NEWS & EVENTS
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-AMERICANA SONGWRITER DUO FROM NORWAY-
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Lonesome Highway, Ireland
This duo from Norway has one previous release, Broke in Brooklyn, which was greeted with much critical acclaim in 2012. The talents of Kjersti Misje, guitar & vocals, blend seamlessly with Rune Hauge also on guitars and vocals and the supporting players are very expressive and inventive in the subtle sounds and colour they bring to the arrangements. The production is very warm and the music blends light jazz with country and folk leanings.
Both vocalists are excellent as they trade lyric lines, never more so than on the salutary race tale of Lena Baker and the opening cover of Bob Dylan’sForever Young. There is also a great cover of Robbie Robertson’s All La Glory and a gentle working of the traditional song Wayfaring Stranger.
In between, we have seven songs penned by singer/songwriter Rune Hauge and his words are very well crafted on songs like Wind of Plenty, in memory of a deceased friend, No Man’s Land, a tale of the restless wanderer and My Father Used to Say, a moving tribute to his father and his words of wisdom.
The backing players add some wonderful touches on fiddle, mandolin, piano and the strings on selected tracks are really embracing and add character. A real joy from start to finish and a collection that is highly recommended.
Written in music, Belgium
Cis Van Looy
At the beginning of this summer the Norwegian duo “Millpond Moon” performed a modest European tour and made a stop in my village. This concert took place in the local station, transformed into a Book Shop/ cafe. Kjersti Misje and Rune Hauge previously impressed with their voices on “Broke In Brooklyn”, a wonderful full- length album. After the concert, they entrusted me with a copy of their new album.
The album called “Time To Turn The Tide” has been residing all summer long in my cd player, and as it is now becoming fall, it's the ideal time to evaluate such a sophisticated acoustic work and to really appreciate it. Moreover - Millpond Moon are once again on the road in our region.
Misjes angelic voice and Hauges less polished voice build a sharp contrast and at the same time create an exceptional complementary fullness. Add the rather remarkable fingerpicking technique of Hauge, which has the support of a fiddle, mandolin and double-bass by “good folks” from the Norwegian music scene and this musical team takes us down a spotless and smooth track.
After the opportunity to duet on a transformed version of “Forever Young” by Dylan, follows a handful of compositions by Hauge.
At the first listening my preferred songs were the calm “Wind Of Plenty”, “Lena Baker”, the sad story about the fate of a single woman in Georgia shortly after the Second World War, and the melancholic reflections on “No Man's Land”. The duo also does very beautiful things with “All La Glory” of “The Band”, which turns into a jazzy adaptation, and Wayfaring Stranger. The compositions by Hauge remain effortlessly upright in between all these treasures and end on the downright stunning last piano ballad called “My Father Used To Say”.
Late for the sky, Italy
Paolo Crazy Carnevale
In my long relationship with Dylan´s repertoire, I´ve heard hundreds of versions of the master´s tunes revisited by his colleagues. Both big names and unknown, some were carbon-copy-like, others were great reinterpretations, others genius master strokes . I honestly didn´t think I could find a «Forever Young» of this caliber, as in my opinion Dylan´s two versions on Planet Waves were as good as the tune could get, and yet I´m here to praise the cover that Millpond Moon opens their album with.
Kjersti Misje is gifted with a good voice, and Rune Hauge (I assume the duo´s mastermind) has a voice that blends nicely with his partner´s, and he plays the guitar with great taste and skills. To make this acoustic jewel happen, they get help from some fellow countrymen and a few Americans: Rickie and Ronnie Simpkins and Kenny Malone, and the result is exceptional. 45 minutes spread out through 10 tunes (or the other way around if you prefer), wonderfully supported by the acoustic sound of Hauge´s guitar and the various mandolins, fiddles, mandolas, dobros, cellos and basses. If it was not for Malone´s light percussion and the piano on one of the tunes, we could say we´re in front of the quintessence of string instruments.
After the Dylan cover we hear original compositions like «Wind of Plenty», the title track with a taste of old time, the excellent «Lena Baker» with a beautiful vocal duet of the two main characters. Great contemporary folk, but bluegrass too, if only for the instrumentation, not really for the singing which takes a turn from Kentucky´s blue-colored grass. Another couple of covers are worth mentioning, «All la glory» by «The Band», and the traditional «Wayfaring stranger» which has been covered many times, but in the end what matters, what sticks out is the ability of the band to find its own sound, whether the tunes are original or covers.
That´s a great quality to have!
