Category Archives: Review

The Best Songs: Where have all the average people gone by Roger Miller

My father used to play this great record by Roger Miller, “Roger Miller” from 1969. There was one particular song that has always stuck with me. Lately I have been listening to the lyrics  more thorough and it has become one of my favourite country songs of all time.

It’s a relatively obscure record, but a great one, so start hunting collectors!

Where Have All the Average People Gone.

The late Dennis Linde wrote “Where Have All the Average People Gone.” Roger Miller recorded it and the song only reached No. 14 on the country chart in 1969, but the lyrics and social commentary still seems relevant. The song is about stereotypes and putting people into categories  based on prejudices.

“Funny I don’t fit,
Where have all the average people gone?”

Roger Miller – Where have all the average people gone (audio):

Continue reading The Best Songs: Where have all the average people gone by Roger Miller

The Best Songs: Lord, I just can’t keep from crying sometimes by Blind Willie Johnson

Drawn by the legendary Robert Crumb
The Best Songs: Lord, I just can’t keep from crying sometimes by Blind Willie Johnson

Chuck Berry, Louis Armstrong, Bach, Beethoven and Blind Willie Johnson was included on the golden record that was sent into deep space in 1977 as part of the Voyager missions. What potential alien life forms might make of Johnson humming along to his slide guitar on “Dark Was The Night (Cold Was The Ground)” is anyone’s guess. The track moves me in a way that’s hard to explain, it’s the sound of pure emotion.

Steve Martin, the actor, once told a story about the golden record: “the first message from extraterrestrials has been received… ‘Send more Blind Willie Johnson’.”

Today we will give you more Blind Willie Johnson, we will present the fantastic,  “Lord, I just can’t keep from crying sometimes” (audio only):

“Blind” Willie Johnson (January 22, 1897 – September 18, 1945) was an American singer and guitarist, whose music straddled the border between blues and spirituals.

While the lyrics of all of his songs were religious, his music drew from both sacred and blues traditions. His music is distinguished by his powerful bass thumb-picking and gravelly false-bass voice, with occasional use of a tenor voice.

Johnson was not born blind, and, although it is not known how he lost his sight, Angeline Johnson told Samuel Charters that when Willie was seven his father beat his stepmother after catching her going out with another man. The stepmother then picked up a handful of lye and threw it, not at Willie’s father, but into the face of young Willie.

Johnson made 30 commercial recordings (29 songs) in five separate sessions for Columbia Records from 1927–1930.

“Lord, I just can’t keep from crying sometimes” is sung along with an as-yet-unidentified female singer. They complement each other, he sings in a gruffy voice, she shimmers above with a high pitched soft style of singing.
Continue reading The Best Songs: Lord, I just can’t keep from crying sometimes by Blind Willie Johnson

Yuma Sun raise Hell

Yuma Sun - Hell - CD-cover front

 …And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him.

This is Hell!

…actually Hell is the new album from Yuma Sun and it is a giant step forward from their promising debut, Romanza. A great way to start the new year.

Gothic Americana, Gospel Rock and Roll, Southern Gothic, Dark Roots, this bastard son of country and blues has many names. Its popularity has increased a lot the last ten years and it is now what we call “a scene”. This does not mean that it is new, there have always been dark country- and blues music. To get an even more precise description I think we should add a fair bit of Appalachian Folk as well.

“Yuma Sun is fast becoming the band to look out for in Norway, and after a year of extensive touring they really gave us a good and tight show. What’s even more promising is that the new songs are better than those off the debut album, Romanza. We’re looking forward to see them in the future, and we are looking forward to their new album (hopefully this fall).

Oh, and by the way, you can now buy Romanza on vinyl (and CD of course). Check out their facebook page.

…this is my own writing from last summer, after seeing a very good concert with Yuma Sun

Now they’re back with the follow-up to their debut, Romanza, the aptly titled: Hell.

It is time for a little history lesson:

“Gothic Americana is a style of country music that is mixed with alternative rock, neotraditional country, progressive country, outlaw country, country rock, punk rock,rockabilly, psychobilly, punkabilly, gothabilly, deathcountry, folk punk, folk rock, blues, rhythm and blues, rock and roll, alternative country and traditional music, along with many other country genres and gothic genres.”
– Wikipedia

Well, that should cover it.



