GoldTone Records GTCD1605
9 songs – 39 minutes
Most folks in the U.S. recognize the name Peer Gynt as a Norwegian folk hero whose exploits as a hunter have been used as the basis for a play by Henrik Ibsen, an opera or ballet. In the world of blues, however, Peer Gynt is someone altogether different.
Since emerging with the release of his debut album, First Act, in the ’90s, this Peer has proven himself superior in the world of European blues-rock. An electrifying performer who’s endorsed by Fender, Gynt’s drawn praise from New World artists including Walter Trout, who calls him “an animal on stage, and his guitar playing is unorthodox.”
Gynt tours the Continent regularly and began making appearances in the U.S. in 2002 after signing with Germany’s Ruf Records for the release of his Fairytales CD. He’s achieved even more popularity for scoring major European movies, and, even though you’re not aware of it, you’ve heard his music on American TV shows, including 60 Minutes, Punk’d, 48 Hours Mystery and more.
This release finds him handling all vocals and guitars, backed by Ingar “Dr. Ingus” Freisey on drums and Lars Fish on bass. Edvard Bolas and Frank Scott add keyboards with Therese Ulvan and Sara Kristoffersen contributing backing vocals. Make no mistake, however: despite the presence of keys, this is primarily a power-blues trio album of the first order.
Gynt composed all of the nine tracks here, several with Bolas, most of which deliver positive affirmations about life, although the ideas do come at you from different angles. The message mostly comes at you in waves of repetitive lyrics — all delivered in absolutely perfect English — that are just slightly overwhelmed by the tidal wave of the music. “Ride On” opens the action. It’s a loping, medium-fast tempo blues about continuing to go forward despite fearing about losing control.
“Keep On Movin'” continues the message forward as it gets a little deeper in the pocket and slows slightly. In this one, Gynt insists you have to find peace within yourself and live every day as if it’s the last one of your life. The bluesy ballad “Holy Water” puts Peer’s guitar work on display as he describes a condition common to any top musician: being torn and surrounded by people all wanting a piece of their success.
The mood changes quickly for “Fool For Your Love,” a blues-rocker with a slightly syncopated rhythm pattern. In this one Gynt admits to instances where he’s been a “devil out of control,” but vows he wants to lift his lady up and bring her close — and requests guidance from her in order to make it happen. A slow-blues burner follows in “Everything I Got,” another appeal for direction, this time to live in something you never hear in a tune: modesty!
The stop-time uptempo rocker “I Just Wanna Drive” carries forward the popular theme about just being paid and wanting to hit the road before “I Can’t Go On,” another slow blues that gives Peer space to display his six-string chops. In this one, he’s at the end of a relationship in which he’s been faithful, only to end up in the lady’s rear-view mirror. A medium-fast walking blues, “Stay With Me Babe,” continues the theme before another over-the-top rocker, “The End,” brings the disc to a close with the singer out of cash and knowing he’ll never be saved, but vowing to hold on tight until the finish.
If you’re a fan of blues-rock, you’ll love this one. Available through iTunes, Google Play, Israbox and other online retailers.