How Sweden Became A Surprising Enclave for Country and Roots Music
Starting on May 15th, Bloodshot Records recording artist Sarah Shook and the Disarmers will take the songs from their critically-lauded record Years on a tour of Sweden and parts of Norway. The tour consists of a total of 23 dates over a month-long span, but this isn’t part of an extended European tour where the band will hit a multitude of countries over a grueling month and travel many square kilometers. This is a very specialized and dedicated tour in a specific region of Scandinavia with half the population of Texas, but a much larger appetite for traditional country music per capita than even in country music’s country of origin.
This isn’t an unusual occurrence for a traditional country or Americana band from the United States to plan such a tour in Sweden these days. In fact it’s pretty commonplace. Sam Outlaw, Anderson East, and Trampled By Turtles are also planning runs through the region this summer and fall for an extended period. Other traditional country artists such as J.P Harris, Corb Lund, Nikki Lane, Bob Wayne, The Deslondes, Tyler Childers, Jack Grelle, and Whitney Rose have made the trek to Sweden recently, as have Americana names such as Justin Townes Earle, Otis Gibbs, and even big stalwarts like the Drive By Truckers, Jason Isbell, and Sturgill Simpson.
We’ve known for years that per capita, Europe is a better support center for independent country and roots music compared to the United States, with venues and festivals in the U.K., France, Germany, Italy, and beyond full of thankful and appreciative fans hungry for American artists, and willing to go the extra mile to support authentic music. But something is brewing in Sweden specifically that is helping to give rise to one of the strongest, most vibrant enclaves for country music outside of North America, and is even inspiring Sweden’s own native traditional country performers who quality wise compete on an equal playing field with their American counterparts.
A promotional company and record label called Rootsy has been helping to put it all together, enticing some of the best of country and roots music far distances to play for Swedish country music fans, and helping to create a foothold for country music on the European continent. Rootsy opened a booking agency called Rootsy Live in 2009, and started pairing up country and Americana names from the United States with local talent, cross breeding name recognition across continents, and creating a thriving scene for country and roots in one of the most unexpected places.
For some American artists, Sweden has become the power base for their careers. In 2014, the story of country music singer and songwriter Doug Seegers being discovered by a Swedish television program while homeless on the streets of Nashville became one of the most touching stories of the last few years. Once a promising songwriter in Austin, Seegers fell on hard times. After his exposure to the Swedish market, Seegers became somewhat of a superstar in Scandinavia.
Now Sweden is the home market for Doug Seegers, and where he plays live most often. His 2015 record In Tandem with Jill Johnson released on the major label Capitol wasn’t even promoted in the United States, and can only be purchased physically in the US via import. It was dealt with as a Swedish release. Where Doug was never able to make it in America as a country performer and ultimately became homeless on the streets of Nashville, Sweden offered Doug Seegers a home.
Country music in Sweden is not a new phenomenon. An artist by the name of Red Jenkins was cutting songs about Texas and doing Outlaw country covers starting in 1974 with his album Neon Playboy. Throughout the 70’s and into the 80’s, Red continued to record and release country records such as Texas Honky Tonk, King of the Honky Tonks, Red Jenkins in Nashville, and others that have become cult favorites, setting the table for the appeal for country music we’re seeing in Sweden today.
Red Jenkins did country music so well, he became well-respected in the United States. In 1991, Johnny Paycheck recorded Red’s song “A Violin That Has Never Been Played.” Red has also regularly collaborated with Amber Digby. In 2015, Jenkins released a new record called Stone Country—a duets album with appearances by Willie Nelson, Dean Dillon, Johnny Bush, Red Stegall, Amber Digby, Leona Williams, and others.
The efforts of Rootsy and early Swedish artists have resulted in homegrown country and roots talent from Sweden making their mark locally, regionally, and internationally. Most know about First Aid Kit, whose song “Emmylou” helped make them international superstars throughout Sweden, Europe, the United States, and beyond. Their adoption of an American roots sound has helped open markets to roots music beyond English-speaking markets. But that’s only the beginning.
