11 tracks; 30:02 minutes; Suggested
Styles: 1950s Styled R&B and Blues; Rock and Roll; Electric Blues Guitar-West Coast style
In the year 2000, Atlanta’s Sean Costello, at age 20, broke nationally with an extraordinary album, Cuttin’ In. It featured a young man playing guitar and singing in 1950s, retro-style R&B and Rock and Roll. Costello was not the only artist in 2000 playing these styles; he was just the most inventive, most creative, and most exciting with his singing and his guitar runs, especially the up-tempo ones.
15 years later, another young man (still in his 20s) is playing guitar and singing 1950s, retro-style R&B and Rock and Roll. Norway’s Joakim Tinderholt is not the only artist in 2015 playing these styles, but he is just one of the most inventive, most creative, and most exciting in his singing and his guitar runs, especially the up-tempo ones (think Hollywood Fats). Considered one of Norway’s finest performers, Oslo’s best Blues shouter is a force that is kicking tail in the garnering-attention department.
According to Håkon Høye of Big H Records in an email to me, “Joakim has always been an admirer of Sean Costello and his music.” Indeed, one will find three cover songs on You Gotta Do More that also appeared as covers on Costello’s Cuttin’ In album. Høye reported, “The cover songs you mention have been part of Joakim’s live show for years….” As it turns out, Tinderholt has been influenced by many of the masters. Høye continued, “He’s [Joakim] also a big fan of T-Bone [Walker], B.B. and Freddie King + the whole West Coast scene with Lynwood Slim, Hollywood Fats Band, Kid Ramos, etc. … and Rock n Roll: Nick Curran, Nikki Hill, etc. He [Joamim] is Chris ‘Kid’ Andersen’s [younger] cousin, and I (Håkon) and Kid used to play and hang out together before he [Kid] left for the States with Terry Hanck.”
While this debut CD only clocks at 30 minutes, the from-the-gut-and-heart excitement is undeniable. There are 11 songs; only one is more than three minutes long, which was a 1950s standard. Tinderholt does not copy, but instead translates, the music that was created before even his mother was born. The songs are a mix of originals and obscure cover favorites from his live set. There are inspirations from the Rock & Roll of Little Richard to the Blues of Otis Rush and to the beats of Bo Diddley. In the liner notes written by Kid Andersen, he says, “I’ll put him and his band, and this record, up against anything going on in the Blues world today.”
Performing at high standards in expressing a foreign musical language that they obviously treasure are: William “Bill” Troiani – bass and back-up vocals, Håkon Høye – producer, second guitars, back-up vocals, Robert Alexander Pettersen – drums and percussion, and Kjell Magne Lauritzen – piano.
The album kicks off wisely with an original song, “Stumblin’ & Fumblin’,” which joyously informs listeners to the direction of the album. Tinderholt’s wonderful vocals lament how he (the protagonist) has fallen on hard times. Guest sax player Kasper Skullerud Vaernes helps create a full supporting sound. Joakim gets bursts of a stinging-shimmer-tremolo sound from his guitar that is a highlight for this fanatic of the instrument.
“I Need a Woman (‘Cause I’m a Man)” showcases Joakim’s finest West Coast style electric guitar as he picks and bends single notes, over chording. The song swings with tinkling piano plus solid bass and drums. The highlight is Tinderholt’s singing. His plea is convincing without being corny. His vocal power is intense but, uniquely, not loud. And, his range is incredible – even shifting into slight falsetto in the final line. Another original where upbeat and swing rhythm is dominant is found in “Another Rainy Day.”
Fat toned harp courtesy of studio guest Arne Rasmussen highlight the set’s 1961 Bo Diddley cover, “You Don’t Love Me.” “Gold Top” is a popping, guitar-led instrumental composed by Tinderholt. The title track, “You Gotta Do More,” is good old Rock and Roll written by Høye and Troiani. Baritone sax from KS Vaernes highlights C. Sheffield’s “It’s Your Voodoo Working” – a track full double edged sword misery and pleasure. Willie Dixon’s 1954 song, “I Don’t Care Who Knows” is given a delightful full-ensemble treatment with tinkling piano, crashing cymbals, pocket bass, tenor saxophone, and Håkon Høye shows off on lead guitar while Joakim exclaims vocals of declarative love.
The final three tracks are the aforementioned covers done also by Sean Costello. As with the rest of the CD, there is inspiration without imitation as Tinderholt makes each song his own. “Those Lonely, Lonely Nights” from Earl King and Johnny Vincent is a get your baby in your arms on the dancefloor kind of arrangement. Otis Rush’s misery-filled “Double Trouble” is played slightly faster than most versions but with all the original passion and more stinging-shimmer-tremolo guitar. Costello’s influence can be felt most strongly in “Little” Bob Camille’s “I Got Loaded” from 1964 Louisiana. It was a hit party song for Camille, and the Norwegian’s version should fare the same.
Joakim Tinderholt and His Band are already big in Norway; bet on this being a breakout record on the American scene!