For Blind Willie 2022
This release is my way of celebrating the memory of one of the most important figures in early blues and gospel - the great Blind Willie Johnson - who would have turned 125 this year. The recording of his masterpiece "Dark was the night, cold was the ground" (recorded in my favorite recording year, 1927) can be found on the golden records onboard Voyager I and II and was added to the National Recording Registry in 2010, which selects recordings annually that are deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". Although his music is often very hopeful, when you look back at his life, hope is not the first word that comes to mind. Willie wasn’t blind at birth but became blind at seven years old. Exactly how it happened is uncertain, but one statement is that his aunt accidentally threw lye in his eyes. In his older years a fire took his house, but him being poor and blind and black he wasn't left with much else of a choice than to stay and live in the ruins of his old home. Living in this environment gave him pneumonia which subsequently led to his death. But his beautiful music just might live forever - forever floating in space.
Faceless Evil, Nameless Fear 2021
Bror Gunnar Janssons senaste skivsläpp är hans tyngsta och hårdaste hittills. Men, paradoxalt nog, också det mest smäktande vackra. Likt en svit rör sig albumet från känslosamma stråkpartier till tunga riff, och ibland uppstår tillfällen då allt verkar vilja spricka sönder.
Med sitt nya album Faceless Evil, Nameless Fear berättar Bror Gunnar en historia om bestialiska mord, sjukdom och konsekvenserna av korrupta polisers handlingar (bland andra finns Kapten Klänning och George Floyd med). Men också om stark och oförstörd kärlek. Han pendlar mellan allas vår verklighet och sitt eget mörka universum. Musiken, som är mindre blues än tidigare, andas post-grunge, stoner och post-blues på ett sätt som för tankarna till White Stripes, Kyuss och Jimi Hendrix.
I denna postmoderna era kan det tyckas vara svårt att sticka ut. Men att flyta med strömmen har aldrig varit ett alternativ för Bror Gunnar Jansson. Något som snabbt blir tydligt vid en lyssning på Faceless Evil, Nameless Fear, men också hans tidigare album. Han flyter mellan genrer som vore de vatten. Eller snarare luft. För Bror Gunnar är musik lika viktigt som luften vi andas. Vilket hörs. Och känns.
Bror Gunnar Jansson’s newest release is his heaviest but perhaps also his most hauntingly beautiful yet. The whole album is like a suite moving from emotional strings to heavy riffs and freak out moments.
With the new album Faceless Evil, Nameless Fear he is spinning a tale of corrupt police officers, grim murders, weird deaths, diseases and even love! Jumping between our real world and his own dark universe. The music is less blues than his prior releases and more of post-grunge, stoner and post-blues in the style of White Stripes, Kyuss and Jimi Hendrix.
In this postmodern age it is not easy to stand out, but fitting in has never been an option for Jansson. It's imminently clear when you browse through his albums. He floats between and around genres and styles like it's water, or rather air. It's clear that music is as important for him as the air we breathe.
Faceless Evil, Nameless Fear — a presentation
The first track, Prelude, is actually composed by my father Kjell Jansson. This is a short piece written for cello and double bass. Kjell is mainly a jazz musician and composer who has toured with greats such as Chet Baker, Dexter Gordon, Monica Zetterlund and Totta. And you can hear him in bands such as Mount Everest and The Groove. They Called Him A Righteous Man is written part thanks to Jonas Trolle (police officer and auther of "Jakten på Kapten Klänning". I Can't & Breathe are dedicated to George Floyd and the lyrics of Breathe are Floyd's own last words. The streaming revenue of this song goes to Amnesty International. Please! is a grim murder story told by the victim itself. Partly inspired by the M.O. of one of America's worst serial killers. Interlude is another short piece written for for cello and double bass but this one is composed by my dear friend Emma Augustsson. Cancer an epic song about one of our worst deceases. Eat Me! is probably the silliest song I've ever penned - at least so far! It's about a man who takes too literally on the expression “you are what you eat” and therefore decides not only to eat his own flesh but also offer himself for others to eat of. Spray It! is a very personal song for me and I usually don't like to be private in public. But at the same time, many of my songs are written as a reaction to what's happening around me. Spray It! is about my partner, our baby and myself. It’s one of very few love ballads that I've done. But for being a love ballad it's quite a lot of rock'n'roll and not that much of a ballad, I guess. At the same time Spray It! is a bit of an homage to the Swedish stoner band Truckfighters but even more so to the White Stripes. In fact, if you're a real inveterate White Stripes fan you might hear that I've taken inspiration from a specific song - can you hear which one? We Don't Care is almost an instrumental song inspired by bands such as Kyuss. As you can pretty much tell Spray It Again is an instrumental sequel to Spray It! The last piece of the puzzle of Faceless Evil, Nameless Fear is another short piece by Kjell Jansson. My and Kjells original idea for these two short pieces was for them to be before and after We Don't Care. But as I was working with the album I realized that it would be a better fit to frame the whole album with these two short pieces. And they are also part of suite featured on Kjell's latest album The Groove Extension II.