There are now numerous Swedish country and roots bands, often doing traditional country music as good or better than their American peers. The Country Side of Harmonica Sam has become a well-respected traditional country group stateside, participating in Dale Watson’s Ameripolitan Awards, and wowing even the most hardened and skeptical traditional country fans with their steadfast and studios articulation of classic country. The band’s 2017 album A Drink After Midnight was considered one of the best in the traditional country music space of the year.
Country Heroes from nearby Norway is another project that has American listeners blinking their eyes in disbelief that the band is not from the United States. Their 2017 record Southern Insecurity, and the recently-released Honky Tonk Tears prove the efforts of Scandinavian bands are not just close approximations. Of course some gets lost in the translation, but their ability to understand country music and deliver it in original songs is something even most domestic artists struggle with. There have always been bands from Europe trying their hands at country music. What’s unique about the Swedish phenomenon is how skilled many of the bands are at perfecting the traditional country sound.
But the Swedish movement is not just confined to traditional country. A current traditional bluegrass band called The Spinning Jennies bears striking resemblance to the bluegrass greats of old, even though unlike the aforementioned Swedish artists, the Spinning Jennies choose to sing in their native tongue. The music still translates though, just like it has for generations of Swedish fans listening to a distinctly English-speaking art form.
You can almost get in trouble trying to list off all the country bands in Sweden since they’ve become so numerous lately. Albin & the Honky Tonk Express is another more traditional style country artist from Sweden that has been doing it for years. So is Hold Your Horses, which just released a new, strikingly-good country album for a Swedish band called Broken Bones and Shattered Dreams. The Green Line Travelers is another band that has been recognized by Dale Watson’s Ameripolitan Awards. Cina Samuelson just released a couple of songs ahead of a full album later this year. And Fami is another who just released a new self-titled album that features a more rocking-style of Swedish country.
The record label behind the Rootsy booking agency has also helped to foster the Swedish country scene by launching the Willy Clay Band, who brings a bit more of a contemporary and Americana feel to country, as do other bands such Basko Believes and Ellen Sundberg who’ve all found support through Sweden’s burgeoning roots channels and tour routes.
Zooming in on what is happening in Sweden and the emergence of a vibrant and supportive music scene for traditional country and roots artist proves the universal appeal of the music. Artists from the South and West, and from rural regions of the United States will always have a greater claim to the sounds and sentiments of country music than others. But the appeal to listen to and perform country music should never be inhibited by international borders, or any other arbitrary delineation, whether it be race or anything else. What’s happening in Sweden right now is proof.
Country music is for all, and as long as there’s a true appeal for the music in your heart, it doesn’t matter who you are, or where you’re from.
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Apologies to any Swedish artists not mentioned here. Feel free to chime in with suggestion of other Swedish country artists and bands via the comments section.
May 3, 2018 @ 12:31 pm
Love this! Yet another reason to go visit Sweden. This just demonstrates what a truly global village we really are. What’s an ocean or two, between friends?
May 3, 2018 @ 12:36 pm
Wait till they get a taste of Sarah Shook..
Saw her Sunday.. What a show!!
Bill from Wisconsin
May 3, 2018 @ 5:42 pm
Yeah you made me go watch her KEXP session. Entire band is awesome.
May 3, 2018 @ 9:15 pm
You just made me check it out and I loved it!
May 3, 2018 @ 12:37 pm
I remember the first time I ever heard “Love Is All” by The Tallest Man On Earth. If I wouldn’t have googled him, I would’ve assumed he was a folk singer from North Carolina, or Virginia, or someplace south. Never would I have guessed music like that would’ve come from Sweden. But dang, I am impressed with the Swedish sense of good music.
May 3, 2018 @ 12:54 pm
I don’t mean to make this into a political discussion but it seems they have alot in common with the U.S. when it comes to outdoors and country way of life. Like U.S. they have a culture that involves guns, military, and the outdoors. I guess I just mention this because country music goes hand in hand with a rural lifestyle, so it makes sense that they have a hunger for real country music.
