The shockingly great alt-country of Norway’s Olav Larsen & The Alabama Rodeo Stars (Hyena, March 13)

Olav Larsen & The Alabama Rodeo Stars are a happy aberration. First off the name is absurd. Olav is from Norway and his band has probably never set foot within Alabama. Secondly Olav is black, which probably doesn’t matter in Norway but sadly I’m not sure how he’d fare in the deep south playing this music. Finally and most obviously, most music fans and critics would never put the words Norway and alt-country in the same sentence let alone the same hemisphere.

Oddly enough before I was emailed about the band by their US label Hyena, I had encountered them before and each time it was related in some way to my Swedish mp3 blog Swedesplease. Each time I’d stumble anew over the band I desperately tried to shoehorn them into Swedesplease figuring one Scandinavian country is just like any other. Love’s Come To Town is the new disc. You can preorder this March 13 release here now. Olav and band recently impressed in the opening slot for Jason Molina and Magnolia Electric Company. And while they may be slightly derivative of bands like Sun Volt, Giant Sand and even someone like Neil Young, there is a youth and vigor and a celebratory nature to these songs that doesn’t go unnoticed and separates them from their contemporaries.

We’ll Never Lose Our Mind [Download]

Really cool YouTube video for “Unhappy/Dreamer” from the new record:


2 Responses to “The shockingly great alt-country of Norway’s Olav Larsen & The Alabama Rodeo Stars (Hyena, March 13)”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Really? You censored my comment? I was simply trying to answer your implicit question: how would this band fare in parts of the deep south? That’s disappointing.

  2. mybrotherkeeper says:

    I liked it.His voice was quite ordinary,the song’s words extraordinary.I am half Norwegian and oft wonder what Norway is like.The humble house in the video,the smiling girl singer,the car(looks like a go-to-work-car (that is my excuse,and I’m standing by it) that I drive,gave me a little more taste of Norway than I’ve gotten surfing the web this last hour.Anyway,let me clarify what I said about Olaf’s singing:the ordinariness of his singing, IN THIS VIDEO,helped me like the song more…I think it resonated with me,because I am no superman–so the story came across more genuine.He is obviously much more Norwegian than I;however,I can only surmise he has struggled with identity in life much as myself.After all, we are all so much alike…all pilgrims trying to find peace,a sense of self.My hats off to the group.