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.
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 😉
This has been a great year with lots of stuff happening. I made 4 EP albums with 4 different producers, the wonderful guys in my backing band. And all of you chipped in and funded the releases so that we were able to finish the project. 4 ass-kicking metal bands did 4 ass-kicking cover albums of my EPs and one of them actually released a video too (or rather will release in a few days so I’m cheating by telling you now) Badmouth made a video of their cover of my song “To watch the bridges burn”, check it out here!
Throughout the year I have worked hard to get an artist visa to the US, and thanks again to my wonderful fans who helped out with house concert contracts and letters of recommendation I finally got my visa and packed my things and went to Florida in November. In December my big “Drivin’ & Dreaming tour” took off and I’ve now been all around Florida playing in different venues. One unexpected thing that I experienced is that I had at least a few loyal fans show up for every gig. I didn’t know there’s be so many of you!
Throughout the tour we’ve had the RV break down and fixed, nothing major yet thank God. We’ve been invited to have dinner with Greg and Michelle of The Refinery, Tampa, for southern shrimps and grits at Sian and Otis’ in St Petes and to stay the night in a really cool A frame cottage with Doris in Melrose to mention a few of all the lovely people we’ve encountered along the way.
It’s now time to say good bye to Florida and head up to South Carolina and Georgia for January. Many new experiences are to come, many new shows to be played. We’re heading into new states and a new year. In January my new album “The Owls Are Not What They Seem” will be released and I hope you will continue to support my tour as I go through America in my old RV – Drivin’ and Dreaming.
I’ve had a pretty fab first week touring. We’ve been on the west coast of Florida and it’s been great. Not to mention the RV life. The RV turned out so nice after we fixed it up and it really feels like a home now. Especially since we got the brand new queen size bed and the cozy king size duvet. And it’s so nice to wake up to different places every day too. One day it’s on the beach, the next in a fruit tree garden. I’ve even overcome my fear of driving the beast.
This week I played at the Independent in Tampa and St Petersburg. Got invited to a real southern lunch at Otis and Sian’s place and was treated to a great massage at the Warm Mineral Springs where I did a sold out intimate concert at the spa café. Yesterday was a long day with two gigs. One in the daytime at the Flamingo Flea Market in Bonita Springs and later on a house concert followed by a bluegrass jam. Bluegrass seems to be the melody of this neighborhood and even though I tried to pitch in, I think I’d better stick to folk music. But Roger Borg who set me up with the gig treated us all to some awesome Swedish meatballs, so I felt right at home anyway.
Thanks to all who came out to see me this week. To everyone who has been so kind to invite us to their homes and to all the venues!
Don’t miss out on downloading me free Christmas single and support ActionAid in their fight against poverty here:
2. Write your suggestion on the post dedicated to the competition
The name of the tour should not be related to any of my albums and can be totally creative, fun, serious, weird, fantastic or anything you choose it to be. You can write as many suggestions as you like. The chosen name will appear on the website, posters etc. To participate, you have to post your suggestion on the competition post in the VIP group, no other suggestions will be taken into consideration.
(we keep the right to not appoint a winner if we don’t find a suitable name amongst the suggestions)
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.