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Review - Barn Owl Blues, by Eric Campfens

The trio Katvanger has been part of the Dutch blues scene for some time and recently, they released So Late So Soon, their debut CD. The band includes veteran bassist Ruud Fransen, a co-founder of Livin’ Blues back in the sixties, who has continued to make music all these years alongside a career in education. One of his bands was Jim Wake & Sleepwalker. The American singer, harmonica player and guitarist Jim Wake has been living in the Netherlands since 1992, and Katvanger is a sort of spin-off from Jim Wake & Sleepwalker, Fransen and Wake are joined in the band by the Belgian-born lead guitarist Jan Vereçki.


The debut CD So Late So Soon features fifteen tracks – fourteen by Wake and one by Fransen. Just where they fit in on the musical spectrum is something that they themselves apparently haven’t yet figured out, as evidenced by their own description on their website: ‘dubious blues, twisted roots, counterfeit country & western, improbable jazz, and more…’ Enough then about their musical style. As far as the lyrics are concerned, the tunes touch on social, political and personal matters. And this is then often seasoned with a generous dose of irony. Tunes that, in my view, deserve special mention include the uptempo “Gimme”, the blues “You Don’t Have to Worry”, and “Time Never Mends a Broken Heart", a tear jerker composed by Ruud Fransen. 


With So Late So Soon, Katvanger has produced a very fine record of delightfully 'dubious blues … etc, etc'. An excellent album.


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