They all purport to be fine, upstanding, law-abiding citizens, but collectively, Katvanger offers up a suspect rendition of the blues, revealing undocumented encounters with disreputable elements from far-flung parts of the globe. Bass player Ruud Fransen, who claims to have retired from the teaching profession, and guitarist Jan Vereçki, a part-time IT tinkerer with an extensive collection of off-brand stringed instruments, accompany singer and guitar player Jim Wake, whose whisky-tinged voice belies his claims of a comfortable middle-class upbringing. The songs tell tales of pain, betrayal and abandonment — themes that bluesmen have sung about for generations — but in Katvanger’s extensive repertoire of originals, there are heavy doses of irony and sarcasm, along with healthy portions of harmony and swing. Apart from dubious blues, Katvanger features slightly twisted roots, counterfeit country & western, improbable jazz, and on occasion, an obscure cover.
Our disclaimer: slightly subversive and highly infectious.