Today’s Song: Christopher Paul Stelling’s “Dear Beast” is a Haunting Lullaby

Chrisopher Paul Stelling © Jenn Sweeney
Chrisopher Paul Stelling © Jenn Sweeney
Chrisopher Paul Stelling © Josh Wool
Chrisopher Paul Stelling © Josh Wool

With the release of his debut album, Songs of Praise and Scorn in 2012, Christopher Paul Stelling established himself as one of folk music’s best pure guitarists. Stelling’s intricate finger-picking style is impossible to overlook. It is perhaps the most prominent feature of his oeuvre. Equally stunning, however, is the way his wild arpeggios merge with his simple, emotionally charged lyrics. Over three years, Stelling has traveled throughout Europe and America, playing house concerts and small shows with his ’64 Gibson gut-string classical guitar, his initials carved into its body. Remarking on his heartfelt songs and persistent traveling, NBC New York once called him “a troubadour in the truest sense.”

Stelling’s newest release, Labor Against Waste (June 2015 via ANTI- Records) is an intensely personal, at times confessional, album. It is an album filled with the thoughts and feelings of a lone artist that has travelled to play hundreds of gigs in varied locales, from music venues to houses to street-corners, some crowded with screaming fans, some nearly empty. The opening line of “Scarecrow”, the album’s third track evokes the feelings of abandonment and uncertainty that might haunt anyone at the beginning of a journey:

we were lost and set adrift on a red clay unmarked road

Despite their melancholy moments, the songs of Labor Against Waste are unabashedly hopeful in their message. “Dear Beast” – recorded live in an abandoned Brooklyn warehouse – is perhaps the best example of a song in which somber reflection culminates with healing. According to Stelling himself, “Dear Beast” is “a song about lost faith renewed through a reversal of perspective…Mostly, its a lullaby.”

Listen: “Dear Beast” – Christopher Paul Stelling

Labor Against Waste
Christopher Paul Stelling

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Learn more about Christopher Paul Stelling online at

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