• Sweden edition
 
Southern Skyline shines in country spotlight
Southern Skyline

Southern Skyline shines in country spotlight

Published: 22 Jul 2010 10:11 GMT+02:00
Updated: 22 Jul 2010 10:11 GMT+02:00

It is no secret that Sweden is the third-largest music exporter in the world after the US and UK, raking in $800 million in revenue in 2007.

Bands like ABBA and Ace of Base have come and gone, paving the way for fans across the world to become acquainted with the catchy sounds of bands such as Peter, Bjorn (without the umlaut) and John, The Hives and The Soundtrack of Our Lives.

Electro, pop, punk, garage, folk, hip-hop, rap, heavy metal – Swedish musicians are at the forefront of the international music scene, in addition to local weaknesses for more distinctly Swedish genres such as dansband and raggare.

However, there is one genre that has not caught on quite yet, both with Swedish artists and listeners: country music. Southern Skyline, a Swedish country western band, is hoping to change that and are making good progress so far.

"Never before have I heard a Swedish band who manages to deliver the raw, naked and deserted feeling this kind of music demands, a craft few can master," raved Kjell Wärneval, program director of the Scandinavian Country Music Festival.

The Stockholm-based band is surprisingly fresh, their sound, sunny, soulful and contemporary.

However, singer-guitarist Henric Hammarbäck, guitarist Jonas Öhlund, bassist Alexander Skylvik, keyboardist Björn Kanrell and drummer Johan Salomonsson continue to draw strong influences from honky-tonk legends such as Hank Williams, Gram Parsons and Willie Nelson.

All the same, their goal is not to replicate the classic country-western style, but to develop something unique, inspired by their own heartbreaks, dancehall dramas and whiskey-soaked nights.

"We're trying to come up with a completely new sound," explained Hammarbäck. "Country music will always be our thing. But our goal is to come up with a new, modern, popular sound. Not just for the country people, but for a global audience."

International fame follows real talent. The band, which formed three years ago, has toured across the US, Canada and Europe and developed a loyal following among many loving and dedicated fans.

Perhaps said best by Karen Nash, an American alt-country singer, Southern Skyline is "the best old-school country I've heard for a long time."

Hammarbäck told the Calgary Sun, where country is king and the last stop on their first-ever five-city western Canadian tour, earlier this month that he would eventually like to relocate to North America, where most of his musical idols come from. However, like many independent musicians, he's stuck with a day job.

"We just need a hit song and then we'll move, but we're not there yet," he told Sun.

The band have an upcoming album release early next year, with two MP3s from the record available for download online. They have also made a number of Sweden media appearances.

Southern Skyline will perform at Piteå Dansar och Ler next Thursday, followed by a concert on August 4th at Lomtjärnsparken in Älvsbyn in northern Sweden and the Hålogaland International Country Festival in Harstad in northern Norway on August 6th.

The Scandinavian Country Music Festival takes place from August 12th to 14th in Furuviksparken in Gävle on the east coast north of Stockholm and Uppsala with bands from the US and Sweden.

Emy Gelb

Related links:

Paul Rapacioli (paul.rapacioli@thelocal.com)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

11:39 July 22, 2010 by Eagle63
Lets not forget about Jill Johnson; a great country singer from Sweden...!
15:29 July 24, 2010 by rufus.t.firefly
I tried, but couldn't listen to the YouTube thing. The sound was breaking up. However, the idea seems all wrong for many reasons, the main one being why doesn't some Swedish band or artist do something that reflects Swedish culture? Why must Swedes always ape others, whether Jihadis or Hank Williams? Apart from that, I'll keep my mind open, against all my better instincts.
19:04 July 24, 2010 by porksteak
No thanks. We already have too much lousy country music in the US.

