Here are some of the artists we are helping "Look for Europe"
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It’s coming to something when it’s a Norwegian artist who comes up with one of the most compelling examples of Americana that I’ve heard this year. I say “Americana”, but that is only one tag that fits this rich piece of work. “Folk” would fit as well, but lyrically and musically Kreg is drawing from a broad range of influences and the character of his music is strongly flavoured by his distinctive, soulful voice. He reminds me of a few people but I guess Ray Lamontagne might be the closest. The album was recorded in Norway with the help of a warmly empathic band of Norwegian musicians; acoustic guitar is to the fore, with piano featuring strongly as well. The sound is warm and intimate, inviting you to sit back and enter his world, comforted by a sound that wraps around you soothingly. In fact, there’s one killer tune here that is vaguely reminiscent of the more produced end of early 70’s folk revival – Renaissance maybe, or someone of that ilk. Half-Baked News features a gorgeous little tune picked out on the acoustic guitar and lovely backing vocals from Anne Lise Frøkedal that together make this something of a transcendent piece: put it on repeat for a while just to relish the place it transports you to.
The most interesting thing going on here is Kreg Viesselman’s love affair with lyric writing. It’s an English language affair and I would presume that this is his second language, but he plays with words endlessly, pairing words for their sound-alike characteristics and latching on to any number of cultural reference points – other songs, everyday sayings, the Bible, amongst others – to keep you on the hop as you try to take in the broad reach of his songs. His subject matter is wide-ranging – sometimes personal but not always – and there’s a murder ballad of sorts that is rather disturbing (The Well); it’s a quietly beautiful song, couched in mythological language but containing the seed of doubt that maybe we’re hearing about a real event here. Or maybe I’m missing something. Whatever, his approach is interesting, individual and idiosyncratic. There are times when you can’t easily follow his leaps of imagination and occasions when he phrases things in a slightly odd manner but heck, he’s leagues ahead of most British writers in terms of literacy, and that is very much to be welcomed. If You Lose Your Light is a really attractive piece of work with some strong highlights that’ll bring you back to it for repeated exploration.
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