Whether you are looking for the undemanding sound of Classic Rock Radio or the deepest immersion into music, Sugarfoot from Trondheim delivers an amazing fifth album.
Deleted Waveform Gatherings was the talk on the town at Bylarm 2007 in Trondheim. The psychedelic pop act had a thing of their own as the Norwegian music business, independent talent and Nordic neighbours gathered in the 3rd largest city of Norway.
It's been seven years and four albums since guitarists and singers Øyvind Holm and Hogne Galåen parted to start Sugarfoot. They brought Holm’s old keyboardist from Dipsomaniacs, Thomas Henriksen. Roar Øien on steel guitar is best known from the folk country band Too Far Gone. Bassist Bent Sæther is one third of indie rock band Motorpsycho, which twice went country in its expanded alias band The Tussler Society, from where Sugarfoot found drummer Even Granås.
The initial idea was to explore country and folk rock, but on the fifth album, the presence of southern rock and west coast undeniably suggest the spirits of Dan Fogelberg, Tom Petty and The Eagles are not far off.
Opening track “The Nightingale” even evoke fond memories of “Go To California” from Motorpsycho’s 2001 outing Phanerothyme, and the progressive classic “Roundabout” from Yes Fragile of 1971. On the track “Mighty Pharaoh” even The Doors interferes with my affairs of listening to Sugarfoot.
Don’t get it wrong: these are merely nods of acknowledgement to the Trondheim indie A-team gone classic rock/country. Sugarfoot simply passes an extreme quality test. And these Anglo/American traditions have a vast history with a high standing in Norwegian music.
Tracks like “All Dried Up”, “A Reposessed Blues”, and the single release “Hungry Man” are instant classics you would never expect to hail from 5,000 miles north by north east off Austin, Texas. And maybe they really did not travel all the way.
As it happens, these Norwegians went to California to record their two most recent albums at Rancho De La Luna in Joshua Tree out in the Mojave Desert.
The Santa Ana as the album title is a great guide for the listener. The winds from the interior, from the wild west, is symbolic. In west coast classic rock, characteristic instruments such as the Wurlitzer piano and wah guitar are vital. Sugarfoot’s adding of steel guitar and harmony vocals from inland folk and country creates both originality and crossing associations.
Best of all, the bounty of association is jaws dropping friendly — with a bite. We can discuss all the qualities until we get blue in the face. When it all comes down to it, The Santa Ana is engaging listening no matter the mood.
Sugarfoot plays country, classic rock and blues with highest credibility, both separately and in various blends. Mainstream and alternative knit a seamless shape that can warm musical hearts at everything from rock festivals to country dances.
Want to listen to something nice, this sounds nice.
Something exciting, this sounds exciting.
Pretty? - Yes!
Raw? - That too.
Crazy beautiful? - You bet!
Radio Friendly? - Yessiree.
It is both clever and scruffy. The variation is just great, nowhere near splayed. The varied impressions shorten the perception of time time. In the end, it is unbelievable that the last track suddenly is replaced by silence after more than 15 minutes.
Øyvind Holm (vocals, guitars)
Hogne Galåen (vocals, guitars)
Even Granås (drums, backup vocals)
Bent Sæther (bass, backup vocals)
Roar Øien (pedalsteel)
Thomas Henriksen (organ, piano)
Origin: Trondheim, Trøndelag (Map)
New album: The Santa Ana
Record company: Crispin Glover Records
Genre: Classic Rock Folk Country Rock
Home page: sugarfoot.no
Social Media: Facebook @sugarfoothome,
This Love That We Outwore (2012)
Big Sky Country (2014)
Hans Stenøien & Sugarfoot — Tonight We Bloom (2015)
Different Stars (2016)
The Santa Ana (2017)