Oslo, Norway – Syng meg heim (Sing me home, FXCD 289) is the title of Sondre Bratland’s new CD. The
greatest icon in Norwegian vocal folk music has made a moving country music CD.
While some might think this quite a switch, the truth is that American country
and Norwegian folk music are close cousins. Some of Sondre’s earlier albums also
show this close relationship.
Many fans will remember “Luftslott i det bla” (Castles in the Air) on Kirkelig
Kulturverkste’s tribute to Hank Williams, or the version of Lead, Kindly Light
on the album Atterklang (Echoes). But what is new to this record is
Sondre’s refined style where country music is his closest reference. Sondre Bratland grew up in the back country of Telemark county, where Norwegian
folk music still holds a special place in the hearts of the people, and where he
was deeply influenced by family and folk traditions. But his idols when he was a
teenager were Hank Williams and Elvis Presley and no doubt this has influenced
his interpretations of Norwegian folk music.
For many years Sondre has also had a keen interest in Irish folk music. “Gje meg
handa di” (Give me your hand) is a wonderful example of one of many tunes he has
discovered in Ireland. The Norway – Ireland – US axis is easy to trace in
country music and runs all the way through “Sing me home”. The songs are from
all three countries, and songwriters include such greats as Johnny Cash, Hank
Williams and of course Sondre Bratland, in addition to Irish and Norwegian folk
The backing band, fiddle (Einar Mjelsnes), flute (Hans Fredrik Jakobsen), dobro,
lap steel, acoustic guitar and electric guitar (Knut Reiersrud), double bass and
electric bass (Gjermund Silset) and drums (Jan Inge Nilsen), clearly reflects
the country and pop connections between these three countries.