May 3, 2018 @ 11:40 pm
The Scandinavian culture does not involve guns and military! Quite the contrary. We love the outdoors though. 🙂
May 6, 2018 @ 11:30 pm
Sweden havn’t been in a war for over a hundred years, Swedish gun ownership is super low,
May 8, 2018 @ 7:57 am
That’s not actually true: Swedes hunt a lot and have one of the highest rates of gun-ownership in Europe. My (Swedish) brother-in-law shoots moose in the woods around his house and makes it into delicious Swedish meatballs. And, believe that even as Swedes have been neutral, they very much value the NATO alliance and are weary and ever-ready for war with their larger Russian neighbor! There are enough nuclear shelters for every man, woman, and child in Sweden and until recently, serving in the army reserves was mandatory. But, where we really differ is that Swedes don’t see the need to arm themselves to the teeth in their homes with military-spec weapons. After all, they have the police and the military for that, staffed by reliable fellow Swedes! Swedes have a high level of social trust, believe in cooperative solutions, and apply “lagom” (moderation) to everything. So, while they really love and appreciate America and American culture, they do wonder why we’re a little angry and extreme sometimes…
May 8, 2018 @ 8:34 pm
I am Swedish. I know about Sweden.
And, I should be clearer, even if we have pretty many hunting rifles, we don’t almost any hand guns. And we have super strict laws around how the guns are used, sold, etcetera. It’s not easy to get a gun licence in Sweden.
And, Sweden isn’t even a part of NATO and have never been? We have a super small army, and even tho we have a draft almost no-one that doesn’t want to have to do army training.
The gun culture and the war culture is totally different, As i said, Sweden haven’t been in a war since 1814, and that was against Norway. I have no friends who have handguns (even if I know some hunters).
May 9, 2018 @ 3:51 am
Hey you’ll get no argument from me, there! Note that the majority (2/3) of Americans don’t own a single gun, rifle, handgun, or otherwise. So, there just isn’t a *single* “gun culture” in the US. In Sweden, too, the idea of even having a hunting rifle in Stockholm is as alien/exotic as it would be for most New Yorkers. My family are “Swedish rednecks” from Värmland, so they live differently, and think people in Stockholm are full of themselves… a familiar story to Americans 🙂
I would push back on the “war culture,” thing, though. It’s too simplistic to split countries into “good” and “bad.” Sweden is a famously “good” state that then and now often secretly acts “bad” (for good reasons).
It’s more useful to think of national interests than morality in foreign relations. Sweden is small and extracts the maximum benefit from playing neutral, while operating in implicit alliance with stronger Western powers to counteract its primary foreign threats: Russia and terrorism. Maybe things were different back in the 17th Century, when all the Nordics were one and had their own empire and were a European power in their own right. But, today, you can’t operate as a country of 10M around other heavyweights without a lot of compromising.
Sweden was as “neutral” in WWII as Switzerland was and the US was prior to 1942… that is, not very. I’m not assigning blame with the unfair benefit of historical hindsight, because the circumstances probably required it, but the Swedes did allow the Germans to march right on through to Norway. And, Swedish volunteers were forward-deployed during the Winter War in Finland, alongside the Nazis. The Danes and the Swedes cooperated and emerged unscathed with generation-long economic miracles through the 1970s. The richest industrialists in Sweden very much profited off active cooperation with the Nazis, selling essential iron ore, etc. And, only in the last generation has it even been acknowledged. The Norwegians and the Finns, meanwhile, paid a heavy price for fighting off Nazi aggression (including in the Post-War period). That was all pragmatic more than a principled decision. It had little to do with a “war culture” or a lack thereof. For Sweden and Switzerland, both, “neutrality” is actually a matter of cleverly playing both sides. Is it any surprise, given the constraints that small countries like Sweden, Switzerland, Ireland, Portugal, et al face?
And, far from being a totally pacific humanitarian power, Sweden has the third largest arms exports per capita after Russia and Israel, and is one of the largest suppliers of weapons in the world. Saab only exists today as an arms supplier. So, it not only splits the difference diplomatically and militarily, but it also makes a lot of money of wars elsewhere.
