FolkWorld #74 03/2021
© Tobias Panwitz / Trailhead

Article in German


Roadside Folk Songs


Artist Video Trailhead @ FROG

Tobias Panwitz has been a vital part of Germany’s singer songwriter scene for many years. Under the name 'Trailhead' he has recorded three albums, and has toured throughout Germany, Europe and Canada. His music has been described as being "sublime“, "amazing“, "excellent“ and "convincing“ by Berlins Tagesspiegel, Americana UK and Americana Music Times.

Panwitz's affiliation with American singer-songwriter and alt-country music came about in an unusual way. "How much longer to the Trailhead?“, was the question posed every morning in the national park service truck on the way to a new trail that needed to be built or repaired. For several months, Tobias Panwitz was a member of the trail maintenence crew in Northern California’s Redwood National Park, and each day began at a new trailhead, the starting point of a trail.

Über die Alpen

Über die Alpen /
Into the Mountains

Both the contact with America’s immense nature, and the songs of bands and songwriters such as the Jayhawks, Neil Young, the Grateful Dead, Ron Sexsmith and Jackson Browne, left a lasting impression which led Panwitz to finding his own voice as a songwriter, inspired by english and american influences.

Tobias Panwitz has left his musical footprint all over Germany and on tours through Norway, Switzerland, Poland, Austria, Chech Republic, Belgium and the Netherlands. He performed at Canada’s most important music conference 'Canadian Music Week' and at Poland’s biggest country festival ’Picknick Country’.

In 2009, Panwitz/Trailhead released his debut album "The Road to Salamanca", a collection of folk songs written over the years spent in Sweden, Spain, America and Poland. This was followed by the more pop oriented “Bodies in the Basement” in 2012. 2013 saw the release of the "Berlin Brandenburg-EP", containing 4 songs in German about Panwitz's home region. "Leave Me to Learn" (2014), his most personal collection of songs to date was complemented a year later by "Leave Me to Learn - Solo Acoustic", presenting the songs of the predecessor in pure acoustic versions, reflecting the atmosphere of Trailhead's solo concerts.

In 2018 Panwitz released “Keep walking“ an album of walking songs written over the years during his many walks on the Caminos de Santiago in Spain.

Later the same year he went out on his most ambitious walking adventure yet, the one month crossing of the Alps from Salzburg to Triest. The stories and experiences he found along the way are reflected in his 5th release “Into the Mountains“, which will be accompanied by a book about his trans Alps hike.

Photo Credits: (1)-(2) Trailhead (by Rico Burnecki); (3) Über die Alpen / Into the Mountains (unknown/website).

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