The idea of a blues festival at the small town Hagan in Vestfold county was conceived one late night during Dark Season Blues at Svalbard. Four years later the wild nachspiel idea has grown into a well-run festival with a very good musical program. (Picture: Earl Thomas & The Coalminers).
Gráinne Duffy made her second visit to Norway, and it was nice to hear her again. She brought a tight and talented band, and they played both original material and cover songs like "I'd Rather Go Blind," "The Shape I'm In" and a tough, rocking version of The Rolling Stones' "Happy". She has a beautiful, soulful voice and makes a very good concert.
Trond Olsen Band had made the trip over the mountains from Bergen, and delivered a great concert. Daniel Eriksen came with his new CD, "Muddy Days" in his suitcase. He makes a fine set with his slide guitar and good band with drums, bass and baritonsax (Picture below). From Notodden came Trond Ytterbø with his friends. Ytterbø was wanted back by the audience after last festival's appearance, and he was also this time well received.
Knut Reiersrud made an exciting and compelling set of songs from his latest albums. Bassplayer Bjorn Holm was features on lead vocals on one song, – it is always nice to hear his beautiful voice. Reiersrud also managed to stop the rain, and it was suddenly much more pleasant at Hagan.
Last Norwegian band this night was Remme Brothers Band from Tranby. The band did a great set of dance-friendly music, heavily inspired by American southern rock. Drummer Cato Kristiansen has a wonderful voice, and the band played very good.
Earl Thomas Last artist on Saturday night was American Earl Thomas, who this time arrived with his English band, Coalminers, a young band consisting of musicians who individually have played with many famous artists. The band delivers pure 60s and 70s funky New Orleans music, but as we learned later, they had also picked up songs from Motown and other good old classic soul. With piano, two guitars, bass, drums and a horn section the band followed Earl through his songs. Earl Thomas demonstrated again the grip he has on the audience, and there was nobody at Hagan who did not love Earl this night! Travellers to Notodden Blues Festival this year will be able to experience this charismatic artist there.
A well-run festival Management at Hagan has over four years built up a very well run festival. It is simply very pleasant to attend this venue outside Drammen! The sound was taken care of by Peter Lundell, and as allways he delivered high-quality sound for both audience and artists.
Text and photos: Nina Hanssen