ORBO & THE LONGSHOTS – PRAIRIE SUN

Norway’s hardest working rock’n’roll band is called ORBO & The Longshots.

For years they have toured Norway extensively, all the while working to break onto the American music scene, playing several tours across the US. They are among the few bands in Norway who are able to make a living from playing honest rock’n’roll.

“ORBO” are the initials of lead singer, guitarist and songwriter Ole Reinert Berg-Olsen, The Longshots are his band, consisting of Ine Tumyr on vocals & percussion, Reidar Opdal on vocals, piano/organ and acoustic guitar, Paul Inge Vikingstad on bass and Stian Tumyr on drums.

ORBO & The Longshots were the first norwegian band to record in legendary Sun Studios in Memphis, and have gotten help from people like Claudia Scott, Kevin Welch and Mike Henderson on their previous albums.

After five studio albums and one live album, they released Prairie Sun in Norway in the middle of august – and now it’s available in the US.

Prairie Sun was recorded at the old turkey farm Prairie Sun Recording Studios in California and produced by ORBO. And let me tell you, this is one kick-ass record.

Equal parts heartland rock, country, blues and americana, with a hint of dixieland are melted into a sound that borrows from Tom Petty, John Mellencamp and Delbert McClinton. McClinton was so impressed by a duet he did with ORBO at a show in Bergen, Norway that they ended up recording a song together, “Little Queen” which is a bonus track when you buy the album on iTunes.

What sets ORBO apart from most Norwegian singers and songwriters is his voice and his pronunciation. He sounds like a well spoken American, and he even writes songs like he should have lived all his life in and around Austin. His guitar playing is another trait that really sets their sound apart, and combined with Reidar Opdals piano they got a unique groove.

As I mentioned, this is their fifth album, and it’s their best one yet. I’ve been a fan since the first album, following their sound from being a rocking country band into the bluesy americana sound they have now.

What really sets this album apart from the previous are mainly the songs and the lyrics. ORBO has grown a lot as a songwriter, and he’s not afraid to write about his life. The band has gotten a lot of experience from intensive touring and hundreds of gigs, and you can really hear it by how tight they sound.

Singer and percussionist Ine Tumyr also stands out on this album, taking a long step forward and into the spotlight. We’ve seen it live for years, but on record she’s never been as prolific as she is now. The duets she sings with ORBO on this album are among the best songs they have ever done, and the way the two main vocalists work together throughout the album lifts the sound.

The best example is the song “High Grass Dog”, where ORBO and Ine keeps changing vocal lines between them, and it seems it makes ORBO give that little bit extra to really push the song into a higher division.

Another great example is the song “Magic”, where most of us can find recognizable elements. Love, breakups and insecurity are key elements, and the intensity in the song really shows of ORBOs quality as a songwriter. And what really singles this song out is Ine Tumyrs contribution on vocals.

“We’ve been feeding off of this long enough,
couldn’t see a thing.
But I guess the magic came to an end.
I keep my dreams all to myself,
’cause I’m scared.
I’m watching windows close,
and doors slam shut behind me.
while magic takes my chance”

ORBOs love for Tom Petty is obvious through the song (and new single) “Nights Don’t Belong To Us” about how you suddenly come to realize you have grown up – and have to let younger souls take over your place by the bar or on the town. And the delicious guitar parts could just as well have been played by Mike Campbell. The imagery is brilliant, just listen when ORBO sings:

“Stallions don’t lock the stable door,
but they can’t ride me anymore”.

Another high point on the album is “Neon Scar”, where ORBO writes about the lifestyle of being a musician and going out on the road.

“I’ve got a drumbeat baby,
I’ve got a loud guitar,
I’ve got a restless heart,
with a neon scar”

There are two songs I don’t really care for, the dixiland infused “New Times”, and “All Kinds Of Blue”. I usually don’t go for horns in music, unless it’s something Delbert McClinton has recorded – and here it just gets too much. Too bad, as “New Times” is one of the strongest tunes on the album, when you remove the clarinet…

Thankfully the album kicks right into top gear after those two songs, and gives us the brilliant “Crystal Ball” – which could have been lifted straight from Tom Pettys “Wildflowers”. We get a nod towards The Eagles on “Word On The Street” and a delicious feel of the prairie on “Prairie Sun”.

