Monday, March 17, 2014

ONE-MAN BLUES AND ROOTS PERFORMER TURNS VINTAGE INTO HIS ADVANTAGE

CLICK ON PHOTO TO ENLARGE
report & interview
by karla darocas


I am big fan of one-man blues and roots acts. I think it takes a brave soul to go it alone. I have taken it upon myself to find some of these types of solitude blues soldiers - and feature them here on CBBlues.com.

Recently, I received an email from a blues performer in Sweden. His promo-kit was very impressive but what really turned my head was the music itself.

He calls himself, Old Kerry McKee and he is Swedish. His profile photo conjures up the illusion of a Gothic rocker. He also hails from a place in Sweden with a very Gothic name - Gothenburg.



As asked, I went through the tracks on his new new 10-inch record called "Letter to a Sick", to be released through HoboRec on March 29, 2014 and distributed by Soundpollution.


Old Kerry has taken the best of the vintage blues riffs and folky roots melodies and added a strapped-on foot propelled snare drum and tambourine, blues harp plus other paraphernalia like chains and static radio and old album excerpts, then mashed them all together. The result is very atmospheric, artistic, inventive and quite appealing. I would really like to see Old Kerry as a performer in a live situation, so let us hope he comes to Spain.

It is obvious by Old Kerry's lyrics that he is concerned with the human condition. His original songs are punched full of passion and topics range from love to death and everything in between. These recordings on this new project are perhaps not as blue-based as his past recordings but more rebel folkish.

Of course, I had questions...

CBBLUES: How old are you?
  • OLD KERRY: I´m soon 29

CBBLUES:  Why did you decide to go solo? Were you ever in a band / group dynamic before?
  • OLD KERRY: I used to play drums in a death metal band called Inevitable End for like 8 years. I guess I had the tendency to act like a dictator sometimes, so I think it was a great idea to go solo for everyone's sake. The main reason I guess was that I wanted to explore different kinds of music and I was especially hooked by early American folk and blues.

CBBLUES: What blues influences drive your performances?
  • OLD KERRY: Some of my favorites like: Blind Willie Johnson, Reverend Gary Davis and Robert Johnson. I am influenced by everything associated with that era like trains, hobos, racism and poverty, but also hope!

CBBLUES: What kind of a connection do you feel with the blues?
  • OLD KERRY: I feel  the simplicity and rawness. 

CBBLUES: Letter to a Sick? What does it mean? Normally the saying is - Letter to a sick friend...
  • OLD KERRY: Letter to a sick - is a my personal thoughts about my childhood with an alcoholic mother.

CBBLUES: What does Hemlos mean? It is the name of one of the tracks on this new release...
  • OLD KERRY: That's the original title of a poem by a Swedish poet called Dan Andersson, which he wrote in 1917. It means: Homeless 

CBBLUES: Old Kerry McKee? Is this a stage name? If so - where does it come from? What is your real name?
  • OLD KERRY: Joakim Malmborg is my birth name, Old Kerry McKee is just a moniker. I wrote this song about an old man with a lot of scars and wrinkles and everything. I needed a name and I decided to use Old Kerry McKee for awhile.It wasn't that serious at first, but I chose to keep it.