A singer, songwriter, and virtuoso fingerpicker, Christopher Paul Stelling crafts timeless-sounding acoustic confections that draw from all corners of the American roots music spectrum. Stelling earned critical accolades for his 2012 debut long-player, Songs of Praise and Scorn, with critics citing both his technical acumen and soulful songwriting, which is steeped in blues, country, and folk. While his third album, 2017’s Itinerant Arias, engaged both folklore and protest folk, his fifth full-length, the Ben Harper-produced Best of Luck (2020), adopted a more hopeful, reflective character.
A native of Daytona Beach, Florida, Stelling was raised on a healthy diet of John Fahey, Mississippi John Hurt, Bob Dylan, Roscoe Holcomb, and Skip James, to name a few. He recorded his first album, 2012’s Songs of Praise and Scorn, in a 200-year-old Kentucky funeral parlor. 2013’s False Cities was accompanied by his first European tour, and by the time his third studio album, Labor Against Haste, arrived on Anti- in 2015, he had played over 400 shows in the U.S. and abroad in a three-year period, calling places like Seattle, Brooklyn, and Asheville, North Carolina home.
Continuing a pattern of relentless touring and regular album releases, he followed it with Itinerant Arias in 2017. His first LP to feature a backing band, it was inspired by the sociopolitical tensions he witnessed while at home and abroad.
After receiving an offer from one-time tour mate Ben Harper to produce his next album (Stelling had never worked with a producer before), the perennial drifter decided to stay put for the first time in years. He took a residency at the Stetson Kennedy house outside of Jacksonville, Florida, near where he grew up, and worked on writing his fifth full-length. Recorded in Los Angeles with Harper, upright bassist Mike Valerio (Neil Young, Randy Newman), and drummer Jimmy Paxson (Stevie Nicks, Andra Day), the resulting Best of Luck arrived on Anti- in early 2020. In the meantime, Stelling resettled in Asheville and toured in support of Son Little before embarking on a lengthy headlining tour.