Thorbjorn Risager And The Black Tornado review…February 25, 2017….

THORBJORN RISAGER

AND THE BLACK TORNADO

CHANGE MY GAME

RUF RECORDS  1240

I USED TO LOVE YOU–DREAMLAND–CHANGE MY GAME–HOLLER ‘N’ MOAN–HARD TIME–LONG GONE–HOLD MY LOVER TIGHT–MAYBE IT’S ALRIGHT–TRAIN–LAY MY BURDEN DOWN–CITY OF LOVE

Talk about staying power in a fickle business–Thorbjorn Risager And The Black Tornado indeed have it, and much more.  Formed in 2003, this eight-piece group has only changed two members over their time together, and they won a Danish Grammy two years running.

Obviously, you don’t make those kinds of strides by resting on your laurels or reading your press clippings.  Their last album, “Too Many Roads,” from 2014, brought critical acclaim to these guys, as well as numerous festival appearances and shows in 21 countries.  And, instead of kickin’ back, along comes their latest on Ruf Records, “Change My Game.”  Not just the album’s title, it is literally the band’s credo, as these guys strive to make each album better and more diverse than the last.

So it is with “Change My Game.”  That title cut sets the tone as Thorbjorn’s big voice hits a deep groove on  the story of a man who realizes that he can no longer “keep on burnin’ my candle at both ends.”  The horn section glues it all together, too.  “Holler “N” Moan” further shows the band’s eclecticism, as Thorbjorn lays down a stompin’ country-blues beat that conjures up stories of those “rollin’ stones” over killer slide guitar.  “Dreamland” and “Hold My Lover Tight” show the sheer force of this band with driving, in-your-face blues-rock at its hardest.  And, at the other end of the spectrum, the Great Dane strikes a melancholy chord with the piano-heavy, emotional ballad of those “shadows of the past that haunt my memories,” the plaintive “Lay My Burden Down.”

Our favorite was easy.  The band has a sweet knack for traditional blues, and “Train” is a classic.  It begins with Thorbjorm on acoustic guitar and vocal, singing of that “train to bring back my restless soul,” before giving way to a full-on, amped up climax, fueled by tasty ivory-tickling from Emil Balsgaard!

Thorbjorn Risager And The Black Tornado all joined forces to self-produce “Change My Game.”  The result is a huge sound and some of the best songs of their career.  They continue to resist pigeonholing, and are one of our favorite bands!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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