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The Key Presents: American Trappist

American Trappist | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | jeremy-zim.com

It was always about coming home. For Joe Michelini, American Trappist is the natural extension of the scenic route into the self.

When we travelled to Asbury Park together last month, the native New Jersey son was clearly in his element, pointing out landmarks to the both personal and professional. As we’re cleaning up after filming in Asbury’s historic Convention Center Hall, Joe looks wildly around and points up into the stands. “That was my seat. I saw my first concert in this room.”

From The Boss to Trappe, the Convention Hall has played home to countless musicians down through the years. And even as the town that Joe fell in love with as a child has begun to change tangibly and more immaterially, it still remains a sort of sanctuary for the road-worn Michelini. River City Extension died here. American Trappist was born here. The road ends, begins, goes on, comes back. That’s what getting even means.

This is The Key Presents: American Trappist.
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PREMIERE: American Trappist evokes sunny so-Cal, collabs with Hemming on new retro ballad “Soot”

American Trappist | photo by Brian L. Tice, Jr. | courtesy of artist

After River City Extension disbanded a couple years back, Joe Michelini started creating tunes under the name of American Trappist. With his self-titled debut last year, Michelini took listeners on a bluesy, folky, gritty sonic journey trekking from suburbia to crossing dusty Western plains and atmospheric desert landscapes.

Now, with a new track in hand, American Trappist seems to be continuing his westward U.S. excursion with a stop in sunny so-Cal. Although the song is titled “Soot,” its sound differs drastically from the smudgy darkness that the name suggests — instead, it jams along to a beat of retro garage rock goodness.

In addition to breezy guitar riffs, this shift in sound is aided by the grandiose, earnest vocals of the 60’s-esque duet between Michelini and Hemming’s Candice Martell. Continue reading →

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Who the heck is playing the first National Park festival at Bourbon and Branch?

american trappist
American Trappist | photo by Brian L. Tice Jr.

“A lot of music, on a smaller scale.” That’s the idea behind the National Park mini-festival, which brings six bands to the stage at Bourbon and Branch next Saturday.

Coordinators of this event recognize the indifference experienced by many concertgoers when forced to sit through long sets of bands they don’t know in addition to long changeover times while waiting for the act that they came to see. National Park intends to remedy this in a way that encourages listeners to pay attention to new acts in hopes that they’ll discover more local music.

National Park will be headlined by blues rock hybrid artist Joe Michelini (formerly of River City Extension), also known as American Trappist and the 60’s psych rock influenced Madalean Gauze. Continue reading →

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Roots, Rock, Redepmtion: A review of American Trappist’s self-titled debut

american trappist
American Trappist | photo by Brian L. Tice Jr.

American Trappist’s self-titled debut had me saying “Johnny Cash” over and over again in my head for the duration of my time listening. The LP, consisting of thirteen tracks, takes listeners on a journey of self acceptance, personal discovery, and many of the other ups and downs that accompany the transition into young adulthood. Continue reading →

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American Trappist cruises around town in “Nothing Short of Faithful”

american trappist
American Trappist | photo by Brian L. Tice Jr.

Stepping into a new role as American Trappist, New Jersey singer/songwriter Joe Michelini (of River City Extension) premiered a video for a song called “Nothing Short of Faithful” via American Songwriter earlier this week. The track comes from American Trappist’s new On the River Toms EP, the second in a three-part EP series that will combine to make the project’s first full-length release.

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