June 22, 2024

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CD review: Rita Engedalen – Sun Will Come – 2023: Video, CD cover

Rita Engedaeln is a Norwegian singer, songwriter and guitar player. She draws her inspiration from Mississippi Blues and American Roots Music. Here website lists this as her ninth album since 2004. Her work has received many an accolade in her home country, Scandinavia, and Europe, and she has toured the US on occasion.

All the songs here are originals except for “Black Cat Bone,” the classic Jessie Mae Hemphill tune. She appears here both solo and with her band Morten Omlid (electric guitar), Eskil Aasland (drums) and Bård Gunnar Moe (bass).

The solo cut “Let’s Go Down and Pray” starts the album. It has an almost Native America feel in it’s delivery as Rita sings, howls and picks with feeling. “Sunshine Devil” offers a bigger sound with the band and backing vocals and percussive support. A big electric guitar solo is featured here along with a driving beat and forceful vocals. “God Will Watch” turns the heat down a bit; it’s a bouncy and simpler tune with Rita upfront and the band in support. It’s got a western feel to the tempo, electric guitar and delivery. Some gritty harp gets added to the driving “I Wanna Feel Good Tonight.” It’s a rocking blues that gets your toe tapping.

“I am Changed” is next, a solemn and dream-like piece. Some very cool trumpet helps set the mood and tone here.  Well done! Next is the title track. This is a solo acoustic cut that hearkens tot eh Mississippi Delta. The lone cover “Black Cat Bone” opens with dobro and features two acoustic guitars and acoustic bass. It’s got a great rootsy feel to it with some sweet finger picking.

“North Mississippi Blues” follows, a driving cut with Engedalen and the band delivering a forceful performance. “The Right Hand” slows the pace down and adds some backing vocalists and Hammond organ. It’s got a spiritual sound to it as does the next cut, “Colors In Rain.” This cut featurea Rita and Tuva Syvertsen and Margit Bakken singing with her in a very traditional cut. The album concludes with  “Wait For Me,” an ethereal blues done by Engedaelen and the band.

I am most satisfied that I have managed to create an album with expressions and a musical landscape that I feel at home in, that is unpolished and has an honesty – just like what my songs are about! I am lucky to also have so many talented musicians with me who are able to create this musical statement. The recording has been worked on for almost two years, and has been created through all my musical expressions. Each song has its own language that takes it form in one or several of the varying blues’ voices such as gospel, rock, hill country blues, Americana, soul. The album has captured all my many musical landscapes! It feels credible.

Today I am working on our “Woman In Blues” 20th anniversary project, and I am in the middle of mixing a new single that will be released on Women’s Day, March 8, it is called “Let the Freedom come”. In addition, I will be performing concerts in Norway with the new songs from my album.

It was natural for me to have my own band Morten Omlid, Eskil Aasland and Bård Gunnar Moe with me on “Sun Will Come”, and I chose guest artists who could provide extra colors and moods to the recordings. For the remake of “I am Changed” Nils Petter Molvær as he has the nerve and an expression I wanted. My inspiration of Billie Holliday was reinforced by him, exactly as I hoped and wanted. I’m very happy I recorded that song again, especially since I haven’t been able to play it live for 14 years, as it had gotten too personal, and I easily could start crying on stage,- an interview with me said Rita Engedaeln.

There was great excitement in the blues community at Notodden when it became known that the UK’s “Independent Blues Broadcasters Associations” (IBBA) have selected Rita’s new release as album of the month in November. It means Rita’s songs from Sun Will Come will get airplay on 60 radio stations with listeners in the UK, France, New Zealand and the US in the coming month. It is the first time a Norwegian publication has been selected.

The Independent Blues Broadcasters Association is a co-operative body for presenters in British radio stations who host programs presenting blues and blues-related music. Today, 70 presenters are affiliated with IBBA. Every month, IBBA selects three releases to be the album of the month. The other two featured releases in November are Aynsley Lister’s “Along for The Ride” and Andy Linquist’s “Let’s Burn it Down”.

Sun Will Come was released during the Notodden Blues Festival this year and has been very well received by both the public and the media. Bluesnews reviewer Johnny Andreassen wrote the following: Rita appears more deeply African-American and Indian in soul, song and her blues than ever on the new album. It is a powerful performance in which nothing is indifferent or ‘just entertainment. A record with a lot of soul, blues, and a Rita Engedalen of whom Norway only has one!

The album contains 10 self-penned songs and is released on Bluestown Records. Most of it was recorded in the Juke Joint studio in Notodden, apart from the new version of Colors in Rain, which was recorded in Studio Paradiso in Oslo. This is an a capella recording with folk musician Tuva Syvertsen and Margit Bakken from Damer i Blues.

Rita’s seventh album and is produced by the “blues queen” herself and co-producer Bård Gunnar Moe. Others who participate on the record are Morten Omlid (acoustic and electric guitar), Eskil Aasland (drums and percussion), Bård Gunnar Moe (bass), Margit Bakken (choir), Tuva Syvertsen (choir), Kari Gjærum (choir) and Nils Petter Molvær, Olaf Olsen, Jostein Forsberg, Espen Fjelle, Mattis Kleppen, Halvor Halvorsen and Daniel Eriksen.

This is an interesting album. Engedalen’s blues are raw and offer up her take on the music of the music of the Mississippi Delta. If you are up for traditional blues in a slightly untraditional interpretation, then check this out…

Buy from here – New CD 2023

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