Itinerant Arias

Christopher Paul Stelling strikes a perfect balance of solo singer/songwriter intimacy and more raucous full-band Americana. The songs on Itinerant Arias feel like broken-in leather, maybe due to the fact that Stelling’s been touring the country consistently, having played more than 400 shows in the last few years alone. Steady groovers with Stelling at the center are built on swirling finger-picked licks under his gravel-torn howl, a tone sometimes similar to Marcus Mumford. “The Cost of Doing Business” features a sing-along rowdy chorus and ear-candy horn hooks; or “Oh, River” showcases intermittent big swells and driving strings between swaying waltz verses. The album’s softer moments are just as charming—“Red Door” or the closer “A Tempest” feels a little more up-close, but never loses momentum. Well-worn, and well-done.