The trick to the irresistibly organic, pure pop sound is that the music, and even the lead singer, take a back seat to the real star: the songs. As the principal songwriter and singer for nationally acclaimed
alt-rock trio The Push Stars, Chris Trapper is equally sure-footed in his solo career. When on hiatus from The Push Stars, Chris writes, records and tours in support of his solo CD's.
"Trapper sounds like the 21st-century young popster he is." The Washington Post
"Chris Trapper plays unassuming pop rock with a touch of Big Star soul..." The Chicago Reader
His words and music can best be described as an interesting blend of 1950's pop, 1990's rock and old-timey jazz with the ever-present under story of Chris'; distinctive barite nor. It's intricate power-pop with a compelling knack for telling everyday stories.
For Trapper, it all traces back to those first, halting, joyful songs, when he found another language in music--a deeper language - that connected him to others in a way more profound than ordinary conversation.
"Especially when I was a kid, but it's still true--I'm kind of desperate to get thoughts out in a complete way. Songs do that for me, so I know how much they can mean. It's important to me to be inclusive, rather than perceived as intellectual or clever or so creative that people don't get it. I really want to reach people and do it in a way that makes them feel part of what I'm trying to say. Because, like I said, I know how much songs can mean."
His ability to craft songs that are both elegant and accessible is evident on each collection. His organic understanding of classic pop melody is infectious. There is a smart, honest quality to the lyrics that never panders.
"Trapper's songs don't need any Stratocaster bluster to get under your skin." The Boston Herald
Trapper writes songs that at first listen are greeted as old, familiar friends. His musical stories are accessible but never trivial, smart but never snobbish, honest but never pandering. He writes about real folks coping with real lives--people whose far-flung People Magazine dreams never pan out--laced with a properly jaded sense of humor and the essential survival tool of not taking yourself too seriously.
"Chris Trapper would be the first guy to tell you he's always been unhip, even sort of square, when it comes to rock 'n' roll attitude." The Boston Globe
Trapper's talent as a singer and storyteller stems from what some might call an eclectic apprenticeship. A native of Buffalo, New York, by grade 9 Chris had found his voice, and his older brother's guitar.
"I'm a stutterer," he says, "and I used to get picked on a lot in school. One day, after I'd been called on to answer a question and just couldn't spit it out at all, and the whole class was laughing at me, I went home and picked up my brother's guitar and started writing this kind of whiny song about how everyone picked on me. It wasn't a very good song, but I'd found this incredible outlet to express how I felt. So that's how it began, just a couple of chords and a bad day."
High school was something to be endured but the time spent in a barbershop quartet would prove to be musically invaluable. As a college student Trapper's passion was his first band, 'Awake and Dreaming'. They quickly became a Fredonia phenomenon. Once introduced to the life of a singer and performer, opportunities conspired and Chris found his way from the embrace of campus-fame to the anonymity of life in a big city. Trapper's songwriting flourished within the boundless energy of Boston's lush musical community. His unique style and original voice had found a home. It wasn't long before Trapper discovered his musical soul-mates and in February of 1996, with bassist Dan McLoughlin and drummer Ryan MacMillan, formed the alt-rock trio The Push Stars.
"The Push Stars create some of the most vivacious guitar pop on the current scene... a band that writes and plays honest-to-goodness memorable
hooks. The Patriot Ledger
Trapper recalls: "There were about seven people at the first-ever Push Stars concert at the Middle East Bakery in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The stage was so small that we had to adjust our “rock moves" in order to let people get by to use the restrooms. We got paid about fifty dollars, some falafel and a few Pabst Blue Ribbons. It was terrific."
After building a strong following in Boston and self-releasing their 1997 debut CD "Meet Me at the Fair", The Push Stars found themselves in a major label bidding war and quickly signed a two-album deal with Capitol Records. The 1999 sophomore CD "After the Party" gave Chris and the band a national audience, prompted the New York Times to call them "classic pop perfection" and yielded the tongue-in-cheek radio hit "Drunk Is Better Than Dead".
