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JV reporting from Bergenfest 2014: Day 4

Lee Fields & The Expressions
Lee Fields & The Expressions, Bergenfest 2014, photo: Hallgeir Olsen /Johannasvisions

Bergenfest 2014 Day 4 report

Bergenfest 2014 - day4

Continue reading JV reporting from Bergenfest 2014: Day 4

Best albums of 2012: number 16 to 20

Van Morrison – Born To Sing No Plan B 16

16. Van Morrison – Born to sing,  No plan B

2012 is a year filled with many great album releases. Almost all “endyear lists” I’ve seen fails to include “Born To Sing, No Plan B”.. and that’s a shame. It might no be among the man’s best albums, but it’s still a fantastic album.

Solid band (as always), great vocal, good songs, interesting lyrics, jazzy, soulful, moody & and a brilliant trombone (Alistair White).

When you’re in need of some VM (as we all are sometimes), please check out this new album.. you will not be disappointed, I promise.

Reminds me of: a Van Morrison in excellent form

-Egil

Highlights:

  • Egil: Born To Sing, Open The Door, If in money we trust
  • Hallgeir: If in money we trust, Pagan Heart, Mystic of the east

Born to sing (Official video):

 

Dwight Yoakam 3 Pears 17

17. Dwight Yoakam – 3 Pears

It’s been seven  years since Dwight Yoakam’s last gave us a proper release, 2005′s Blame the Vain. He’s done some acting, he’s done some producing, did some concerts and a tribute album to Buck Owens but he has been sorely missed.

Back on a major label one should think that Yoakam would sound mainstream country, not so at all. He has clearly listened to the new wave of the indie folk/country wave that is happening these last years. Beck is producing on a couple of tracks and Dwight Yoakam produces some tracks himself, they sound very new, almost like a new artist. He has not lost his pop sensibility and his ear for catchy tunes.  That doesn’t mean that he has abandonded his honkey tonk roots, and he really let it comes out in a song like, Dim Lights, Thick smoke.

Dwight Yoakam sounds like a cross between The Monkees and Jerry Lee Lewis on A heart like mine!

Catchy, great tunes and still so goddam cool!

– Hallgeir

Highlights:

  • Egil: Take Hold Of My Heart, Trying, Dim Lights, Thick Smoke
  • Hallgeir: Rock it all away, Missing Heart, A heart like mine and Trying

 

Shovels and Rope o be joyful 18

18. Shovels and Rope – O’ Be Joyful

Shovels and Rope sounds like children of both punk and country, and their intimate debut   has a brooding  darkness throughout. The southern gothic is prominent, even the name hints at darkness. It excites me that country music can be so bold and so fresh. I say country music but it is just as much rock’n roll.

The couple (Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent) released a CD called Shovels And Rope, but this is the first release where they call their band Shovels and Rope. This mix of dark country and old time rock reminds me of Jack White and Loretta Lynn, the rhythm track is simple but the melodies are wonderful.

Dark and haunting contemporary country/rock music.

– Hallgeir

 Highlights:

  • Egil: Birmingham, Lay Low, Shank Hill St.
  • Hallgeir: Birmingham, Hail Hail, Tickin’ Bomb and Shank Hill St.

 

I Was a King You Love it Here 19

19. I Was A King – You Love It Here

I Was A King has a fine mix of powerpop, guitar walls and great song writing. The guitars are “byrdsy” jangly and this time they flirt even more with the American side of indie-americana-pop. So you see, they’re kinda hard to describe. But they sound terrific!

IWAK has  gotten together with two fantastic popmusic masters this time, Norman Blake (Teenage Fanclub vocalist, yes him!) and Robyn Hitchcock (Power-pop godfather, The Soft Boys member and solo artist extraordinaire), what a dream-team!

When i first read about it I really couldn’t believe it, it’s a match made in heaven.

The result of this collaboration is IWAK’s best album, a fully realised record with great songs. It sounds so big and it is full of air, but it’s not pretentious at all. They sound more mature and more pop. The Playing is better than ever and the songwriting is spectacular, I realy love this album (You guessed that, eh?) and it is a quintessential pop album. A love letter to music, no less.

Jangly, infectious and very, very good.

– Hallgeir

Highlights:

  • Egil: Frozen Disease, A Million Signs, Indiana
  • Hallgeir: A Million Signs, Food Wheels, Superhero and Leave

 

Katleen Edwards Voyageur 20

20. Kathleen Edwards – Voyageur

I really like break-up albums, I love Blood on the tracks, I love Springsteen’s Tunnel of Love and I love when Jackson Browne sing about his break-ups. Kathleen Edwards is now part of this rich tradition of soul wreching songwriters. Maybe not quite on their level, yet, but she is becoming a very good songwriter, and she is at the top of her game on this album.

But it is not all gloom, she sounds as she’s coping. Actually it sounds that she’s on her way up from the bleakness, the album is full of hope. The songs are really strong an Justin Vernon’s involvement has brought out unknown elements in Kathleen Edwards songs.

Spacious, hopeful and sad, in a good way.

– Hallgeir

Highlights:

  • Egil: Chameleon/Comedian, Change The Sheets, House Full of Emty Rooms,
  • Hallgeir: Chameleon/Comedian, House Full of Emty Rooms, Going To Hell

 

The complete LIST

 

I Was A King live in Haugesund

Last night I saw I Was A King(IWAK) for the fourth time. It is a fantastic band and they just keeps getting better. They still sound a bit like a Teenage Fanclub and Byrds mix, and that’s a good thing.

The New album is a  fine mix of powerpop, guitar walls and great song writing. The guitars are “byrdsy” jangly and this time they flirt even more with the American side of indie-americana-pop. So you see, they’re kinda hard to describe. But they sound terrific!

IWAK has  gotten together with two fantastic popmusic masters this time, Norman Blake (Teenage Fanclub vocalist, yes him!) and Robyn Hitchcock (Power-pop godfather, The Soft Boys member and solo artist extraordinaire), what a dream-team!

When i first read about it I really couldn’t believe it, it’s a match made in heaven.

IWAK once wrote a fine song called “Norman Bleik” (on the second album, 2009), about one of their inspirations, just as Norman Blake once wrote a song about one of his own heroes Neil Young, called “Neil Jung”. Fun fact.

The result of this collaboration is IWAK’s best album, a fully realised record with great songs. It sounds so big and it is full of air, but it’s not pretentious at all. They sound more mature and more pop. The Playing is better than ever and the songwriting is spectacular, I realy love this album (You guessed that, eh?) and it is a quintessential pop album. A love letter to music, no less.

Best on the album: Frozen Disease, Superhero and Leave

Best live in Haugesund: Food Wheels and A Million Signs (with The One I love snippet as intro!)

I Was A King gave us a lesson in harmony induced pop music in Haugesund last night. I’ve never heard them better. Normally they’re not very talkative with the audience, but this night was a bit different. Anne Lise Frøkedal had several fammily members in the audience and the atmosphere was very friendly. Of course there were no sing-alongs, but it was a fun and relaxed interaction.

Continue reading I Was A King live in Haugesund