The second release of the Norwegian duo ‘Millpond Moon’ is subtly beautiful, sophisticated and nearly perfect with seven self penned tracks, the traditional ‘Wayfaring Stranger’ and two magnificent covers of seventies classics, being Bob Dylan’s ‘Forever Young’ and The Band’s ‘All La Glory’.
Vocalist Kjersti Misje and vocalist, guitarist and songwriter Rune Hauge, are two musicians from Bergen, Norway.Together they form the folkduo called «Millpond Moon» that released their debut album "Broke In Brooklyn" in 2012. On that album they covered Bob Dylan's classic "Blowin 'In The Wind" in a subtle way, and their musical work is also respected beyond Norwegian borders, which has resulted in performances across Europe and even in the US.
Their latest album "Time To Turn The Tide" has just been released and consists of ten songs where Rune Hauge has written seven songs. They´ve also chosen the old traditional «Wayfaring Stranger», that should not be missed on their repertoire. The two remaining songs are covers. The first song is remoulded into an almost unrecognizable interpretation of the song "Forever Young" by Bob Dylan from his album "Planet Waves" in 1974. The second cover, «All La Glory» written by Robbie Robertson, is even older and is borrowed from the album "Stage Fright" in 1970 by «The Band».
The songs on this album were written over a period of three years during their worldwide tours, and the recording of the songs took place in Norway, the UK and America. On the video in this review you can listen to an audio recording of the song "Time To Turn The Tide" - the album title track of this CD by Millpond Moon.
The warm, but sometimes a bit thin sounding, folk voice of Kjersti Misje excels later in "Wind Of Plenty" and in the narrative "Lena Baker" about the last woman, in the US state of Georgia , to be executed in the electric chair. Together Kjersti and Rune sing in the duets "Kitty Cat" and "No Man's Land".
The typical folk instruments heard most often on the songs of this album, are Rickie Simpkins on fiddle and Øystein Fosshagen on mandolin. Sigurd Hole and Ronnie Simpkins plays the bass, and Kenny Malone plays drums and percussion on the whole album.
On the track «Modi», a song about the Italian painter and sculptor Amedeo Modigliani, and on the beautiful final song called "My Father Used To Say», there is pianowork by Helge Lilletvedt, and a genuine stringquartet is also added.
Countryfolkrock by Millpond Moon
Kjersti Misje and Rune Hauge is often referred to as Norway's answer to Julie and Buddy Miller, but Millpond Moon also offers a diverse and delicate compote in the wide country folk and singer-songwriter genre.
Vocally the two couples also remind of each other, though Millpond Moon points more in a jazz and blues direction, like in the quiet «Modi», - but with more of guitar and violin in the final touch.
Rune Hauge has written most of the songs. The history of the African American woman Lena Baker, who was executed on false grounds in 1945 for shooting a white man who mistreated her, also stands out.
The interpretations of Bob Dylan's "Forever Young" and the traditional "Wayfaring Stranger" must be some of the most beautiful ever done.
On "Time To Turn The Tide", the second release by Kjersti Misje and Rune Hauge in the Norwegian duo called Millpond Moon, I would like to use the definition "Unremarkable good!"
This is the successor of the already published album "Broke In Brooklyn" in the autumn of 2012, and the music they offer is of the type that you could almost miss and slip by in an unguarded moment. It´s only after a few devotional listenings it strikes you how nuanced the duo are in their songs and in their ways of performing them, - to such an extent that their approach almost continuous reaches perfection.
In the company of both Norwegian and American top notch musicians, from both bluegrass and jazz genre - including Rickie and Ronnie Simpkins (Seldom Scene) and Kenny Malone - one reaches ten particularly pleasant sounding strokes of Americana. Seven of them are Hauge originals, the other three are covers of the traditional "Wayfaring Stranger", Bob Dylan's "Forever Young" and "All La Glory" by The Band.
What stands out in virtually all the ten songs are uncommonly beautiful vocals. Misjes velvet voice and the soft-gritty voice of Hauge seem like made for each other. How they complement one another really is heavenly! For example, just listen to their jazzy sounding rendition of Robbie Robertsons song "All La Glory" and the immediate and subsequent apparently lost artist "Modi", - you'll probably understand what we mean.
Ideal listening for the late hours, as the burden of a long and tiring day slowly falls from your shoulders.
Country Jukebox, Germany
Norway may not be a large country and the density in the population is not exactly spectacular, but it is characteristic for the taste of it´s inhabitants on one hand, and the musical quality by Kjersti Misje and Rune Hauge as a Singer/Songwriter-duo on the other hand, when they receive, without exception, rave reviews for their work .
