Wednesday, 6 May 2009

SWEET SORROW MAN (Peter Scion 1997)

"Sweet Sorrow Man" seemed to surprise many of my listeners. After three albums of folk psych, I suddenly turned to country music! However, it's not a fullblown country album, but the influence is definitely there. Mick Capewell, who interviewed me for UK mag Ptolemaic Terrascope, dubbed it "Country & Northern", and that is quite possibly the best description I've heard of it.

To me, however, the change wasn't that sudden at all. I had listened a fair bit to country music and traditional American songs for some while before I recorded "Sweet Sorrow Man". After all, American traditional music isn't that far removed from the folk songs of the British Isles, which only a slightly closer history examination reveals. And as I, as an artist, worked by the principle "what goes in must come out", it was simply impossible not to react creatively to what I was listening to. "Broken" was even a song that I had wanted to write for a long time, and I was very happy to eventually find myself in the right mind to do it.
Oh, and I'm very proud of my rendition of "Kathleen", which I still think is among my Top 3 recordings.

The re-working of "Is It Raining In Seattle?" (originally on "Devachan") was great fun to do. I don't know what really instigated another version of it; perhaps did I sense some country feel in it that would slip in nicely with the rest of the album. It was all first takes to keep the "devil may care" attitude intact in the finished version, as if there were four people getting together for the first time busking a song they roughly knew from a long time ago.

Although there are a couple of tongue-in-cheek moments on "Sweet Sorrow Man", I never meant to poke fun at a musical style I still like very much. It was all very lovingly done, and when listening to the album today, I realize it's my emotionally most diverse album up to that date. Good times rub shoulders with utter desperation, and in that respect, "Sweet Sorrow Man" is a very human album.

As I wrote in my liner notes for the album, "Sweet Sorrow Man" was originally percieved as an EP. But I was still riding high on the creative wave, so soon I had an album's worth of material that seemed to go together pretty well.

Lars Holmquist did the cover for the album without much of my participation. One day when I went to see him, he showed the finished artwork. I immediately accepted it, saying "I'd love to buy an album looking like that!".

I still like this album very much.



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