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In the blues world, a big voice is often accompanied by a big ego (or at least a medium sized one…) But the Danish singer
Thorbjørn Risager, praised for his rough and strong voice by an unanimous choir of critics from a growing number of countries – 15 the last time we counted them - is a soft-spoken gentleman off stage. He is the leader of his seven-piece band mainly for practical reasons – to bring any little issue into a group discussion can be quite time-consuming. He is also composing most of the band’s music, and during the performance he is the obvious center of attention, even if the band has a charming way of passing round the task of introducing the songs between them, so that each musician gets his word in.
His mixture of genres is something that is sometimes mentioned by critics, who are looking for something of more homogenity. But this is Thorbjørn’s deliberate choice. To hear a band that plays one shuffle after another, or only jump blues through an entire CD or concert, might please some critics but there’s definitely a risk that the audience will get bored. And this is why Thorbjørn and his band have created their specific sound by other means, especially his characteristic raunchy voice and the band’s typical sound, with its horns, solo performances and rolling, almost big-band-like grooves. So he weaves threads of soul, gospel, rock, R&B and funk into his music, to create a variety and keep the audience interested, something that the band succeeds with on each single gig.
Recording information: Medley Studio, Copenhagen, Denmark (10/2009).
Thorbjorn Risager (vocals, guitar); Svein Erik Martinsen (guitar, background vocals); Jarno Varsted (harmonica); Kasper Wagner (alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone); Peter Kehl (trumpet); Emil Balsgaard (piano, organ); Martin Seidelin (drums); Pia Trojgaard, Lea Thorlann, Lars Skjærbæk (background vocals).