Time To Turn The Tide is the title of the second CD release of Millpond Moon -this Americana-couple from Bergen, and it is extremely soulful, jazzy, discreet, intimate and outstandingly orchestrated
After the opening track "Forever Young" by Bob Dylan, songs from their own pen follow. The duo create fragile and sonically transparent spaces that are filled by the two protagonists with life, feeling and poetry.
Opening an album with Bob Dylan’s ‘Forever Young’ might be considered a risky move but Millpond Moon go on to cover Robbie Robertson’s ‘All La Glory’ so I felt that I had to stick around and see what sort of a job they made of it.
Millpond Moon are an Americana duo from Norway and if you haven’t heard of them: well, they played Glastonbury in 2004 so you’re about as unhip as I am. Most of their songs are written by Rune Hauge who shares lead vocals and strong harmonies with Kjersti Misje as well as playing some rather tasty acoustic lead guitar. They have some friends in support, of course, notably Rickie Simpkins on fiddle and drummer Kenny Malone – he played on Dobie Gray’s ‘Drift Away’ by the way.
Top among the original songs are ‘Lena Baker’, the story of the last woman to be executed in the electric chair in Georgia. That was in 1945 and you might not be surprised to learn that the state granted her a full pardon sixty years later. The other standout is ‘Modi’, a tribute to Modigliani, “the last true Bohemian”. This is one of two songs in which Millpond Moon employ a string quartet to enrich their sound.
As far ‘All La Glory’ – it sounds very good in its stripped-down form although some of the words still don’t make a whole lot of sense. Yes, I understand what it’s about but even so. Millpond Moon’s second album is sufficiently varied and very enjoyable. Yes, I like it.
A beautiful and balanced album.
The duo of Kjersti Misje and Rune Hauge, Norway´s answer to the country/roots-success Buddy & Julie Miller, continue to supply us with bluesy and intimate country and roots songs by international standards. A lush experience that sounds more «Nashville and the Appalachian mountains», than «Bergen and The Seven Mountains». Totally honest and heartfelt music that feels like a perfect soundtrack for late intimate evenings, where lyrics really touch you if you listen carefully! Add elements of British/American folkmusic - from the Canadian sisters McGarrigle to Richard Thompson's wife and partner in the 70s, Linda Thompson - then you´ll get an idea of the authenticity of the musical world that the duo provides and which they perform on tour.
«Time To Turn The Tide» is a beautiful and balanced record. Not as low keyed and intimate as previous the album, but a beautiful and acoustically lush listen about dusty roads, vibrating emotions, memories and the journey we all can feel like we´re a part of. Acoustic guitars, supplied by Rune Hauge in a pure «Union Station-style», creates the fundament of the sound together with the natural phrasing in the vocal changes between him and Kjersti. Just like you have experienced Julie & Buddy Miller, but more purely acoustic, with a more distinct European sound towards folk traditions that blends beautifully with the Nashville-nerve.
Appearing on the album is the highly sought-after percussionist Kenny Malone known from hundreds of recordings - including Bela Fleck and Alison Krauss, and solo-albums by Jerry Douglas. Also Norwegian quality musicians like Arild Andersen-inspired Sigurd Hole who deliver top-notch double-bass. He is well known in the Norwegian Jazz scene from bands like «Eple Trio» and «Tord Gustavsen Quartet».
There has always been a «Bluenote» in Rune Hauge's voice and songwriting, and on this album he gives us several new pearls in the vein of the the singer/songwriter genre. Especially, the low-keyed and personal last song "My father used to say," the energy and exchange of words between Kjersti and Rune on the title track "Time to turn the tide," and also the jazz -infused melancholic gem "Modi". This is music on a timeless and beautiful level, that you become more and more fond of each time you play it.
And where Rune lets other songs be a part of the album , he does it with ingenuity. Bob Dylan's "Forever Young" has been covered by many artists, including Rod Stewart and The Pretenders, but I guess Millpond Moons version is one of them Bob himself would like the best. Robbie Robertson's "All la glory» from «The Bands» 1970 album «Stage Fright» is lesser known to most people, but fits perfectly in this setting. And the traditional country-song "Wayfaring Stranger" is one of the most popular in this genre previously covered by both Emmylou Harris, Johnny Cash, Neil Young and Steve Earle. A great company that Millpond Moon certainly does not get lost in.