Unmistakably Nordic in flavor, Sofia Talvik somehow still conforms to American interpretations of her own original music, a North Sea siren blending sparkle and melancholy, creating a special niche of folk music.
I missed out on my gig at the Super Happy Funland SXSW after party in Houston this week as my tour bus broke down in Austin, but Space City Rock blog did a really great write up for the gig. I hope people found out in time that I couldn’t make it. I’m playing March 25th at Dun Bros Coffee in Katy, TX instead if you want to come and see my show.
If you’ve followed me on Facebook before you know that I enjoy cooking (understatement!) and like to post pictures of whatever food I make. In the RV it’s a little bit more challenging to go on any culinary adventures. I try my best but work space is limited as well as cupboard space and having lived in this thing for about two months I’m not quite stocked up on spices and tools either. We’re also on a budget whereas at home we almost never got around to eating those leftovers.
But as someone said – musicians tend to find each other everywhere, so it seems foodies do too. On this tour so far we’ve been invited for some lovely meals, both in people’s homes and to restaurants – something that we starving artists always appreciate. In Tampa we happened to meet the chef/ owners of the hot new restaurant The Refinery which has been written about in fancy publications such as Condé Nast Traveller. They invited us for dinner, the day after my gig at the great beer bar The Independent, and by chance their neighbor had dropped off a couple of pheasants which they prepared for us.
In Birmingham, AL I visited the radio show Oh Brother and the owner of MIX, a very nice bakery/restaurant in downtown wrote on my facebook wall and invited us for lunch. We had some great gumbo but was most impressed by the gorgeous sour dough breads that they had for sale. Good bread is something that’s very hard to find here in the US I think. I might be spoiled though because back in Sweden the bakery of the Swedish champion in bread baking is just next doors to my apartment.
When lunching at MIX the chef and co-owner Phil Dupont came out to say hi and all of a sudden we were invited to his upscale restaurant Cafe Dupont for dinner. We were totally blown away by the beauty and atmosphere at Cafe Dupont but even more so by the food. My favorite was the tuna starter (I’m a sucker for good tuna and Asian flavors) and Jonas favorite was the veal starter. And don’t get me started on the Cosmo!!!
In New Orleans we’ve been taken out to experience the best of the city by our newfound friend photographer Marc Pagani, who not only showed us the Hi Ho Lounge, made us the strongest drink ever but also took us for a culinary tour at La Petite Grocery on Magazine street. Food and ambience was great and I’d go back anytime if I could.
We ended our last night in NOLA with a visit to Lola’s, an unpretentious little Spanish restaurant in Mid-city which was also very enjoyable. We really had our mind set on the authentic kitchen of Liuzza’s by the track but unfortunately they were closed on Sunday’s. Good thing we already had the catfish po-boys and beignets the days before.
But as enjoyable restaurants are the most satisfying is a really good meal you’ve cooked yourself. I never thought I’d do the Swedish cabbage rolls in the RV (the best kind of comfort food) but that’s what I did the other day. And people who think you have to live off microwave meals and eat off paper plates are either too lazy to use their kitchen or just not creative enough. I even made a quick version of beef teriyaki the other day. Or how about some Vietnamese salad wraps?
If I’d just have some more space and would be able to find fresh yeast I’d be baking too. Actually it’s probably just the lack of yeast that stops me 😉
Last chance saloon for all of you that haven’t pre-ordered your copy of my new album “The Owls Are Not What They Seem”. You have until midnight tonight to get your pre-order or you will turn into a pumpkin or possibly an owl. The only signed physical albums that will be available are the pre-order ones. After January 31st you’ll only be able to get the digital version of the album.
“…Not dread but a connection with our past is what we feel, a thread running back to the artless creatures we once were when we first heard the oboe-like notes from the Great Horned Owl. In Paleolithic times, we suspected omens in its voice, heard in it questions we were unable to articulate, but which have stayed within us, incomplete and taunting. We are certain that ancient, taloned bird sees what we do not, knows what we never will. And some night, silent as a gliding feather, its immensity will engulf us at fireside to tell us things we want to know as well as those we don’t. In the shadowed forest we’re pulled by that lurking and alluring ghost and we are enthralled.”Welcome to Twin Peaks: Access Guide to the Town
2011 was a busy year for me. I worked hard to get an artist visa to the US, preparing for a tour that might go on for as long as two years. At the same time I wrote and recorded a new album. Now that I’ve landed in my tour in the US it’s also time for my new album to land. “The Owls Are Not What They Seem” is a collection of 12 new songs. My musical journey started out in 2004 when I recorded Blue Moon and me and my musicians all gathered in a basement studio in Stockholm recording acoustically and almost all the instruments at the same time. After that I tried a more common way of recording in layers, adding instruments upon instruments. For my third album I hired a producer, Tobias Fröberg and for my fourth album Florida i experimented with a bigger soundscape with more drums than I had ever used before.
For “The Owls Are Not What They Seem” I went back to basics. After having done an acoustic solo tour for my album Florida Acoustic in 2010 I felt I was in my best element when I was playing and singing at the same time without the restrains of headphones and click-tracks. So I decided to make an ablum that was the essence of that me. Just something I could record in my bedroom without the pressure of a big production, time and opinions from others. All the songs on “The Owls Are Not What They Seem” are recorded that way. Me – playing and singing at the same time, then sparsely adding other instruments to enhance and highlight where I thought it was needed. My goal was to keep it down and make an acoustic album with a live, organic feel to it. I had no interest in changing the world or inventing something new. I just wanted to make a beautiful acoustic album. And here it is: “The Owls Are Not What They Seem”
I’ve just started booking my US tour, starting in Florida in December, and first of all I have to say how amazed I am by these quadrillion of music venues. It seems like every café, restaurant, library and music lover hosts concerts. I’m also amazed how many of them are folk venues, or at least host folk music as well as other genres.
In Sweden nobody even knows what folk music is, here it’s fiddles and Orsa spelmän (if you all want to know what happened to ABBA after the 80’s). (I guess I’m not being totally fair because people here have heard Fleet Foxes and mostly the folk genre is called singer/songwriter here though I don’t think it’s totally right.)
Once in an interview the reporter asked me how I would define my music, and I answered “americana/folk”. When I read the published interview my answer was American funk. That says something about Sweden and folk music. But in the US, folk music almost seems like a cult. And here I am ordering feather hair extensions tuning my Luna guitar. I will probably fit right in!
So anyways, coming from a country that may be small but is really big when it comes to music export (again with the ABBA) I must say that Sweden is a puny country when it comes to live music. I was wondering the other day how many people would actually be confident enough to host a house concert here in Sweden. To actually let musicians and other people into their homes.. I mean what would the neighbors say???
So it’s really uplifting to see how many venues there are to chose from in the US. Unfortunately I’m not alone with this knowledge and I’m competing with so many bands. I just have to pray that I stand out in the crowd and that all these people will find it in their hearts to invite me to their homes, their cafés, libraries, galleries and what not.