Alf Storrud is a senior consultant at Oslo University. With his wife, he has translated several books by Orhan Pamuk, winner of the 2006 Nobel Prize in Literature, into Norwegian.
He has co-curated a career overview double cd of Jackson C. Frank’s songs.
And he loves Fred Grittner’s music.
He is a master of funny and quirky drawings, the topics quite surprising, which can be found on Facebook. There is a new one every Friday.
Here his notes on the ‘Sunshine And The Shadows’ cd:
I’ve finally had time to give the new album a “deep listening” and I like it a lot! It is a collection of mature, touching and well-constructed songs – real pieces of art 😊
What follows is not a review, just some stray thoughts and impressions jotted down while listening. I do not comment on the cover songs – but I really enjoyed them as well and if I had not known some of them, I would have taken them for yours – They fit in perfectly.
This I perceive as the albums – and your – statement of intent. The lyrics are captivating, the melody is strong and I love the mandolin fills floating over the guitar. A strong opener.
You Have To Like Lonesome
A great Grittner/Beliveau lyric set to a slowly burning, evocative melody. Great vocals and arrangement – Powerful and reflective music and full of pictures that resonate in the listeners mind.
“You have to like lonesome if you’re just a one man show” Wow …
Zirbeldrüse und Blutgemüse (Sine Qua Non)
I did not know that ironic polkas existed as a genre – A great change of tempo just when the album needed an uptempo song – and great nose poking lyrics, as I gather from comparing it with “Pineal Gland Goulash And Young Blood Veggies (Sine Qua Non)” Great guitar – I love both versions – The second I call Rolling Stones meet Swift!
A great lilting tune and lyrics we all can relate to, about how the mind plays tricks on us.
The mix of melancholy and irony works very well. Great song, could easily be a “new jazz standard” if you pitch it to Harry Connick
The Talk (White Privilege)
Another song with a great, almost jazzy feel to it. Sadly this song is still necessary –
Powerful and angry “slice of life ” lyrics and music that supports the speak singing perfectly
The Sun Is Out Today
A strong, calypso like melody and beautiful acoustic strumming. Strong vocals and touching lyrics. And again those mandolin fills.
Less Is More
A sturdy rock groove carries some incisive Grittner lyrics and the guitar sounds great – Fuzzy simplicity! Great vocals!
Bible Belt Jesus
Don’t we all despise and pity these kind of people and their self-made bigot theology – And the Bible belt stretches all the way to Oslo, Norway!
This is a fascinating, cleverly constructed short story, full of suspense, and put to a funky catchy Hauenstein groove. A very cinematic song! I suspected a murder and was happily surprised this was about something else. Lovely song and great guitar.
Makes As Much Sense
Absurd verses about our absurd existence, and a refrain that makes sense of it all – Great stomping melody – Loved the piano.
Two Old Men
A great portrait – a bit sad, but mostly filled with hope. The melody is effortlessly catchy
Just A Little Blue Touch
One of the most harrowing tunes on the album. Understated, atmospheric guitar picking – The lyrics are a strong and down to earth description of the dreadful human condition. A title to kill for and wonderful vocals! – This song hit me hard.
A Malt, A Pipe, And An Old Guitar
Luckily the album ends on a more optimistic note – There is a cure (or three 😊) and there is still hope. This is the life philosophy this album’s journey has brought us to – Smoky and evocative – an instant classic!
So there you are – My stray thoughts! Thank you for a great and inspiring album.
I was sincerely moved by it – Keep them coming!
All the best