Sunday 26 August 2012

Kjartan Bue - Man Riding Backwards

Single review by KevW

When stripped down to their core components, different forms of music take on different characteristics. Minimalist electronica, for example, can be superb. Strip country music down to its core components and, ignoring the pioneers of the early days, you're left with a formulaic pile of steaming turd. Ever tried listening to a country radio station? You'll find plenty streaming online. Go on, I dare you, see how long you can put up with it for. Yes, despite its important place in musical history (not least leading to the development of rock 'n' roll) the trad. country churned out nowadays is, on the whole, utter unlistenable tripe. Yet its influence can be heard in some of the best bands of the past few decades, from the Laurel Canyon scene to psychobilly to psychedelia to Americana and alt-country and more. Its ripples stretch far and wide and contribute a sizeable portion of what many of us listen to.

Although describing himself as "folk", Kjartan Bue plays a fairly stripped down version of alt-country. He's not some Stetson wearing boy from the Bible-belt, he's half Norwegian, half Danish. Some distance from endless dusty roads and ranches, and maybe it's this that makes his take on acoustic songcraft so unique, interesting and not a steaming pile of anything. There's harmonica, plucked guitar, a hint of slide and lyrics about horses and talking to the water at the water hole, but despite all that 'Man Riding Backwards' still seems cliché free. The stomping second half about sandy deserts dabbles successfully in psychedelia and is a real pleasure. His album of the same name is out in November, and it seems that the distance from the roots of his music have given this cowboy a whole new perspective on how to tackle the genre. Kjartan Bue is definitely one to look out for.

To download 'Man Riding Backwards' for free head here

Kjartan Bue's website

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