Yes, though technically Sweden hasn’t been in NATO, it’s certainly an active ally of the Alliance as a member of the Partnership for Peace for the last 25 years… and de facto since 1949. Sweden’s military is small, but capable, and well-aligned with other Western forces. In 2011, Sweden participated in the Libyan campaign, contributing non-combat aircraft. It has also contributed to the NATO presence in both Afghanistan, Kosovo, Bosnia, and Serbia. Sweden has also forward-deployed Swedish troops in Africa as part of both new EU and Nordic rapid response forces. Since 2014, NATO troops can train on Swedish soil and are allowed to fight in Sweden in response to foreign threats. So, in essence, Sweden is de facto in NATO, and always has been, given the implicit security guarantee. More Swedes now support NATO participation than oppose it, and maybe for good reason, given Russia’s increased adventurism.
Lastly, and most controversially, Sweden has been an active participant in Global War on Terror activity, aiding CIA renditions of suspects from Swedish airports.
Again, I don’t clarify this to condemn Sweden for hypocrisy or warmongering. Sweden’s stance on both gun ownership and security is very pragmatic and considered. It has managed to do exactly what a government should do: maximize its peoples’ safety and prosperity in a complex world, And, indeed, that “adult” way of looking at complex challenges that face society is more useful for countries like the US to learn from than a simplistic black-white, good-bad, violent-peaceable stereotype.
May 3, 2018 @ 12:58 pm
Germany also has good country bands, bought an album a couple of years ago from a band called Slow Horses, sound great. Just the UK is split into one lot of oldies thinking there is nothing after Jim Reeves and the other having no idea what so ever as long as they could linedance!
One of the reasons I stopped gigging as a country band was we were reviewed as playing rock and roll songs. I looked through our set for that night to see no rock and roll and asked the guy did he know Webb Pierce Johnny Horton and Lefty Frizzell, and was told “no, where they there?”
I would rather play Country to biker clubs than country clubs, as they understand it.
May 3, 2018 @ 2:03 pm
Not only Sweden the other scandinavian countries too.
Arne Benoni recorded a couple of albums in Nashville with guests like Lynn Anderson. In the late 80’s he had 1 or 2 songs on the Billboard charts & he is still active.
Heidi Hauge will release a new album soon (A Little Bit More – 05/14). Arne Benoni & Heidi Hauge recorded a duet album too.
Big Ole P & Lil’Missy released an 8-track alt-country EP (05/27).
New York born Tamra Rosanes lives in Denmark & is a well known name here (Current Album: Wine Me Up – 2017).
Jill Johnson is a big star in Sweden with gold & platin records.
The Lucky Lips blend country with bluegrass & released an EP & three albums so far.
Gina Michaells was born in Asia, moved to Norway & a couple of songs are on Youtube.
May 3, 2018 @ 2:08 pm
Bear Family Records out of Germany, makes the best compilation albums out there. If there’s an older artist you like, chances are they have a product that will put any state-side compilation to shame.
May 3, 2018 @ 2:30 pm
Surprising, seeing as how they’ve been under im
May 3, 2018 @ 2:31 pm
*surprsing, seeing as how they’ve been under invasion the last few years
May 3, 2018 @ 2:36 pm
Great write Trigger! This article has opened me up to other artists. I knew about The Countryside of Harmonica Sam, but I discovered artists such as Red Jenkins, Hold Your Horses, Albin and the Honky Tonk Express, Cina Samuelson, and Spinning Jennies.
May 3, 2018 @ 2:54 pm
May 3, 2018 @ 3:28 pm
Elephant: “Are they country?”
I say “probably.”
May 3, 2018 @ 3:43 pm
Heck yes! Proud to be 1/4 Swedish! I’m visiting the motherland this summer. Will have to see if anyone is playing nearby.
May 3, 2018 @ 4:39 pm
Thanks to all who have put names of Swedish and other European country acts in their comments here. I will have a lot of fun hunting them down (online) and giving them a listen. Cheers!
