Songs From The Road Thorbjørn Risager & The Black Tornado
- 1If You Wanna Leave04:49
- 4Baby Please Don't Go03:29
- 5Too Many Roads03:21
- 6China Gate04:11
- 7Rock 'N' Roll Ride06:34
- 8Through The Tears04:35
- 9Long Forgotten Track05:06
- 10On My Way04:14
- 11All I Want06:00
- 12High Rolling05:00
- 13Let The Good Times Roll11:35
- 14I Won't Let You Down04:17
Info for Songs From The Road
In 2014, something unusual happened. On the strength of their breakthrough album Too Many Roads, Denmark's Thorbjørn Risager & The Black Tornado went global.
Now it's one thing for an artist from Copenhagen to enjoy success at home and in a few adjacent countries. But the release of Too Many Roads saw the seven-piece combo fronted by singer and guitarist Risager gaining widespread notoriety in the U.S. and being invited to play in locales as far away as Mumbai, India. The album took home the Danish Music Award as the Top Blues Album of 2014 and also earned Germany's illustrious 'Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik,' but perhaps even more impressively, it was selected as one the year's best by Britain's influential The Blues magazine, right alongside international stars like Robert Cray, Walter Trout and Joe Bonamassa. Clearly, Risager and his mates had taken their exhilarating mix of blues, soul and rock 'n' roll to the next level.
Early in 2015, Thorbjørn Risager & The Black Tornado celebrated that triumph by returning to one of their favorite nightspots – the Harmonie in Bonn, Germany. They would treat local fans to a one-of-a-kind spectacle, hitting the stage as a ten-piece mini-orchestra. After Thomas Ruf of Ruf Records introduces this deluxe edition of the band – including a three-man horn section and backing vocalists Ida Bang und Lisa Lystam – the colossal sound of Risager's semi-hollow body spearheads the all-out attack of opening number 'If You Wanna Leave.' He and his Black Tornado are off to the races…
The succeeding 100-minute concert, captured on CD and DVD for the newest addition to Ruf's Songs from the Road series, shows off every facet of this unique conglomeration of musicians. There's the sinuous funk of 'Paradise' and the furious boogie of 'The Straight and Narrow Line' (featuring big-time playing by piano man Emil Balsgaard and saxophonist Hans Nybo). There's the twin-guitar blues of 'Too Many Roads' and the rough-and-tumble attitude of 'Rock 'n' Roll Ride.' There's the chilling 'China Gate' and the dark drama of 'Long Forgotten Track.' Finally, the band whips the crowd into frenzy with their ultra-groovy take on the classic 'Baby Please Don't Go' and the timeless party anthem 'Let The Good Times Roll,' the latter track showcasing the talents of lead guitarist Peter Skjerning. The funk workout 'Opener' and the charming 'I Won't Let You Down' (performed as a duet with Lisa Lystam) offer some welcome after play.
More than anything, Songs from the Road shows that the success of Too Many Roads was no fluke. Thorbjørn Risager and his highly skilled accomplices have perfected a spicy blend of musical ingredients. The hundreds of shows they've played during the past few years have them running like a well-oiled machine. More great things can be expected of them in the future – but until then, we have this brilliant document of a band that is quietly revolutionizing the way we look at the blues.
Thorbjørn Risager, guitar, vocals
Peter Skjerning, guitar
Emil Balsgaard, keyboards
Søren Bøjgaard, bass
Martin Seidelin, drums
Kasper Wagner, saxophone
Hans Nybo Jørgensen, saxophone
Peter W Kehl, trumpet
Ida Bang, vocals
Lisa Lystam, vocals
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.
And this is a real smooth organization, who has divided all practical tasks such as web master, CD sales on gigs etc between themselves. Which makes life easier in the midst of their heavy touring schedule. Since the start, they have played in 15 countries, and only from Feb – Aug 2010 they have concerts booked in 11 European countries.
But the 38-year-old Dane had other plans for his life. He studied to be a school teacher, and worked in this profession for some years, before he decided to let the music take over. He studied at the Rhythmic Conservatory in Copenhagen, a quite unique education where many of the teachers are jazz- or rock musicians, and where the emphasis is on Rhythmic music of all genres. In 2003 he started his band, selected musicians he liked both musically and personally, and the fact that up until today only one of them left and was replaced, at an early stage of the band’s career, proves that the choice was excellent.
But of course Thorbjørn’s musical interest started long before this. He played the saxophone from the age of 12, then guitar – but the singing was more of a coincidence at first. He was exposed to the blues through a neighbour, a middle-aged gentleman who was friends with his parents, and who started playing blues records to the young Thorbjørn. That’s how his life-long love story with the blues started, with B B King as his biggest hero. Ray Charles is one of his other obvious influences, but today, with almost 40 recorded songs from his own pen, he has definitely defined his own sound and style.
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.
This album contains no booklet.