Country

Nashville Guitar Ace Guthrie Trapp Premieres 'Life After Dark' Album With All-Star Cast

Guthrie Trapp
Anthony Scarlati 

Guthrie Trapp

Guthrie Trapp wanted his new album, Life After Dark, to show even more of himself, and his music, than we've heard already. And that's saying something.

Trapp is one of Nashville's first-call guitarists, with credits that include Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, Vince Gill, George Jones, Alison Krauss, Dolly Parton, Lyle Lovett, Patty Loveless, John Oates and many more. His first album, 2016's Pick Peace, planted a stake in the ground for Guthrie as an artist in his own right, and with Life After Dark and its all-star cast of guests, he's trying to advance the story. 

"I like for music to be exciting and cliff-hanging," Guthrie tells Billboard. "For this record I wanted to go back and do some stuff I didn't do on the first record. I wanted to tap into some of my influences from when I was a kid. I didn't do any acoustic music on the first record, and I wanted to have some vocal guests on this record 'cause I didn't on the first one."

Guthrie's guest list on Life After Dark is certainly impressive, including Sam Bush, Jimmy Hall, the McCrary Sisters, Dave Matthews Band member Jeff Coffin, Stuart Duncan, Bekka Bramlett, Charlie Worsham, Danny Flowers and pedal steel virtuoso Paul Franklin. He also has Vince Gill on George Jones' "You're Still On My Mind" -- singing rather than playing. "He told me, 'You've got the guitar covered. I'm happy to sing on it,'" Trapp recalls. "It was an honor to have him on there, and to have Vince Gill tell you, 'Man, you're good on the guitar. You got it covered,' that's like, wow, y'know?" It was Gill, however, who suggested adding pedal steel to the song, which sent Trapp to Franklin.

Covering musical bases from traditional country to bluegrass, blues, rock, jazz and more, Life After Dark is evenly split between Guthrie originals and covers, including Don Gibson's "Oh Lonesome Me," sung by Worsham, and the blues staples "Got My Mojo Working" with Hall and a greasy "Nobody's Fault But Mine" with Bramlett and Flowers. But Trapp says the album's diversity came naturally and not by design. "My whole life has kind of been having an overall vision of what I want to do but not having a real plan for anything," Trapp explains. "I've let things evolve as they will. It's the same with this (album); I had some ideas that were fleshed out, some we fleshed out in the studio and that was it. I didn't go in and say, 'Oh, I want it to be like this or that...'"

Trapp recently came off the road from a tour with Oates' Good Road Band and continues to host Trapped Above Ground, a music variety show held every Wednesday at Acme Feed & Seed in Nashville and webcast on AcmeRadioLive.com. He also offers instruction via the online ArtistWorks program and with the Segue 61 school in Nashville. And he's starting to get ideas ready for his next album, which may shoot even wider than Life After Dark, including traditional Afro-Cuban styles he grew up playing in Florida and possibly even experimenting with hip-hop and EDM grooves.

"Trust me, I know these records are all over the place," acknowledges Trapp, who'd also like to work with "a real producer" on the project. "They're never gonna end up in the record bin at Walmart because nobody's going to know where to put it. But I also know I'm not in that lane where I have to have a record that's right down the pike. Maybe that'll happen later on in my life, but right now I'm pretty free to do what I want and play whatever feels good to me."