We started a new series in January/February were we presented some of the songs we’ve played during the months that had passed. This is our playlist for May 2014, as usual it has something new and a few golden oldies.
Johannasvisions: What would you say is the biggest difference from the previous album? Alexander Pettersen: I guess you could call it “the evil twin”…
The follow-up to The South’s 2013 album “The Further Inside You Go…” is a more demanding affair, but also an even more rewarding one. It opens with the 11 minute song, No Escape/Don’t Let Go, a track that is quite a departure for the band.
We’re no longer in the southern parts of the USA (well, not all the time anyway) it sounds like an Alan Parsons produced english band from around 1973. It swirls and changes its course as we listen, and this is something that we will encounter on the following songs as well. It starts off with gentle guitar and vocal, the sound is very delicate. The vocals are repeated and doubled, we get a subtle choir. The mood gets darker, but at about 2:40 into the song the drums and electric guitar lifts us up. The Keyboard echoes the melody. The pedal steel comes in, but it has no country-twang, it is airy and elegant. What a great start!
JV: The country-sound is all but gone, is this a conscious choice or did it “just happen”? AP: It is not something we decided, it is a natural progression for us, I think.
I write the songs I do, the only decision-making concerns choosing songs for the record, and the way we put them together to form a complete album.
This time I wanted to do something new, something else than before. And we did, we managed to pull off something special, something “more” than we’ve done before. I think we have succeeded in this, especially on the tracks, 1,2/3,5 and 6.
Desert Sounds takes us into more familiar territory, to the breezy Californian coast line. It starts off with a strumming acoustic guitar and then a beautiful melody hovers over the acoustic. The guitar is doubled and the keyboard fills in. It is a very finely arranged intro to the track, Glimpse of what we had. The South is in no hurry, they take their time and it builds up wonderfully. I see it as one song.
The second part of the track has a more up-beat melody, but the lyrics are filled with longing for past times and are bittersweet in tone. The electric guitar in the song is an Allman Brothers/Grateful Dead mix, but new and fresh and not retro in feel at all. The bass is subtly restrained and incredibly well played.
Glimpse of what we had (Spotify):
Now, The South takes us for a ride into, well, “The South” as in the musical landscape of the Southern US. They give us a superb Muscle Shoals sounding song, We Got Lucky. A lover reassure his girlfriend that all will be all right and we believe him. The track has some very fine horn arrangements (by Bendik Brænne) and both The Band and Little Feat would have been proud to include it in their catalogue.
Then we’re back on the road, we get a rousing boogie/Texas shuffle in the raw, Psb6u-blues. A steady “motor rhythm” of an accord on el-guitar lays the foundation, and we get a playful guitar that’s just “all over the place” above the steady beat. And then more guitar and keyboard. It reminds me of driving or taking the train, traveling. The vocal starts at 3:35(!) and it is no sweet blues, it is aggressive and insisting. It ends in a wild crescendo and I long to see it in a live setting. It is just fabulous, so far this is my favorite song on the record along with the last track, …The Further Out You Get.
Musically The South are even more at “the west-coast” of USA this time, the country aspect is toned down (but there are traces of it still – great steel-guitar and some honky-tonk piano, I like that they haven’t abandoned it all.) It has that very recognizable guitar sound (“The South-sound”), but it has more “space” and is more dreamy in a way.
“We didn’t have that specific discussion this time, we told him (Bent Sæther, producer) a bit about what we wanted, in what direction we would like to go. “A bigger canvas” was an expression that came about early on. We wanted not to rush it, to give the songs more time.”
– Alexander Pettersen
The South is also an incredibly good live band, catch them if you get the chance!
I know you wanted me to grow up tall Not sure that I am man enough just yet to face it all I know this isn’t what you had in mind at all I hope it helps to know I’ll pick you up each time you fall (Dad)
Hallgeir: Different Eyes, The further inside you go…, Dad
Egil: The further inside you go…, Dad, Different Eyes
The South – The Further Inside You Go… (live in studio):
She had rings on her fingers and bells on her shoes. And I knew without askin’ she was into the blues. She wore scarlet begonias tucked into her curls, I knew right away she was not like other girls, other girls.
This is a very fine interpretation of The Dead’s Scarlet Begonias. We’ve seen them do it live (they work it into Allman Brothers’ Jessica, it works!) and it is a fitting honor to The Grateful Dead. They have made it a bit more “swampy”, they have made their own original take on it. Here it is live in studio.
The South – Scarlet Begonias:
Let us include the original as a bonus.
The Grateful Dead – Scarlet Begonias (New Years eve, 1978):
Last night we went to Oslo to see The South, it was our first show with them after the new album, The Further Inside You Go... and we were excited. It is safe to say that they fulfilled all expectations, they are the best live band in Norway at the moment. They are playing in Bergen tomorrow and in Stavanger the 16th November (we’ll be there), run out and get tickets, folks. You will not se a better Norwegian band this year!
They played two sets with a ten minute intermission (just like Zimmy does these days) both sets were fantastic, but when the y “take off” on the longer jams in the second set, I’m in heaven. Be sure to clap them back on stage after the final song, they really gave us a treat last night, the encore started out as a fun and fairly faithful rendition of Scarlet Begonias (Grateful Dead) but then they switch gears and ends up into a rip-roaring version of Allman Brothers’ Jessica. Perfect! (the piano solo from the original was included and it was so fun and so great!)
Well, as you’ve already guessed, we had a tremendous time in Oslo and we are really looking forward to the Stavanger concert.
For Someone Else
Birds of a feather -> into Keep on Growing (Derek and The Dominos)
Can’t Find My Way Back Home
End of the day
Second set + encore:
Nothin’ but my shoes
I’ll be the one
The Further Inside You Go…
Scarlet Begonias (Grateful Dead) -> into Jessica (Allman Brothers Band)
I think this was the set-list, but I may be mistaken on the sequence or some of the songs, don’t be too mad at me 😉