Thursday, January 4, 2018

The Straw Family ~~ Family Matters

I’ve learned never to anticipate what you might hear from a new group. If it’s someone you’ve been following for years, okay, you might be able to figure out what they might do next. Someone new? Forget it.
When one of my publicist friends sent me an e-copy of The Straw Family and as I read up on them I discovered they were from Denmark, a country noted for several musical traditions ranging from folk and classical all the way up to jazz and even metal. After all Lars Ulrich, the drummer for Metallica, hails from Denmark.
Even though I thought I was prepared for whatever I might hear from The Straw Family on their new album, Family Matters, I can truly say that I did not expect to hear some sweet country pop with some of the tightest harmonies I’ve heard for a long time. The Straw Family consists of family members Sally, Carsten, Henriette and Denise Fabricius and they are backed by a solid rhythm group made up of bassist Helge Solberg, drummer Carsten Milner, and guitarist Frederik Nordvang.
I don’t have further information regarding songwriters or any guest musicians, but will update if I find something out.
There is a lovely lilting nature to most of the songs on the album. The two sisters plus mom Henriette all have beautiful voices and they weave together to form a beautiful tapestry. I wish I could tell you who sings lead on which song, perhaps I can find out and pass that on as well.
The Straw Family would have been right at home in the folk-rock era that fused primarily Anglo-Celtic beats with modern lyrics and melodies. It’s a genre that unfortunately no longer commands the airwaves as it once did. That does not make the music any less enjoyable, and this album is one that anyone who enjoys sweet ballads and familial harmonies will enjoy.
The album starts off with Alive, a nice tight little rocker that slides easily into the more country flavored 1965. 1965 makes good use of what sounds like a lap steel guitar, but without verification I can’t be sure.
Speaking of guitars, the next song, Hot Sunny Day, has a wicked guitar intro and a couple of nice leads. The song itself takes on a slightly darker tone than most on the album. The follow up song, It’s Cold Outside, is a lovely melancholy ballad and I like the way they pair these two songs together to create an interesting juxtaposition.
Then to show the band has a funky side, they drop Bang Bang before performing two gorgeous ballads, Spider Making New Web and I Hope.
After that is Family And Friends, a song that is obviously very important to the group. I might say that it is the driving force of their personal and artistic philosophy.
The last two songs bring the album to a close, first a nice rocking number, To A Higher Place, which more or less brings them back to the style that started the album, and finally Dreaming, with its ethereal folk-style guitar and haunting vocals that truly showcase their music at its finest.
The Straw Family is just starting to make inroads on the airwaves in Europe and the UK, and I’m not sure if they have had much if any play in the USA. However, great music is not defined by airplay, and I hope that by spreading the word, they can begin to find success here.

To find out more about the group, be sure to check out their website: http://www.straw.de/. You’ll be glad you did. 
(For our Danish speaking readers, I have attempted to translate the page through the help of Google Translate. If I have said anything egregious, please be sure to let me know so I may correct it.)
Jeg har lært aldrig at foregribe hvad du måske hører fra en ny gruppe. Hvis det er nogen du har fulgt i årevis, okay, kan du måske finde ud af, hvad de måske gør næste. Nogen ny? Glem det.
Da en af mine publicist-venner sendte mig en e-kopi af The Straw Family, og da jeg læste op på dem, opdagede jeg, at de var fra Danmark, et land kendt for flere musikalske traditioner lige fra folkemusik og klassisk hele vejen op til jazz og endda metal. Efter alt kommer Lars Ulrich, trommeslager for Metallica, fra Danmark.
Selv om jeg troede, at jeg var forberedt på det, jeg måske ville høre fra The Straw Family på deres nye album, Family Matters, kan jeg virkelig sige, at jeg ikke havde forventet at høre noget sødt pop med nogle af de strengeste harmonier, jeg har hørt for lang tid. Straw Family består af familiemedlemmer Sally, Carsten, Henriette og Denise Fabricius, og de er støttet af en solid rytmegruppe bestående af bassist Helge Solberg, trommeslager Carsten Milner og guitarist Frederik Nordvang.
Jeg har ikke yderligere oplysninger om sangskrivere eller gæstemusikere, men vil opdatere, hvis jeg finder noget ud.
Der er en dejlig lilting natur til de fleste sange på albummet. De to søstre plus mor Henriette har alle smukke stemmer og de væver sammen for at danne et smukt tæppe. Jeg ville ønske jeg kunne fortælle dig, hvem der synger bly på hvilken sang, måske kan jeg også finde ud af det og give det videre.
Stråfamilien ville have været rigtig hjemme i folkestenens æra, der primært smeltede anglo-keltiske beats med moderne tekster og melodier. Det er en genre, der desværre ikke længere kommandoerer luftbølgerne, som det engang gjorde. Det gør ikke musikken noget mindre fornøjelig, og dette album er et, som alle, der nyder sød ballader og familiære harmonier, vil nyde.
Albumet starter med Alive, en dejlig stram lille rocker, der glider let ind i det mere landsmagede 1965. 1965 gør god brug af det, der ligner en lap steel guitar, men uden verifikation kan jeg ikke være sikker.
Taler om guitarer, den næste sang, Hot Sunny Day, har en ond guitar intro og et par gode leads. Sangen selv tager en lidt mørkere tone end de fleste på albummet. Opfølgningssangen, Det er kold udenfor, er en dejlig melankoli ballad, og jeg kan godt lide den måde, de parrer disse to sange sammen for at skabe en interessant sidestilling.
Så for at vise bandet har en funky side, slipper de Bang Bang, før de udfører to smukke ballader, Spider Making New Web, og jeg håber.
Herefter er Family And Friends, en sang, der selvfølgelig er meget vigtig for gruppen. Jeg kan måske sige, at det er drivkraften i deres personlige og kunstneriske filosofi.
De sidste to sange bringer albummet til et luk, først et dejligt rockingnummer, Til et højere sted, som mere eller mindre bringer dem tilbage til den stil, der startede albummet, og endelig Dreaming med sin æteriske folkestil guitar og haunting vokaler, der virkelig udstiller deres musik på sit bedste.
Straw Family er lige begyndt at sætte ind på luftbølgerne i Europa og Storbritannien, og jeg er ikke sikker på, om de har haft meget, hvis nogen spiller i USA. Men stor musik er ikke defineret af airplay, og jeg håber, at ved at sprede ordet, kan de begynde at finde succes her.
For at finde ud af mere om gruppen, skal du sørge for at tjekke deres hjemmeside: http://www.straw.de/. Du vil være glad for at du gjorde det.

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