May 3, 2018 @ 6:28 pm
The only thing I don’t like about this surge is that I haven’t been able to see Sam Outlaw, Michaela Anne, or Whitney Rose live because they’ve been hitting the tour circuit hard over there. It’s all fun and games until my favorite artists spend extended time in Scandinavia.
May 3, 2018 @ 9:12 pm
I recommend a blog called americana-uk.com
They cover all the great Country/Roots music being made outside the United States
May 3, 2018 @ 9:18 pm
I’ve spent many nights nursing a vodka and listening to country music while crying over a very tall Swedish man. Maybe he’s also done it about me.
May 4, 2018 @ 12:32 am
If your into southern rock, check out RebelRoad!
Awesome southern rock band from countryside of Sweden!
New album out soon.
Also on Spotify
May 4, 2018 @ 8:27 am
Just checked out their last album on Spotify. Good stuff
May 4, 2018 @ 12:41 am
Belle & The Brothers, The Green Line Travelers, As good as brothers, Roy Handcuff
May 4, 2018 @ 1:35 am
Trailerpark Idlers, a Swedish band that’s been around since 2006….
May 4, 2018 @ 1:59 am
Here are a few more awesome swedish acts from the south
Turf rollers (SWE/DEN)
Original five (SWE)
May 4, 2018 @ 2:56 am
It’s fantastic, being a country music lover in Sweden at the moment. Such great people enabling us fans to see awesome acts all year round! Thank you Rootsy, Northern Trail, Out On The Rise etc for bringing the artists over here and thanks SCM for noticing this great movement. SO looking forward to see Sarah Shook and the Disarmers when they arrive. And STHLM Americana festival in June will be a blast!
May 4, 2018 @ 3:04 am
F that, I want to hear about the Iranian country music scene.
May 4, 2018 @ 9:09 am
I’ve covered that too 🙂
May 4, 2018 @ 4:58 am
With the amount of metal bands and the growing number of country bands in Sweden, it seems like the entire country plays music. Do they have a strong musical education program in schools or is music more engrained in their culture. Maybe it just seems like that from the outside looking in but I can say after over 15 yrs listening to metal, I’m still coming across Swedish bands I never heard of.
May 4, 2018 @ 9:08 am
One of the very fundamental reasons Sweden and many European countries support authentic music more is because of the dedication to music education, and to public funding of music programming in media.
May 6, 2018 @ 2:55 am
I won’t speak about Sweden, a country I never visited. But in the case of France, music education don’t exist. In school programs, sadly, music and artistic education, in general, are almost inexistent (it’s the same thing, unfortunately, with the sports). From elementary school till high school, I can testify that musical education was almost inexistent. And if music had to be learnt in educational programs, I think that country music would be the last genre studied. Personnally, I discovered country music for my own, maybe thanks to movies or series, and my government has nothing to do with that. It’s exactly the contrary. If I hadn’t watched “Dukes of Hazzard” on my tv screen when I was young, and O’Brother, a lot of years after the series, I think I would never had known this genre. Thanks for this article, it’s excellent!
May 6, 2018 @ 12:22 am
I also think the size of a country plays a role. Smaller countries have less people to please in terms of where the dollar gets spent. And it forces people closer together so one is not able to divide as easily like we do with state borders and such.
May 6, 2018 @ 11:35 pm
I work at a school in Sweden. Every school age child must have some music lessons, it’s a part of our curriculum. Also, many parts of Sweden have state subsidized “schools for culture” where you can learn to play an instrument or something like that for pretty cheap.
I trained theater for 10 years in such an program, my best friend growing up played Saxophone, a lot of people I know trained in flute or guitarr.
May 4, 2018 @ 6:04 am
I think Baskery deserve a mention.
Three Stockholm sisters with great energy, playing in that area where indie rock and Americana merge
They spent a lot of time in Nashville,
and I heard they signed to Warner USA some time ago, but it seems that deal fell through?