Ranarim and The Knife are more to my liking when it comes to Swedish music.
12:55 July 26, 2010 by Kaethar
@rufus.t.firefly: Did you even read the article? They're American wannabes, replicating the music of the country they wish they were born in. You can hardly expect them to do something which "reflects Swedish culture" when they want nothing to do with Swedish culture. How about not being so judgmental and simply letting people do what they like? :/
14:03 July 26, 2010 by rufus.t.firefly
@Kaethar

Yes, I read it. In case you didn't understand, I'm tired of American wannabes. I was suggesting they explore their own culture and maybe find something worthy in it. But the fact is, they're looking for a formula for international commercial success, i.e., money, above and beyond music. Most of these wannabes are poor imitations of the genuine article. Anyway, this forum presents an opportunity for people like me to be "judgmental". If you noticed, I did say I'd keep my mind open, but on second thought, I lied!
22:08 July 27, 2010 by Ant
What the hell is wrong with you people. You dont have to wannabee American to appreciate american music. I know these guys and I can 100% say its not about the money, there just playing music that they love and grew up with..... or am I wrong, should we only play music influeced by the country in which we were born....... GROW UP
13:26 July 28, 2010 by B-dogg.
What the hell is wrong with you people is right. Australia and New Zealand have always had country musicians - nobody said they were aping American culture. Nobody said the Americans were aping British culture when American cottoned on to playing Heavy Metal. Nobody said Americans were aping the Norwegians when American bands started playing Norwegian influenced Black Metal - okay well they did.

But another thing I find hard to handle are the amount of idiots here in Europe who feel they have exclusive rights celebrating Viking culture or Celtic cultures because of the ground they're standing on in Europe and not North America. Screw that, if it's in your genes, then it's your history too. Stupid Europeans.

Considering contemporary music is influenced from a multitude of sources these days - who gives a rat's derriere where it comes from. If they have a genuine feel for the music they're playing, it will shine through in the music. If they don't that will shine through too. Either way it can't be worse than the majority of rubbish which comes out of Nashville.

Some guy up the top mentioned Hank Williams. Hank Williams III - the grandson - recently had a European tour, to which was well received. He was even wearing a Bathory t-shirt in the interview I saw him in - Bathory of course one of the most influential Swedish Heavy Metal bands - who covered largely Viking based themes. So here he is, an American Hillbilly from the South and a fan of Swedish Viking Metal.
10:22 July 29, 2010 by rufus.t.firefly
B-Dogg.

I get your point. There is difference between aping, as I used it, and being influenced or interpreting. For example, I would never say Van Morrison, who is heavily influenced by American R&B and Soul, is aping anyone. He is inspired by what he loves, but he is an original. Even his covers are original.

Jill Johnson, mentioned above, has a fine voice, but is, as far as I can tell, doing very unoriginal covers of singers like of Linda Rondstadt. Her phrasing is weird and bad, her understanding of lyrics seems absent, she seems to have no musical direction of her own. That's what I mean by aping- bad imitation.

But, I do not believe that an artist should be limited to choosing only material from their own culture. I was merely suggesting that many of these Swedish posers, and you know who I'm talking about, might find it more fertile to till their own soil. If you don't have a clue about something that millions of people appreciate in a deep way, then don't f..k with it- or get real and try to see what it is beneath the surface.
Today's headlines
Sweden resumes aid to 'anti-gay Uganda'
Hillevi Engström and protesters against Uganda's anti-gay laws. Photos: Maja Suslin/Ben Curtis/TT

Sweden resumes aid to 'anti-gay Uganda'

Sweden has resumed sending development aid funds to Uganda, after suspending payouts back in March due to "anti-gay legislation". READ  

The Local List
Top ten coffee spots in central Stockholm
Fanny feels at home at the Blå Lotus. Photo: Isabela Vrba

Top ten coffee spots in central Stockholm

If you're wondering where to grab your next cappucino, then wonder no more. The Local talked to the locals in Stockholm and found out the best spots in town for the ultimate fika experience. READ  

Swedish neo-Nazis join fight in Ukraine
The Azov task force. Photo: Sergei Chuzavkov/TT

Swedish neo-Nazis join fight in Ukraine

Four Swedes are fighting with the Ukrainian task force Azov - a squad which flies a flag with Nazi symbols and, according to one Swedish soldier, fights for "a white Ukraine". READ  

