Thursday, February 1


GUSTAV & THE SEASICK SAILORS first rammed their Viking ship into my life in May of 2005. That's when I first fell ass-over-tea-kettle for their song "Angels Fable" -- which, almost assuredly, came to me by way of SWEDESPLEASE.

I loved the song's simplicity. Its casual, cast-off quality. It sounded like the last thing the boys threw together in the studio that night. Not quite gypsy-folk. Not exactly a sea shanty. But made irresistible by its classy, mariachi-band brass, its shuffling drums, and by young GUSTAV HAGGREN's earnest, striving vocals. At song's end, he seems to express his own one-word evaluation of the group's efforts: "Keeper!". (Though, being Swedish, he may just as well have been saying "Kipper!" -- a salted, smoked herring much beloved by the Swedes.)

Only yesterday did I discover that this particular incarnation of "Angels Fable" is not the one that appears on G&TSS's second album, SIRKUS. The recorded version -- while entirely similar -- chooses to de-emphasize those noble horns, instead playing up the bassline and inserting some honky-tonk piano fills. And, of course, the triumphant "Keeper!/Kipper!" exhalation has gone missing. A pity.

All of that said, if I had heard the SIRKUS version FIRST, then I'm sure that THAT would be the one I'd be praising to the stars right now. Because, as it is, SIRKUS is an excellent record, a more full-bodied and blooded take on Gustav's 2004 singer/songwriter-styled debut, VAGABOND'S POLKA. Both albums are currently available from iTUNES and CD BABY, amongst other places.

The main purpose of this post, however, is to get out the word that Gustav will be making his first North American tour, starting next week. He'll be performing solo this go-around, and you'll find a list of relevant dates and places below. It might be a good idea to keep on eye on his MySPACE page as well, as new dates -- and new places -- keep getting added.

After the tour, Gustav promises, he will begin work on his third album this summer. I'll keep you posted.

GUSTAV in North America...

Feb 8 2007 8:00P/Castaways (solo)/Ithaca, New York
Feb 10 2007 8:00P/Revolution (solo)/Clinton, New York
Feb 21 2007 8:00P/Flavour Cafe (solo)/Troy, New York
Feb 23 2007 8:00P/Coffee and Tea Room (solo)/Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Mar 3 2007 8:00P/Jitters Coffehouse (solo)/Southington, Connecticut
Mar 18 2007 10:30P/The Bitter End (solo)/New York, New York
Mar 23 2007 8:00P/Potters House (solo)/Washington, Washington DC
Mar 29 2007 8:00P/World Cafe Live (solo)/Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Mar 30 2007 8:00P/Fredericksburg Songwriters Showcase (solo)/Fredericksburg, Virginia

Apr 1 2007 8:00P/Baja Bean (solo)/Staunton, Virginia
Apr 5 2007 8:00P/Juggling Gypsy (solo)/Wilmington, North Carolina
Apr 6 2007 5:00P/Folks Café (solo)/Wilmington, North Carolina
Apr 7 2007 8:00P/Port City Java (solo)/Wilmington, North Carolina
Apr 13 2007 8:00P/Rime (solo)/Vancouver, British Columbia
Apr 14 2007 8:00P/Denman Island Hall (solo)/Denman Island, British Columbia

From the LP SIRKUS, 2006 >>>
[MP3] [VID] "Something Weightless"
[MP3] "Angels Fable" [demo]

From the LP VAGABOND'S POLKA, 2004 >>>

[MP3] [VID] "Vagabond's Polka"
[MP3] [VID] "Nightlife"

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