The Cotton-Eyed Joe 2020
Det finns hundratals versioner av denna klassiker. Och det finns förstås en historia att berätta. Låt oss ta den baklänges. 1994 släppte Rednex sin version av låten. De var dessutom påhittiga nog att påstå att de själva är upphovspersoner. 1959 gjorde Nina Simone en vackert smäktande ballad av denna danslåt, som alltid på sitt unika vis. 1947 spelade Bob Wills and His Texas Cowboys in en svängig tagning av låten. 1927 spelades den för allra första gången in av Dykes Magic City Trio. 1875 är äldsta nedtecknade referensen till denna låt. Och låten har sitt ursprung hos de afro-amerikanska slavarna under 1800-talet. I år, 2020, ger sig Bror Gunnar Jansson på denna odödliga klassiker bland sånger ur historien.
”Jag har gjort min version som en ursäkt för Rednex historielösa stöld och en kärleksförklaring till låten och dess ursprung”, säger Bror Gunnar. ”Populärmusikens arv är sprunget ur de afro-amerikanska folkkulturyttringarna som gjordes under 1800- och början på 1900-talet, och det kan aldrig nog understrykas.”
Bror Gunnar Jansson’s rendition of the old American folk classic song is haunting and fresh, giving it a new angle that is still true to its African American roots. And pretty far from Rednex’ worldwide hit version from 1994. With origins from the 19th century, the song has had many interpreters since the first recording was released by Dykes Magic City Trio in 1927.
“My version is an apology for Rednex’ ignorant theft but also a declaration of love to the song and its origin,” Bror Gunnar Jansson says. “Western popular music stems from the Afro American culture from the late 19th, and early 20th century, and that fact cannot be stressed enough.”
Recorded January 2020 by Oskar Karlsson at Elementstudion. Illustration by Bläck & Bokstav. Photo and design by Anton Andersson. Released at Playground Music.
They Found My Body In A Bag 2019
“A masterpiece” - Journal du Sud fribourgeois La Gruyère, FR
Bror Gunnar's brand new release is what one could call True Crime Music. Many of the songs are based on known criminal investigations and most of them from Sweden. One case in particular was indeed literary close to home. With a knife killer breaking into people's home on the same street where Bror Gunnar lives. The title song is based on the gruesome murder of Catrine da Costa in 1984. Where the Police found the remains of a woman in a couple of garbage bags ditched by the side of a road in the outskirts of Stockholm. All body parts were found except for the head, and the perpetrator was never found.
Musically Bror Gunnar puts one foot in grunge and rock'n'roll, but keeps one foot steady in blues and folk soil with this album.
This album is not an example of someone making entertainment out of other people's misery, but rather a way to cope with the world we live in, and to tell the stories of these victims and of the crimes they've been subject to.
“It’s swamped in a visceral, instinctual charm, and Jansson solidifies himself as one of the great storytellers of this generation.” - Jason Scott, B-sides & Badlands, USA
“A blues genius descending from the North” - Journal du Sud fribourgeois La Gruyère, FR
“Impressive, bewitching, disturbing. And fantastic.” – www.gaesteliste.de , DE
And The Great Unknown, Part I & Part II 2017
It’s a dark and lonely road. Bad people. Strange religions - with even stranger rituals. A journey. A landscape. This is a cold land, with cold soil. With murderers, power hungry war moguls and religious fanatics. O’ death where is thy sting? The Devil’s waiting just around the corner. Watch out. Watch your back. Do you really think you’re safe? When you’re asleep, do you think you’re safe?