The year 2000 got off to an auspicious start with the sudden departure of their mentor and A&R guy Gary Gersh (Sonic Youth, Nirvana, Counting Crows). The band was about to become a major-label ghost. Anxious to maintain momentum The Push Stars parted ways with Capitol Records and returned to the world of indie musician. They released their third -- and most popular -- CD "Opening Time" during the spring of 2001. Trapper's indie work ethic was evident and the touring was relentless. Push Stars fans were devoted, loyal, growing exponentially and most importantly, organically. "Opening Time" is secure in its place as the band's most
"Opening Time is not only the Push Stars' best collection of songs to date, but it's also their sonic zenith…there's no denying the sheer depth of talent and beauty contained on these twelve tracks." CMJ Music Magazine
The Greg Collins- (No Doubt, Matchbox Twenty, Jewel) produced CD "Paint
The Town" was released early 2004 on indie-workhorse 33rd Street Records. Rob Thomas of Matchbox Twenty took notice, met with Chris and the band and subsequently invited The Push Stars to join Matchbox Twenty on tour. The Push Stars embraced the opportunity and successfully won over thousands of stadium fans across North America.
"The Push Stars are that rare type of band that somehow touches you and moves you and leaves you changed. There are no gimmicks. There is no marketing scheme. These are the caliber of people who genuinely feel and play from the heart. It is no surprise that devoted fans had come from far and wide to see them." AltRockWorld.com
Trapper's solo projects are effortlessly woven within the scheme and schedule of The Push Stars work. The solo CD's exist as a natural byproduct -- unique in their conception and execution. They belong as part of The Push Stars repertoire and the fans make the transition with ease.
Trapper's first solo effort (released 2002 on the artists' own Starlit Records) "Songs from the Drive-In" displays his talent for making radio-friendly music that treads the line between Top 40 rock and grassroots folk. Beneath the sunny melodic surface, there is a darker side to the songwriting. The result is a much more personal-sounding collection of songs - a throwback to his days as a lone folkie on the Boston scene.
Trapper spins small-town tales of death, joy, and remembrance in stripped-down, mostly acoustic arrangements that put the focus on his formidable storytelling talents. As in true folk music, the charm is in the details." Boston Phoenix
His second solo release serves up 11 new songs with Dixieland flavor. "Gone Again" (released 2005) combines Chris's signature vocals with a New Orleans inspired jazz backdrop provided by Boston's celebrated Wolverine Jazz Band. "Gone Again" serves to introduce wise and experienced grad-jazz musicians to today's younger pop music buyers. For many years, throughout Boston and southern New England, the Wolverine Jazz Band has been entertaining devotees of traditional and Dixieland jazz. Their musical contribution to Chris Trapper's "Gone Again" is remarkable and instantly memorable. The CD was recorded "live" without computer technology and is infinitely better for it. Chris happily asserts: "The music breathes, and has a pulse."
Chris Trapper's new disc Gone Again came to me as a welcome treat this past week, featuring as it does the New Orleans-esque stylings of the Wolverine Jazz Band. Trapper's pop leanings, which are so boldly in the forefront in his usual outfit, the Push-Stars, are here couched in the sensitive and swinging accompaniment of banjo, tuba, clarinet, trumpet and trombone. A lot of front men who choose to go native in the trad jazz world hew to covers, but Trapper admirably sticks to his original guns here by composing all the tracks. Opener "All Time Favorite" is a standout, draping a sad-sack tale of infidelity in velvety curtains and clever wordplay like, "You're out busy planning your escape/ and I'm a superhero with no cape." It's a sharp contrast to the woe-is-me vibe that pervades a lot of indie-rock nowadays (a lot of which I like), and
a good reminder that the point of a lot of early jazz and blues wasn't wallowing in misery, but dancing your sorrows away." Pulse of the Twin Cities
The current CD "Hey, You" (released Fall 2006) is Trapper's first alt-rock solo effort and features guest performances by The Push Stars, Great Big Sea, afro-cuban band Sonando, Martin Sexton, Matt Beck (Matchbox Twenty) and Duke Levine (Mary Chapin Carpenter). Inspired by his ever-growing collection of on-the-road mix tapes (Chris is fairly old school, he likes a good mix tape just as much as he likes his iPod) the words and music on "Hey, You" are an interesting blend of pop, rock, celtic and latin music.
