Restless Soul: Christopher Paul Stelling at Rockwood Music Hall

Posted on: July 30th, 2021 at 5:07 am by

Photo: Everynight Charley Crespo

Christopher Paul Stelling lived in New York City for a few years. He inhabits a restless soul, however.

Originally from Daytona Beach, Florida, the artist has lived in Colorado, Washington, Massachusetts, and currently resides in Asheville, North Carolina. He spends a lot of time on the road, too, except that last year he had no choice but to cancel a west coast tour and settle down. He took the time to recluse and develop new songs. His sixth album, Forgiving It All, will become available on September 24.

Stelling performs best as a solo artist, singing, playing guitar, and foot-stomping on an electronic pad that gives him a bass drum beat. Only for a couple of songs at Rockwood Music Hall last week (July 23), he sat behind a real bass drum and high-hat cymbal and played them with his feet while playing guitar with his hands, occasionally crashing a cymbal with the head of his guitar. Everything he did on that stage was all him — the lyrics, the passionate vocals, the fascinating guitar style, and those crashes felt like a cathartic release of some inner tensions.

The restless soul may be a basic part of the human condition, but it has served this troubadour well. Many of the songs in Stelling’s set reflected a longing for something possibly within reach but not yet attained. His soulful singing seemed to associate a degree of pain within the journey. While these sentiments seemed personal, they also resonated as more because, universally, life is not always a blast. His vocal delivery was muscular and masculine, yet vulnerable.

Perhaps the most special aspect of Stelling’s performance was that he played his acoustic guitars by finger-picking through most songs rather than implementing the far more common flat pick strumming technique. His finger-picking skills went a long way in adding color to his songs. He did strum sometimes, though, when he opted to ratchet the intensity of his songs.

Stelling began performing at Rockwood Music Hall 13 years ago. Since moving out of New York, he has not played locally as often as in past times, when he would wind up as a last-minute support act at City Winery, for instance. Hopefully, the forthcoming release of his album will gain public interest that will bring him back this way again.

Photo: Everynight Charley Crespo

Recent Stories

Revisit Martha Diamond’s ‘Urbanist Art’ and Life on the Bowery Since 1969

In case you missed Martha Diamond’s show at Magenta Plains on Allen Street back in January, the career-spanning exhibit at the Lower East Side gallery is now online. For a limited time, visitors to independent.org online viewing room will gain access to not just the past exhibit, but also an overview of Diamond’s career. There’s a […]

The Shameful State of Sara D. Roosevelt Park [OP-ED]

The following editorial was written by longtime Lower East Sider and lifelong New Yorker Arthur Karpati. When I moved to the Lower East Side in 1999, I did so because of the dynamic nature of the neighborhood. Long one of the city’s great cultural crossroads—from Chinatown to Little Italy to Loisaida—it has also, in recent […]

Uncapped: The Making of The Unauthorized Biography of Ree 2

Boogie Fam! It sure has been a while. Have you checked out the Bowery Boogie Uncapped (BBU) Podcast? Launched during the pandemic, we are now three seasons deep and chock full of interviews with graffiti pioneers, street artists, Boogie affiliates and most recently, a song debut. You know that country we emancipated from in 1776? […]

Teenager Attacked by Panhandler Asking for Dollar in East Broadway Station

The East Broadway subway station bolsters its reputation as haven of crime this week with reports that a teenager was attacked by an aggressive panhandler. According to police, at 8:15am last Sunday (September 12), an unknown man approached a 16-year-old boy asking for a dollar. When the teenager refused, the suspect followed, and muttered racist […]

Woman Threatens Customers with Stool at King Dumplings on Hester Street

Wednesday evening, a woman was spotted harassing customers at King Dumplings on Hester Street. Our tipster says that the belligerent demanded $10 from the group, and when she was ignored, grabbed a stool and threatened violence. Prior to that incident, the woman jumped on the hood of a livery cab. She also grabbed a person […]