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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. 


John Davy

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April 2018

Courtney Marie Andrews
100 pts.
May Your Kindness Remain
Loose Music
Mary Gauthier
59 pts.
Rifles And Rosary Beads
In the Black Records
Caleb Caudle
49 pts.
Crushed Coins
Cornelius Chapel Records
Western Centuries
48 pts.
Songs From The Deluge
Free Dirt Records
Vivian Leva
44 pts.
Time is Everything
Free Dirt Records
Ed Romanoff
42 pts.
The Orphan King
Pinerock Records
Grant Peeples
41 pts.
Settling Scores vol. 2
Joan Baez
32 pts.
Whistle Down The Wind
Proper Records
Jeb Barry and the Pawn Shop Saints
29 pts.
Texas, etc...
Sam Morrow
29 pts.
Concrete and Mud
Forty Below Records
Chris Smither
27 pts.
Call Me Lucky
Signature Sounds
Michael McDermott
26 pts.
Out From Under
Continental Song City
John Prine
24 pts.
The Tree of Forgiveness
Oh Boy Records
Mary Chapin Carpenter
23 pts.
Sometimes Just The Sky
Lambent Light Records
Dean Owens
22 pts.
Southern Wind
At The Helm
6 String Drag
21 pts.
Top of The World
Schoolkids Records
Haley Heynderickx
21 pts.
I Need To Start A Garden
Mama Bird Recordings
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
21 pts.
Tearing At The Seams
Stax Records
Abe Partridge
20 pts.
Cotton Fields And Blood For Days
Skate Mountain
Adam James Sorensen
20 pts.
Dust Cloud Refrain
Continental Song City
Ben Reel
20 pts.
Land Of Escape
B REEL Records
Chip Taylor
20 pts.
Fix Your Words
Train Wreck Records
Kesia Nagata
20 pts.
Looking For Horses
Caramal Productions
Sheesham & Lotus & 'Son
20 pts.
Clear The Table
SepiaPhone Records
18 pts.
Lord of the Desert
Okehdokee Records
Marlon Williams
18 pts.
Make Way for Love
Dead Oceans

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