 I’ve listened a lot to the new album lately, and I’m convinced that this is gonna be their big break (at least here in Norway). The production is great, they play well and they are incredibly inventive.
…and they are much more “dark country” than on their debut, it fits them very well!
Continue reading Yuma Sun raise Hell

Drunkards, Misfits and Losers – Aaslandbros with Olav Larsen


This record is born out of love, love for music, love for traditional songs and love of playing. You can hear that the players really enjoy what they’re doing and it passes over to us listeners.  There is a thriving americana/country scene in Norway and quite a few bands are emerging. Not all of them are traditionalists or pure country performers, but there are elements of what Gram Parsons called “Cosmic Music” in much of the new music.

I’ve written about Olav Larsen and his different projects on several occasions(link1, link2,link3link4). He really carry a torch for this kind of music. I have never seen Aaslandbros live, but have checked them out on Youtube and Spotify, they are a very fine band and shouldn’t be looked at as “just another tribute band”. They are much more than that. By the way, I have seen Erlend Aasland in concert many times, he is involved in so many projects that your bound to catch him on a stage somewhere. He is a fantastic musician. It is a joy to finally hear him sing on an album.

Follow the Drinking Gourd:

Follow The Drinking Gourd was used by an Underground Railroad operative to encode escape instructions and a map (and first published in 1928). These directions then enabled fleeing slaves to make their way north from Mobile, Alabama to the Ohio River and freedom. The drinking gourd refers to the hollowed out gourd used by slaves as water dipper. But here it is a metaphor for the Big Dipper star formation, which points to Polaris, the Pole Star, and North. A map to freedom, so to speak. It has been done hundreds of times and it is a feat to make it sound fresh and poignant again, but Aaslandbros and Olav Larsen does.

From the press kit for Drunkards, Misfits and Losers:

A late summer night in  2012 singer and songwriter Olav Larsen sent the following to Aaslandbros:

I’ve seen your band , Aaslandbros, live on several occasions. I must say, I’m really impressed by the way you honor the late great Johnny Cash. Erlend Aasland’s voice, the rhythm section together with Erlend’s guitar playing is extremely good. I cannot stop thinking about this. Wouldn’t it be interesting to collaborate? I’ve got some unfinished songs laying about that could be the basis for a musical marriage between Aaslandbros and me. If it fits, and I can not see why not, we should share this music with people in the form of a record (EP) and some concerts. I envision some kind of  “Boom Chicka Boom Rocka Fucking Billy” with lyrics paying tribute to the drunkards, the misfits and the losers. Are you in?

Aasland Brothers answered: Yes.

19th Sept 2013 Olav Larsen & Aaslandbros went into  Egersound studio together with  Eirik Bekkeheien. When they came out,the  21. Sep  they had recorded four songs live in studio live i studio. The results are on the new EP, Drunkards, Misfits & Losers.

The record sounds like it would sound if Felice Brothers, Johnny Cash and Stan Ridgeway (Wall of Voodoo) threw a party. Dark, fun and very well done.

If I should make an ordered list of the songs i would do it like this:

No Good Reason
Follow the drinking gourd
I am what I am
and Maria #5 (I haven’t quite cracked this one yet, but I expect I will soon…)

Great contrasting voices with Olav and Erlend and the lyrics and music just fits. One of the finest songs of the year on my list.

Let us keep our fingers crossed for a full album with Aaslandbros in the near future (and hopefully with Olav Larsen).

Produced, played and sung by Olav Larsen and Aaslandbros.
Recorded, mixed and mastered by Eirik Bekkeheien.
Beautiful cover design: Camilla Rosenlund.
The Aaslandbros are Christoffer, Erlend & Jørgen Aasland and Kenneth Andersen.

Drunkards, Misfits & Losers is available as a digital release on several streaming services and on iTunes.

I could not find any live clips of the songs from the EP, but here is a fine cover of Springsteen’s Highway Patrolman:

– Hallgeir