Lars Ekengren

November 17, 2008 at 1:00 pm

Lars EkengrenThe Örnsköldsvik citizen and the singer/songwriter Lars Ekengren plays a number of instruments when he creates his beautiful Americana-inspired music. The acoustic guitar is used frequently as well as the piano, but I think his strongest instrument is his voice, that seems to be made for this music. Sligthly rough like from one of the finest sandpapers and a soul-bluesy softness and feeling that makes it sound great. It’s obvious that he’s influenced by American music, and one of the sources of this is of course him living there for more than five years:

“I heard a lot of good music when I lived in the USA (Detroit) and it has probably sculpted me and my music somewhat. A lot of not especially known (in Sweden), but yet really good artists like for example Jeffrey Foucault, Mark Erelli, Richard Buckner, Jeff Black, Peter Mulvey, Patti Griffin, Buddy/Julie Miller, Richard Shindell, John Gorka, Peter Bruntnell, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Lori McKenna, Kathleen Edwards and others…”

“Then of course we have Springsteen, Dylan, John Hiatt, Alison Krauss, Gillian Welch, Ryan Adams, Counting Crows, Son Volt, Uncle Tupelo, Emmylou Harris, Mellencamp, Jackson Browne and so on…”

About his songwriting he says:

“I have a love-hate relationship with the songwriting: 10% comes all by itself (a frase, a chord etc), the remaining 90% is pure discipline. If one should write songs only “when inspired”, nothing ever would be done. I think those that tell the contrary are lying. If that is the case, then I really lack inspiration.
The lyrics take time…” (translated from Swedish)

He claims that “I wouldn’t be able to play a barre chord even if my life was at stake”, so besides the ambition to play more concerts in the future and maybe form a band, a goal is to learn barre chords… :-)

Listen to and download three tracks from Lars Ekengren:

Distance
Hope & Faith
Hands

You will find more tracks to enjoy at Lars Ekengrens site, and you can also visit him on Myspace.

Armadillo King

September 7, 2008 at 8:00 am

Armadillo KingTo be honest artists like Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Tom Petty normally don’t frequent my speakers, but sometimes they do manage to get me going, especially Dylan. Furthermore it’s easy to see why this line of music is so appealing to many starting up their musical careers – all you need is a guitar and something to share.

The amount of “young men (or women) with guitars” is actually overwhelming when you take a closer look at the swedish demo treasure, as I’ve done during the past few years. And no matter how attractive their initiatives and ambitions may be, it’s all together somewhat watered down to me seeing how few – yes they do exist! – manage to really deliver that personal feeling they’re aiming at (and that obviously is crucial in the singer/songwriter genre). No, it rarely surprises, it all sounds very much alike to this listener.

Three things in which Armadillo King succeeds, and that must work if I’m to be part of it all, are singing, melody and lyrics. Most important about singing is of course the “expression”; it does by no means have to be especifically original or odd but must be personal, can’t be borrowed. If you on top of that, like Armadillo King, is blessed with an infallible sense of pitch as well as an equally – and paradoxically – harsh and smooth voice, you’re not worse off because of it. In my book Armadillo King is a fantastic singer.

As for melody and lyrics they should be symbiotic. Lyrics that doesn’t tell you the obvious floating safely and unstrained in a melody that seem to lack ambitions of originality but that nevertheless carries me, the melody junkie, with it all the way.

Well well, guess it’s a bit ridiculous trying to explain why you should listen to this artist, when the best argument by far is delievered soon as you click on the song of your choice. You’re likely to understand then, the concept of “young man with guitar” at its best.

Selling a Sheep
Million Dollar King
It’s Soon Summertime
Inner Peace
Turn Away
My Raincoat
Still Your Angel

Visit Armadillo King

Armadillo King on Myspace

(translated by Aurgrunn)

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