Vinnare av Manifestgalans pris 2018 i kategorin Singer/songwriter. Motivering: "Närvaro, intimitet, nerv. Förmågan att trollbinda lyssnaren med en avskalad ljudbild och själfull sång. Rotad i traditionen men med ett uttryck som är här och nu."
Album of the week (Album de la semaine) in Canal+
“[...] where performances are like the circus and the music is an entire universe that you can enter.” - Mikael Timm, Kulturnytt Sveriges Radio P1.
Moan Snake Moan 2014
“The revelation of the year.” - Stéphane Deschamps, Les Inrockuptibles.
“Dark, screaming, poetic.” - Brian Banks, It's A Psychedelic Baby Magazine.
“Moan Snake Moan is an outstanding collection of alt-blues, and propagated roots that evolve and seep, roar and weep, and remind you that the next time someone tells you the blues and its permutations are tired and gone, you can tell them to shut it and listen to this. An absolutely brilliant album.” - Rick Saunders, Real Deep Blues Blog.
“Jag är stum av beundran inför Bror Gunnar Jansson och hans skiva. Så pass att jag inte lyckas få alla lovord på pränt. Det här hör nämligen till det bästa jag någonsin hört. Jag lyfter på hatten och önskar Jansson all lycka och välgång. Fast det gör jag mest av egoistiska skäl eftersom jag vill ha fler skivor av honom. Och det genast!” - Daniel Gustavsson, Lira Musikmagasin.
“[...] bound to inspire the scores to many horror movies.” - Boston Blues Society.
Song "One For Earth" featured in Netflix movie "The last days of American crime" (2020).
Song "Moan Snake Moan, Pt. I" featured in SyFy's TV series "Happy" (2019).
Song “Ain't No Grave” featured in USA's TV series “Damnation” (2017).
Album of the week (Album de la Semaine) in Canal+
This release has both specific sound and design. Recorded live, by the great Jonas Olpers, just before a gig at Jonssons fik & butik in Enviken, Sweden 2013. It was recorded using only one microphone and directly onto the tape of an old 1930s or ‘40s tape recorder. The record is a wax dubplate, which means they aren‘t pressed, but cut in real time on thick black wax. The cover is handmade and this EP was only released in 49 numbered copies, and was sold out the same day as it was released.
Bror Gunnar Jansson 2012
His debut solo album. Six original songs, one traditional murder ballad and a version of Richie Hart’s rhythm and blues song “Heartaches and Troubles”. This was recorded live-in-studio by Christoffer Johansson during a weekend in 2012.
"I don't know how well known Bror Gunnar Jansson is in the States, but from listening to this album, I think he deserves to be at the top of the heap of Dark Blues interpreters today. He certainly won't be stuck in the frozen North of Sweden for long. Not with songs this hot! Seriously, people, book this dude in the States. I want to see him play live!" - Steven P. Wallace, Hearth Music/No Depression.
"Hade Bror Gunnar Jansson varit amerikan hade han blivit utgiven av Fat Possum Records jämte T-Model Ford, R.L. Burnside och Junior Kimbrough. Och tro mig, det är den nivån han ligger på. [...] en av årets bästa skivor." - Peter Sjöblom, Tidningen Kulturen.
Song "William Joseph Dean" featured in Netflix movie "The last days of American crime" (2020).
40 Years - Bear Family Records 2015
2012 Bror Gunnar Jansson - S/T
2012 Serve You Right To Suffer - S/T
2013 Various - Sounds of Woody
2014 Bror Gunnar Jansson - 8" EP
2014 Bror Gunnar Jansson - Moan Snake Moan
2015 Various - 40 Years
2016 Det Blev Handgemäng - Bugalú
2017 Bror Gunnar Jansson - And The Great Unknown Part I
2017 Bror Gunnar Jansson - And The Great Unknown Part II
2019 Bror Gunnar Jansson - They Found My Body in a Bag
2020 Bror Gunnar Jansson - The Cotton-Eyed Joe (Single)
2020 Bror Gunnar Jansson - Breathe (Single)
2021 Bror Gunnar Jansson - Faceless Evil, Nameless Fear