This is the best norwegian album of 2011, and in February ORBO & The Longshots hits the bars and clubs of America once again. If they pass by your town, drop by and give them a chance. I doubt you will be disappointed…

ORBO & The Longshots – High Grass Dog
ORBO & The Longshots – Crystal Ball

ORBO & The Longshots Official Site, ORBO & The Longshots on Facebook, ORBO & The Longshots on Spotify, Buy Prairie Sun

SPOTIFY THIS: ORBO & THE LONGSHOTS

ORBO & The Longshots could very well be the hardest working rock’n’roll band in Norway.From a kick-ass countryband in the early 2000’s, to a full blooded rock’n’roll band mixing Americana, blues, country and rock in to 2011, it’s been one hell of a ride for a band going from strength to strength.

Collaborations with Kevin Welch and Mike Henderson, the first norwegian band to record in legendary Sun Studios, a norwegian Grammy in 2008, duets with Delbert McClinton… everything seems to go their way.

There aren’t too many people driving around the country, playing music as their living in Norway, but this band has cracked the code. And the answer turned out to be hard work. They take after so many of the good american bands of today, and work the road tirelessly.

Several tours of Norway, where they’ve played everywhere and anywhere, and at least one tour of the US each year makes up the recipe of success for this band.

But, no matter how hard you work – it doesn’t matter if the product you deliver isn’t any good. And in that regard, I must say that this is by far my favorite Norwegian band when you exclude bands singing in Norwegian only.

They play as straight forward rock’n’roll as can be, and influences range from Tom Petty, Warren Zevon, The Rolling Stones, to John Mellencamp, Buddy Miller and Bob Dylan.

The name ORBO comes from the initials of frontman Ole Reinert Berg-Olsen, who with his long time bandmantes Ine Tumyr, Stian Tumyr, Reidar Opdal and Paul Inge Vikingstad make up ORBO & The Longshots. ORBO has a unique voice, and sounds more american than most americans…

ORBO is also a emerging record producer, after picking up the craft while producing and co-produced all his own albums. He’s also writing songs for other musicians, among them a fantastic song on Nora Noors soul album “Soul Deep”

You can find most of ORBOs old albums on Spotify, and if you get the chance when they tour the US next – go for it, this band is just bloody awsome live.
They’re touring the US in october.

The album “Genuine Handmade Rock’n’Roll” from 2006 was partly recorded in Sun Studios, and is pumped full of rock’n’roll and blues from the Mississippi delta. The first 5 tracks are among my favorite songs even today.
Check it out on Spotify.

2008 brought “High Roller”, and a more rockin’ sound, where several of my favourite ORBO-songs make up one hell of a album. Check out “Voodoo Lounge”, “High Roller”, “Fireball” and “Mirage”. Not to mention “Sin City” and “Jet Black”.
Check it out on Spotify.

“Masquerade” from 2009 is the only album ORBO hasn’t had last word on the production, and it’s in my opinion the weakest sounding of the lot. Which is a shame as it has the best songs of any album from his back catalog. Check out “High Life Companions”, “Rock & Roll City” and especially “Masquerade” where he totally lets his guard down and writes about the breakup with his girlfriend.
Check it out on Spotify.

The missing qualities from the production is partly rectified in the 2010 release “Live 10”, where we get a lot of the songs in a real live setting. Recorded in hometown Bergen, the album and DVD clearly shows why this band is a killer live-act.
Check it out on Spotify.

I’m reviewing their new album “Prairie Sun” when it gets it US release in November, until then – enjoy their back-catalog.

ORBO & The Longshots Official Site, ORBO & The Longshots on Facebook, ORBO & The Longshots on Spotify, Buy Prairie Moon EP