Also the Netherlands are a place where Country is huge. Artists play tours there with twice as many dates and way bigger crowds then on their German tours despite Germany having four times as many people. Us Germans, we’re lagging a bit behind some other European countries there. Still, at least bands like, say, The Devil Makes Three are pulling way bigger crowds over here than any Nashville Machine Pop Country slime ever could. That stuff is not even being ignored here, it’s too far off the radar for even that.
While I’m talking about artists US and European carreers:
Dave Eugene Edwards of Sixteen Horsepower and Wovenhand is revered as an icon over here in Europe. But I don’t think I’ve ever seen his name on SCM? Man, in the 90s, Sixteen Horsepower were, like, THE band that most turned me onto independent roots rock music with their banjos, slide guitar, century-old bandoneon and Southern Gothic vibes. They became near-superstars in France. I need to have a Sixteen Horsepower youtube session right now! Is it true, are they really nearly unknown over in the states?
May 4, 2018 @ 6:18 am
Doug Seegers is a find. Jill Johnson is a wonderful singer. Are there any Swedish country bands that try to bring American instruments into Swedish folk-country music?
May 4, 2018 @ 7:55 am
Abalone Dots that i could think of. Bluegrass and with swedish folk music.
May 4, 2018 @ 9:09 am
May 4, 2018 @ 9:09 am
Wow! Doug Seegers’ album “Going Down To The River” is amazing. Now that is real country music. Thanks Trigger for another great suggestion.
May 4, 2018 @ 4:24 pm
I’m not sure what you mean with “American instrument” but I assume you mean steel guitar, mandolin, auto harp and banjo. And the only band I know that is using both steel guitar and at times auto harp and mandolin and who are not a “traditional” country band that is First Aid Kit they use the steel guitar on almost every song, but they use it in a quite liberal way (most of the times). In these two songs they used in a “traditional” way.
And here less traditional 🙂
And their steel guitar player also play a little mandolin but in a very basic maner he’s far from an expert… 🙂 The steel guitar is his main instrument but he can play almost anything that has strings.
And this is the only time Iv’e seen he played Mandolin throughout a whole song. I should say that this performance was quit improvised and unrehearsed It isn’t on their standard set of songs. So their singing isn’t exactly flawless… But they do sing with a lot of enthusiasm 🙂
May 4, 2018 @ 6:55 am
Great article. Thanks for exploring the country music of Sweden.
May 4, 2018 @ 7:33 am
We swedish people has a big tradition in couple dancing (foxtrot) and dancing in generally , and this kind of music was – and is – intended for dancing to. Most swedish “dansband” has obvious influence from Honky Tonk music and Elvis. It’s easy to dance to and you feel the rhythm. Now it’s more pop and rock of course.
Musicians in Sweden in generally is leaning more to bluegrass and folksy strains than honky tonk style. It may be coming more and more but people like Red Jenkins is still rare. I don’t even look for swedish music cause i don’t even expect good music, besides rockabilly.
Rockabilly music is more popular and associated with what we call “raggare”, cruising around with cars and drinking beers, but i don’t do that.
It’s not only Sweden who is in to that roots music, Netherlands and Croatia too i heard.
May 4, 2018 @ 3:28 pm
Yeas and here is Swedens Wanda Jackson 🙂
May 4, 2018 @ 8:27 am
Two female singer/songwriters that could fit in this category. First you have Mikaela Finne (half finnish) who only sings in english. Album called Journal. And then you have Erika Jonsson who sings in Swedish. It was just completely random i bumped into and heard of them a few days ago.
Album Country Crush.
May 4, 2018 @ 8:46 am
Yep, the last sentence of the article says it all. Sounds like Sweden understands Country Music better than Nashville.
May 4, 2018 @ 8:56 am
Awesome article Trig! I found out first hand the love Europe in general has for independent artists due to my grandfather years ago having a top hit over in Germany and even still to this day I’ve randomly come across European sites selling his album and songs. It’s just a shame that many of our artists have more respect over there then countryside
May 4, 2018 @ 9:25 am
Thanks for that article Trigger…And damn it you know a lot more about Swedish country artist in than I do…But there are few things I can add. For example we have country music magazine that is called Kountry Korral Magazin and the first issue came out 1968 so that magazine turn 50 this year!”