"For the past 10 years, Chris Trapper has been valiantly leading Boston's criminally underrated Push Stars, the alt rockers who perfected power pop on 1999's After the Party. In the years since, the band has continued to churn out records and Trapper has vacillated between fronting a remarkable rock band and putting in time as an equally remarkable solo artist. On Hey You the songs are still rooted in a satisfying pop foundation, but Trapper tends to gamble more on experimentation bringing in steel guitars, accordions,
whistles and horns. The result is just as strong as anything Trapper has turned in before and likely to impress anyone who has ever owned a Cheap Trick or Big Star
record." InSite Atlanta
Always mindful of his role as part of the Boston music and arts scene, the idea of tapping into the spirit of musical community for this project was appealing. Recorded during the summer of 2006, Chris chose to enlist the help of some close friends to add to the texture and sound. Guest performers include Great Big Sea, Martin Sexton, The Push Stars, Matt Beck of Matchbox Twenty and New York City based afro-cuban jazz band Sonando.
"...those experiences area a driving force for his songwriting work ethic (both solo and with his band), and they also helped shape the themes of working-class isolation and rising above adversity on his latest album, "Hey, You". Press and Sun Bulletin
"[he] plays the role of a hopeless loser to perfection on his latest release "Hey, You." ... The beauty in the misery, however, is Trapper's ability to tell the stories with humor and melody." Charleston Post and Courier
Trapper has a prolific and impressive ability to pen songs. His library of completed works is vast enough to attract the attention of music supervisors. Notable song placements in recent years include: The Devil Wears Prada, Me, Myself & Irene, Origin of the Species, Gun Shy, There’s Something About Mary, Say It Isn’t So, ER, All My Children, Brutally Normal and Malcolm In The Middle.
Additionally, Trapper wrote and performed the theme song for the CW dramedy "Pepper Dennis" and appears in an early episode -- as the singer/songwriter that he is -- alongside the shows star Rebecca Romjin. He recently filmed a cameo for the upcoming Warner Bros. Pictures drama "August Rush" starring Robin Williams and Jonathan Rhys Meyers. In the film, and on the soundtrack, Meyer’s character performs Trapper’s original song ‘This Time.’ “August Rush” is on schedule for a Fall 2007 US theatrical release.
"Chris Trapper looks like he could be a male crooner... With his slicked back red-brown hair, blue eyes and lean torso, you could easily imagine this former barbershop-quartet singer sporting a snappy suit and crooning into a big old Sinatraesque microphone." Jazz Times Magazine
The Detroit Tigers, Major League Baseball's 2006 American League Champions, used the opening track from "Hey, You" - "Feelings Without Weight" - as the backdrop music for their season finale show which aired nationally on Fox Sports Net.
Chris Trapper's solo/acoustic version of his song "Minnesota" is included on a recently released compilation CD to benefit the Minnesota Zoo. Other artists on the CD include Martin Sexton, Jerry Jeff Walker, Los Lobos, and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. Music In The Zoo – Volume Two: Please Don't Feed The Musicians is the Second Annual Music in the Zoo CD.
"the kind of pop songs you aren't ashamed to let your friends hear playing on the stereo." CNN
Performing Songwriter DIY Top 12 Picks for 2006 include Chris Trapper's second solo CD "Gone Again" in their showcase of independent songwriters, stating: "Trapper leaves the Push Stars'; pop-rock stylings behind to explore a jazzier sound on Gone Again. Backed by Boston's Wolverine Jazz Band, Trapper sings of week-long trips on tourist ships and girls crazy for Frank Sinatra. The record exudes a comfy lounge feel with expert arrangement incorporating tubas, guitars and lap steel."
Chris Trapper continues to tour both regionally and nationally and has shared the stage with such illustrious contemporaries as Rob Thomas, Martin Sexton, Great Big Sea, Guster, Jess Klein and most recently, 80's pop-icon Graham Parker. Trapper's list of awards and accomplishments is equally impressive including several prestigious SOCAN writing awards and certified gold and platinum for his work with Canadian celtic-rock band "Great Big Sea".
"Trapper the solo artist is an equally thoughtful troubadour who addresses the weightier side of life. That's no more evident than on last year's Hey, You, a solid collection of songs about hard-luck loners and sad-eyed romantics." St. Louis Riverfront Times
"We're so smitten by Chris Trapper's songwriting, honestly, this disc has melted onto the transport system of my trusty Magnagvox CD machine... this is great music, the kind of music picky holdouts like you and me so righteously deserve." Gavin Radio Report
The complete discography is available for sale on the official artist website, at all shows or by visiting CDBaby.com or Amazon.com.