Singer and songwriter Ottar B. Strangeland hails from MM’s motherland of Norway which is always a good start.
He (of the notorious punk rock outfit Haggis) fronts Deathbarrel, a project that was born while Ottar was serving time in 2011. It turns out that 90 days in jail is exactly the time needed to write a great country album inspired by some of the artists that have defined the outlaw country genre: Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard and David Allan Coe. So it was that Merciless Winds was born.
Now Norwegian outlaw country music may be a fairly small sub-genre of the roots music scene, but no matter because it is raw, uncut, and unashamedly masculine. It is the music of men who only have one flask of cologne, used only for weddings and for mother’s birthday, it is the music of men who like to fish and hunt (just like MM’s Uncle Finn up on the island of Sandnessjoen). Deathbarrel is the sound of wrenches and motor oil, of Saturday night beers and truckstops, of longing and loss, of late evenings and aching muscles, of endless roads and shore leave, of the dreams of freedom that all and any working man feels deep in his soul.
Grits and stale sandwiches, phone calls that were never returned, funerals you were too far away from, friends found and friends lost, outlaw country is the music of the harsh reality of life, it is the sound of plain saying, of the ugly sides of life that cannot be ignored. It is a self-confident snarl at conventions, at authority, at all and any that defines and confines life to what mainstream society wants it to be. It is rebel music.
What else? Well, Merciless Winds has a track on it called Saturday Morning Coming Down and Deathbarrel comes recommended by Rennie Sparks of the Handsome Family and Wattie Buchan of the Exploited. Both are stalwarts of MM’s iTunes. So, what more do you need to know other than play Deathbarrel loud. Skal!
Buy from Amazon here.
Download Deathbarrel – Merciless Winds mp3 (from Merciless Winds)
Download Deathbarrel – Walking Away mp3 (from Merciless Winds)Follow @madmackerel