And I think that makes it the oldest (printed) Music Magazin in Sweden… They have a web page but it’s mostly used for info about the magazine, they don’t have any articles online
And someone who really should be mentioned is a fiddle player who has done a lot for bluegrass in Sweden. His name is Thomas Haglund and he began studying for a professor in classical music then he was four, but when he was eleven he heard bluegrass for the first time and got hooked immediately. He was touring with Jimmy Martin in the mid 70’s. And he has taught people bluegrass in Sweden for many years. And has played the fiddle on about 900 records…
He’s playing fiddle in this video, sadly the only one with him that I have found on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljzLfJL0Brw.
May 4, 2018 @ 9:50 am
Doug Sahm spent quite some time in Sweden and had great success back in the 80’s. Maybe it’s time to start looking into some Sweden radio apps playing some of these tunes. Good music is good music and it sounds like the Sweden area gets it. Pretty cool.
Bigfoot is Real (now that's country!)
May 4, 2018 @ 12:26 pm
Here’s props for any mention of Doug Sahm. His Doug Sahm and Band album is a stacked masterpiece https://www.allmusic.com/album/doug-sahm-and-band-mw0000739245
May 4, 2018 @ 11:21 am
Then you have Ben Carbine & The 18 Wheelers from Skellefteå where i come from. Nothing new under the sun, but they rock that country sort of a thing.
May 4, 2018 @ 1:15 pm
Doug Sahm, love that sound! Just like The Mavericks and Raul Malo. Amazing stuff!
May 4, 2018 @ 1:24 pm
Somewhere in the basement along w the other records I haven’t listened to in years is a Red Jenkins trucking record.
May have to dig that one out.
May 4, 2018 @ 4:53 pm
The politicians are ruining our wonderful country. Borders are wide open and asylum seekers are getting here from all over the world. No passports, no information about birthdates, no fingerprints. In a few years, our music tradition will start to slowly disappear. Other cultures will be a priority. The main reason for Swedes playing country-oriented music making a mark in the US is the fact that traveling over the pond has become more available with low airfares and web-based search engines. Some of the mentioned artists have made frequent trips to Nashville and the rural south digesting the country culture and spread their music locally, guest appearances @ local honky tonks, visiting studios and making connections. However, most of the artists over here playing country music play mostly covers.
Oil prices are going up, probably with effect on air travel before too long. We must enjoy our lives here and now, but don’t be surprised when you see reports from Sweden like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vO9vBHZRBQ4
Glad you found something worth writing about from our country music scene here in Sweden! I enjoyed JP Harris and Sturgill Simpson when they were here with their bands a few years ago!
May 6, 2018 @ 7:29 am
May 6, 2018 @ 7:58 am
The United States probably has a similar alert like that for every country in the world. It’s because the US is obsessed with security, and doesn’t want to be blamed if something happens.
May 4, 2018 @ 8:52 pm
isn’t Seasick Steve over there too?
May 4, 2018 @ 11:58 pm
Thanks for an interesting article Trigger. Around where I live, on the west coast of Sweden, I have shows with (among others) Sarah Shook, American Aquarium, Sam Outlaw, Jason Isbell, and Trampled By Turtles to look forward to this summer. Country/americana is doing very well here in Sweden.
May 5, 2018 @ 6:52 am
Dang Trig, thanks for turning me on to Doug Seegers. Sad that the guy couldn’t make it in his own country…. Our loss is Sweden’s gain
May 5, 2018 @ 10:54 am
Great article! I’m from Sweden and saw Doug Seegers live this past summer. Kikki Danielssons last couple of country albums are great.
May 5, 2018 @ 11:07 am
Charlee Porter – just released new music after some years!!
May 5, 2018 @ 11:34 am
a bit off topic, but……. unfortunately, live music and musicians in general are valued more highly, and treated better, in Europe than here in Canada and the US.
In North America, If you’re looking for gigs, you’re often going to be treated like a bum asking for a handout.
