The following interview transcript has been edited for clarity and brevity.
KEVIN PUSEY/KHOL: Eric, you grew up in Oregon and based a lot of your songs on life growing up in Oregon. Can you tell me a little bit about the songs “Cadillac Road” and/or “My Hometown?” What inspired you to write songs about growing up?
ERIC EARLEY: Oh, you know, I think it’s always wise for someone who’s writing anything to just write about what they know–the stories that they are familiar with, places, people. That’s kind of always been what I’ve tried to do successfully and unsuccessfully, probably. That’s always kind of been my starting point. “Cadillac Road” is about an old timber town that went ghost town, sort of a story about folks living there. And then “My Hometown” is really just about Salem, where I grew up. I would say [it’s] a sort of surrealistic rendering of that town [and] growing up there.
KHOL: So, tell us about this new album. What makes it different than your last albums? Is there anything that inspired you or this album, “Holy Smokes Future Jokes?”
EARLEY: The backdrop for this record is my obsession with “The Tibetan Book of the Dead,” also known as the “Bardo Thodol.” I got into it from George Saunders’ book called “Lincoln in the Bardo,” which everyone should read. It will change your perspective on life and death, I think. So, yeah, I really knew “The Tibetan Book of the Dead” is a narrative of afterlife reincarnation, which has always attracted me.
Listen above for KHOL’s full conversation with Blitzen Trapper.
This coverage is funded in part with an Arts For All grant provided by the Town of Jackson and Teton County.