Norway have several accomplished artists in the Americana style. Claudia Scott, Lucky Lips, Darling West, Knut Reiersrud, Steinar Albrigtsen are but some of the best ones. One of the Norwegian Americana artists, Tove Bøygard has been almost there for several years, but with her latest album, she has taken the final step up to the same level as the before mentioned artists. Last night she held a release concert for Blåe Drag at Herr Nilsen in Oslo.
Tove Bøygard played in a band called just Bøygard with her sister Anita for many years, before she went solo with a self-titled album in 2010. Now she has released her second solo album, Blåe Drag, which has got well deserved rave reviews in all Norwegian media so far. Accompanied by Freddy Holm on a lot of instruments – violin, mandolin, electric guitar, lap steel – Jørun Bøgeberg on six string bass and Eivind Kløverud on drums – the same band that also plays on her album – she played for a sold out club last night.
I was highly impressed by both Bøygard and her band last night. Tove Bøygard has written most of the songs on the album, except for two covers, Sjå i Nåde (Mercy Now) by Mary Gauthier and Faen Faen Faen, by Thåstrøm. Her own songs are mostly either personal or humanitarian political, about refugees or about drug addicts, which she know a lot about, having worked among them on the streets of Oslo for several years. She has a versatile voice and varies between soft and hard with almost no effort.
Her live band is the same as on the record, and the live sound was impeccable, with lots of beautiful details, plus some raw energy and great dynamics. I have heard these musicians in different constellations for many years, and I get more and more impressed by how good they are. Freddy Holm plays “everything with strings”, while Jørun Bøgeberg’s bass playing is some of the best I hear. He plays the six string bass almost like a guitar, mixing between good and deep bottoms and some delicate chord work. Kløverud is also a drummer of my choice, playing his instrument instead of beating on them, always with an ear to the rest of the band.
Tove Bøygard is from the valley Hallingdal in Norway, a place that has fostered many of Norway’s top musicians in the more organic musical styles. The best known artists from their home valley so far are Hellbillies. But Tove Bøygard has aimed for the top spot, and with her new album and her live performance, she is a great representative for the Norwegian Americana scene.
All photos are © Per Ole Hagen and must not be used without written permission.