CD: 14 songs; 51:34 Minutes
Styles: Modern Electric Blues Rock, Rock and Roll
What is “March Madness”? Colloquially, it refers to the NCAA college basketball playoffs, but it also applies to several other things: the often-tumultuous start of spring, the end of “cabin fever,” and in this case, the arrival of high-powered blues and rock and roll from Denmark. The Skriver Bjarnesen Band has “Nothing But Love” for these styles of music and their globe-wide fans. Guitarist Henrik Skriver started working with singer Jesper Bjarnesen in 1987, forming the rock band Shotgone. They toured Danish clubs and festivals for almost a decade and released 2 CDs with fresh compositions: “Red E” in 1993 and “A Second Gone” in 1995. Shotgone split up in 1996, but they continued to work together as a duo. In 2008 they formed the Skriver and Bjarnesen Blues Band, again playing clubs and smaller venues with a repertoire of blues standards. Calling their music “blues-based rock” or perhaps more accurately, “rock-based blues,” they claim inspiration from the Allman Brothers, ZZ Top, Albert Collins, Dave Edmunds, and others. Along with bassist Michael Wedgwood and drummers Claus Daugård (winner of a Danish Grammy) and Erik Lodbjerg, the band and several special guests offer us fourteen eclectic originals. Here are three that will score the most points:
Track 04: FREETHROW: “Catch My Eye” – Even performing artists seek out entertainment from their fellow musicians, as Skriver and Bjarnesen reveal in this riveting rocker. Whom do they wish to see the most? “I’d rather see a man with a soul than a popular name who’s just a-playing a game, and his smile’s just an empty hole.” Skriver’s sizzling shredder and Martin Jonsson’s popping piano will command listeners’ and dancers’ attention.
Track 07: TWO-POINTER: “Listen To Me Baby” – With an electric-blues intro to die for and lyrics that will make one laugh and cringe knowingly at the same time, this track tells the tale of a man engaged in a failure to communicate with his lover: “Feels like climbing a mountain with your arms tied behind your back, like running 500 miles with your feet in a sack…I just can’t say a word, but I’m dying to be heard. Now give me space to get it out!”
Track 13: THREE-POINTER: “Get Along with the Blues” – Oscar Martin Eriksen guest-stars on trilling, thunderous harmonica during a spicy stomp: “We’ve been having a good time, you and me, laughing and a-joking and being free, but now it’s all over, and it’s hurting me. Because it’s someone else you choose, I’ll get along with the blues.” As with track four, this penultimate number features Erik Lodbjerg on drums. If one didn’t know this band’s country of origin, one might guess that they and “Get Along with the Blues” hailed from Chicago or Texas.
If you’ve got “March Madness” and “Nothing but Love” for blues and blues rock, check out the Scriver Bjarnesen Band!