with his magnetic intimacy and meticulously solemn reverence towards his craft.”
Beyond the artful songwriting and timeless voice, Stelling’s virtuosic guitar playing can leave one in awe. Wandering from place to place, he says he would practice for up to ten hours, 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 when you combine it all, the sound and stories, you end up with something both timeless and new. It’s a music that reflects a new generation, the art of the unsettled, the passionate, brave and still searching.
Christopher Paul StellingEuropean 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
15 June – Brussels (BE) – House Show
17 June – Madrid (ES) – Boite Live
18 June – Zaragoza (ES) – La Ley Seca
19 June – Bilbao (ES) – Kafe Antzokia
22 June – Tourcoing (FR) – House Show
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
08 July – Bologna (IT) - Botanique
09 July – Rome (IT) - Monk
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