Swedish elk get one-way ticket to Denmark
The elk in this picture are not the ones that will be sent to Denmark. Photo: The Uppsala Koala

Swedish elk get one-way ticket to Denmark

Up to a dozen elk will be transported from Sweden to Denmark in an effort to help maintain local marshlands. READ  

Sweden worst in EU at getting foreigners jobs
Photo: Henrik Trygg/Imagebank Sweden

Sweden worst in EU at getting foreigners jobs

UPDATED: Swedish citizens are the most likely to be employed in the EU, but Sweden is among the very worst when it comes to getting non-EU citizens into work. READ  

Man arrested for burning partner's face
Photo: Linn Malmén/TT

Man arrested for burning partner's face

Police suspect that a man in western Sweden is responsible for the extreme burns on his partner's face. The man has been arrested on suspicion of aggravated assault - and potentially attempted murder. READ  

In Pictures: Conchita Wurst in Stockholm
Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

In Pictures: Conchita Wurst in Stockholm

Eurovision winner and LGBTQ idol Conchita Wurst is in Stockholm this week for Stockholm Pride - and joined Swedes at Skansen for a colourful summer sing-along. READ  

Stockholm holds colour contest for new metro
Photo: Joel Bagon

Stockholm holds colour contest for new metro

Stockholm's new metro line is not set for preliminary construction until 2016, and will not be completed until 2022 - but Swedes already have the chance to vote for the new line's colour. READ  

Sweden's heat wave officially over
Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Sweden's heat wave officially over

The heat wave that swept over Sweden recently has finally passed, meteorologists reported on Wednesday, promising cooler and more autumnal temperatures around the corner. READ  

Ukraine rebels release kidnapped Swede
Rebel tanks on the road to Horlivka in June. Photo: TT

Ukraine rebels release kidnapped Swede

The Swede who was kidnapped by pro-Russian rebels has been released after nearly three weeks of being held hostage - although no one knows where he is now. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Lifestyle
Stockholm Pride kicks off
Analysis
The top six ways the US and Sweden differ
National
Swedish youth suicides hit 25-year high
National
Politician reported for selling 'negro ball'
National
Police turn blind eye to Swedish 'slave trade'
Blog updates

27 July

Approaching Stockholm (Around Sweden in a kayak) »

"I woke up in the comfort of my own little cabin on Eva and Rolf’s boat, it was 7:30am and I was feeling a bit groggy after a couple of beers with all the lovely locals the night before. The previous day had really taken its toll on my body and I was very stiff and..." READ »

 

24 July

Sharing our Pride: Celebrating Love & the LGBT Community! (Stockholm in my American Heart) »

"It’s mid- July in Stockholm, and with much of the city on vacation, things can seem a little quiet – the streets, the bus, and the grocery store. One thing that has not paused for a summer break, though, is preparation for Stockholm’s Pride Festival, which will take place from July 28 to August 2...." READ »

 
 
 
Gallery
Stockholm Pride: Allsång på Skansen with Conchita Wurst
Skatteverket
Sponsored Article
Introducing... ID cards and permits in Stockholm
Gallery
People-watching, June 26th - 28th. Get inside Stockholm's hottest nightclubs
Gallery
Top ten Swedish taboos
Society
Seven-year-old Swede cycles to Berlin
Politics
'Gaza conflict needs help, not empty rhetoric'
Society
Swedes voted 'most beautiful' in the Nordics
Business & Money
Sweden demands EU clarity on Bitcoin tax
National
Swedish organic sales enjoy 'amazing' growth
Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
Society
What's On in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching July 23
National
Swedish cops elect not to shoot 'angry elks'
Business & Money
New alcohol retail rules threaten micro-breweries
Gallery
People-watching Båstad
Business & Money
Sweden falls to third in global innovation index
Society
Swedish ornithologists keep webcam watch
Photo: Andreas Nordström/Image Bank Sweden
Gallery
Top ten Swedish beach hot spots
Tech
Swedish Wiki vet sets new content record
Photo: Fastighetsbyrån
Lifestyle
In Pictures: The Local's Property of the Week
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Your finances in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Housing in Stockholm
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

749
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se