“A man and his beat-up, nylon stringed guitar brought tears to the eyes. He’s stellar.” – Bob Boilen, NPR All Songs Considered
“A one-man musical outfit that recalls the intensity of The Tallest Man on Earth and labelmate Glen Hansard.” – Village Voice
“The way this man delivers his songs, it’s not hard to imagine him actually ‘tap-dancing down the edge of this here knife,’ as he sings at one point from within a small tornado of acoustic guitar…” – SPIN
There is a fearless quality to the music of Christopher Paul Stelling. A voice that sounds both old and young, an effortless yet intricate finger-picking guitar style and lyrics that are both dramatic, and intensely confessional. It’s a sound that channels the restless spirit of a young man who left home to travel the country, haunting and impassioned songs formed by endless nights alone on stage with a guitar, playing to packed houses, other times to nearly empty rooms. Stelling estimates that he’s played over four hundred shows in just the past three years. It places him within a longstanding tradition that serves to nurture ones character and art.
“It takes a lot of work to stay on the road,” he says. “You learn to rely on your songs as a sort of resting place amidst all of the unfamiliarity. You fill your head full of places, and sounds, and ideas — and it all comes spilling out. When the things around you change constantly, you change too. And the things that stay the same become who you are. It’s nurtured my songwriting, knowing that the inspiration is all around you. If you aren’t seeing it, then look harder, and if you still don’t see it, then turn the corner, and if you still don’t see it then look at things differently, because it’s right there in front of you.”
After self-releasing his debut album Songs of Praise and Scorn in February 2012 and his second, False Cities, in May 2013, CPS has toured the US and Europe relentlessly, averaging over 150 live performances per year. Singing his songs with a pure uninhibited delivery, Stelling has become known for the intensity and passion put into his live performances. Owing as much to the bards and troubadours of times long since past as to his contemporaries, Stelling’s ever developing commitment to his craft is obvious.
His most recent album Labor Against Waste was released in June 2015 on ANTI Records to near unanimous praise and excellent reviews. Upon release of the record, he played nearly 40 European dates and then embarked on a mammoth 200+ date North American tour (which kicked off with a performance [and marriage proposal on stage!] at Newport Folk Fest) that took him to nearly every state in the lower 48, lasted close to 18 months, and included an extended tour opening for Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals.
2017 finds him hard at work finalizing a new album (with a potential May release date) and gearing up to hit the road again with multiple festival dates, short US tours, and a large European fall tour already planned. Catch him when he’s in your area. You’ll be glad you did.
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