Blackberry Smoke have a sizeable following over there, and take their neverending tour across the Atlantic now and then.
May 5, 2018 @ 11:36 am
I forgot to say…. very interesting article.
May 6, 2018 @ 12:24 am
I suggest all ya’ll go watch the video of First Aid Kit performing Emmylou for Emmylou and the Swedish art festivals awards or something. The respect going both ways was magical.
May 6, 2018 @ 8:44 am
Here’s the link: Polar Prize 2015 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hi5A9OCAyIk
May 6, 2018 @ 2:30 am
As whole an intresting and well written article. But if you like me like neo-traditional country from the late 80’s/early 90’s you got to be prepared to take a lot of flack – don’t expect to many of your fellow Swedes to tell the difference between Alan Jackson and his music or any bro-country act of today.
May 6, 2018 @ 4:08 am
Sorry for being a bit late with this post, because they are really are worth mention.
It’s a band called Downhill Bluegrass Band and they been around for 20 years now. This is a medley from a bluegrass festival.
And finally here they are doing Gillian Welch “Orphan Girl” with a female duo called Good Harvest.
And here is two videos with Good Harvest They might become big at least here in Sweden. Some music critics call them americana but to me they are more Folk pop.
May 6, 2018 @ 6:14 am
Not Only country music. There is also a bazillion good rockabilly band. One really good Hawaii band https://youtu.be/rCfZ3XimGyI and even a great mexicanacountry band https://youtu.be/HBJKaSdf0b8
its just a long tradition here to love everything american
May 7, 2018 @ 12:38 am
Agree I’ve posted videos from him earlier. But why one more:
May 6, 2018 @ 11:01 am
“Drink After Midnight” was awesome. That kind of country music makes me happy. Thanks for posting!
May 6, 2018 @ 2:17 pm
Do not forget Molly Tuttle that regular tour Sweden with The Goodbye Girls. Best Swedish bluegrass is btw found in Östersund, Sweden, The Blue Mountain Boys.
June 4, 2018 @ 8:32 am
That Harmonica Sam outfit, man that’s some hard stuff right there.
August 28, 2018 @ 1:21 pm
I apologize for being late to this party — just came across this great article, and sorry I missed it when it was first posted, but I was on my way back from a tour in Sweden. 🙂 Been going over there for almost 20 years, and I can’t say enough about the wonderful musicians there! I’m so glad you mentioned Cina Samuelson. She is such a great singer, and one of the sweetest people you’ll ever meet, as well as her husband/guitarist Johnny. Cina’s brother Berra plays Texas dance hall pedal steel better than half the guys in Texas. There is so much love and respect in Sweden for real country music. They also have some of the best rockabilly pickers I’ve ever heard. Anyway, just wanted to thank you for the nice write-up on my second favorite country!
December 31, 2018 @ 1:01 am
Listen to Swedish Charlee Porter: https://soundcloud.com/user-224440208/ride-with-me-2
December 23, 2019 @ 2:03 pm
Check out Mike Rathke’s new single:
“The Dawning Fire”: https://youtu.be/DNYvou7xhck
May 13, 2020 @ 7:05 pm
Well, I have just found this article and I am glad I did! I envy Sweden & Norway for their love of traditional American Country music. I am a traditional country song writer from San Antonio Texas. I must say, traditional country music in San Antone is deader than dead. I fondly remember the strong traditional country music here in the 1960’s & 1970’s. It seemed like everyone played in a little C&W band on the weekend at a local small beer joint. It was truly great and it is truly gone… long gone. Can anyone in Sweden, Norway or Germany ect, refer me please, to your music labels and publishers? I would like to pitch my traditional C&W music to them. As I have written in one of my song lyrics, ” I don’t like what’s coming out of Nashville and Nashville doesn’t like whats coming out of me”. It is true. I have a 1960’s C&W honky tonk styled dance song on you tube, if anyone wants listen to an independent traditional country song writer. My song is titled ” (You Only Cry) Honkytonk Teardrops”. I hope you enjoy it. Again, I envy you and wish you keep Traditional Country Music alive forever !