Hans Theessink NZ Tour - Feb 2008
H A N S T H E E S S I N K
New Zealand Tour - Feb 2008
Saturday 9 February 8pm Festival of Lights, Pukekura Park, New Plymouth. www.newplymouthnz.com
Sun 10 Feb 8pm, Stellar, 2 Victoria Ave Wanganui www.flyingpiglets.co.nz
Tues 12 Feb 9pm Mainly Acoustic Music Club, Mayfair Cafe 166 Main St. Upper Hutt
Info 04 970 4008 (NB Show starts 7.30pm with local performers.)
Wed 13 Feb 8pm The Boathouse, 326 Wakefield Quay, Nelson. Book at Living Sound Audio 03 546 8363
Sat 16 Feb 8.30pm The Mussel Inn, Golden Bay www.musselinn.co.nz
Sun 17 Feb 8pm Christchurch Folk Club, Coker's Bar 52 Manchester St, Christchurch. www.folkmusic.org.nz
Tues 19 Feb 8pm New Edinburgh Folk Club, Victoria Hotel, St. Andrews Str, Dunedin www.nefc.org.nz
Wed 20 Feb 7.30pm The English Garden, Hamilton Gardens Summer Festival, Hamilton. www.hamiltongardens.co.nz
Thurs 21 Feb 8pm Mills Reef Winery, Moffat Rd, Tauranga, ph: 07 576 8800.
Fri 22 Feb 8pm Bay of Plenty Blues, The Belgian Bar, 1151 Arawa St, Rotorua
Enquiries 07 3436789. www.blues.co.nz/bop-blues
Sun 24 Feb 7.30pm Christ Church, Pukehou, Hawkes Bay. Info 06 874 9756
Mon 25 Feb 8pm Devonport Folk Club, Mt Victoria, Auckland
Info and tickets 09 445 2227
Tues 26 Feb 8.30pm The Dog's Bollix, Karangahape Road, Auckland www.dogsbollix.co.nz
NZ tour co-ordinated by Flying Piglets www.flyingpiglets.co.nz
New album: what the press says
Hans Theessink "SLOW TRAIN" (1620 CD / 1610 vinyl)
Sing Out! / Vol.51 #4 * Winter 2008 / (USA)
Slow Train is another in a series of remarkable albums by the Dutch/Austrian blues singer, songwriter and guitarist. And while Hans Theessink’s music is drenched in a broad knowledge and mastery of various Southern blues styles, the arrangements here are also highly influenced by African music, specifically through the vocal harmonies of three amazing harmony singers – Dumisani “Ramadu” Moyo, Zibusiso “Blessings” Nkomo and Vusumuzi “Vusa” Ndlovu, who sound like they just stepped out of Ladysmith Black Mambazo.
The album begins with the gorgeous title track, a bluesman’s recapping of his life and his wish for the slow train ride home. The home he refers to might be the literal home or perhaps the spiritual home. The blending of the voices with the beautiful playing of Theessink and his ensemble is sublime and sets the tone for the next eleven songs.
Several of the songs in this set are topical. “Katrina” is a moving account of the hurricane that devastated New Orleans and brilliantly uses a refrain of “Li’l Liza Jane,” to remind us of how New Orleans’s legendary musical culture was affected by the disaster. “God Created the World” is a rumination on the evil wrought on 9/11 and the destructive response to it by the Bush administration, while “Thula Mama – Oh Mother Don’t You Weep” is a sad lament for the lost promise of a Zimbabwe ruined under the corrupt leadership of Robert Mugabe.
Perhaps my favourite song is “May The Road,” an up-tempo blessing song with an inspiring message, a gospel feel, bouncy acoustic guitar playing and gorgeous lead and harmony vocals. Everything about this album – the songs, the singing and the playing – is absolutely infectious.
MR, Sing Out! / Vol.51 #4 * Winter 2008 / (USA)
Rhythms Magazine, January 2008 / Australia
Slow Train is Dutch bluesman, Hans Theessink’s 18th record, and as such, reeks of experience and poise, coming across as a record made by a man who knows the score. Where this record excels though, is in it’s simplicity. Recorded at friend, Pinky Wall’s house in the hills above vineyards in Styria, it’s all natural and ambient, there’s no reverb involved, it’s real and down to earth, something Theessink has become known for over his 18 records.
As he has in the past, Theessink goes down the blues path again with Slow Train, although it’s not a predominant form – it’s always in the background, it’s always in his guitar playing, but there’s much more of a gospel feel here, thanks to the deep and rich background vocals courtesy of Dumisani Moyo, Zibusiso Nkomo and Vusumuzi Ndlovu, which overall makes for an almost stunning result. As it stands, this is fine indeed, certainly not a rollicking journey, more of, well, a slow train ride.
Theessink incorporates world events into his songwriting, like the Twin Towers attack and the situation in Zimbabwe, which lend a more modern take to his blues as opposed to recycling past hits and covers – this certainly plays in his favour. Plus there’s some fantastically subtle and intricate guitar at work as well, which speaks volumes as to why Bo Diddley once called Theessink, “one helleva guitar player”.
Much like a slow train, it’s not always slow, and the pace picks up with Cry, Cry, Cry, which stands as pretty much the pick of the bunch, some foot tapping and head nodding to be sure, rounding out what is a full, rich record from Hans Theessink, a man who will no doubt be carrying on his musical wanderings for many years yet.
Sam Fell, Rhythms Magazine, January 2008 / Australia
Dutch singer and guitarist Hans Theessink continues the synthesis of blues, folk, and world music that’s flourished on his latest albums and recent live DVD. On this acoustic project, Theessink again features the talents of three African vocalists, and the stirring results suggest Ry Cooder’s early work and, perhaps more directly, Paul Simon’s Graceland.
Most blues artists employ background vocalists to add soul or gospel underpinnings to their songs. But while religious feeling abounds here, Theessink places the three singers at the center of his arrangements, taking lead vocal lines along with stunning call-and-response work that transcends musical boundaries. The spellbinding results are due in part to live vocal takes recorded with no overdubs and with microphone placement that leaves space, even silence, in the mix.
Theessink has composed a stirring set of songs that seamlessly fuse his unplugged strumming, sonorous voice, and three-piece band into the very definition of laid-back comfort. His lovely Piedmont picking on “May the Road” is offset by harmonies that shift the tune halfway across the world. Such magnificent combinations of seemingly divergent elements drive this splendid album to spine-tingling heights. Theessink doesn’t play traditional blues here; instead, he deftly references the genre as one of many stops on his global trek through the Delta, into backwoods folk, and onward to Africa. This beautifully crafted project boasts detailed arrangements performed with a calm, casual groove best described as hypnotic. Theessink has continued to redefine and expand the boundaries of his craft; now it’s up to his audience to get on board.
(Blues Revue, USA, Hal Horowitz, aug/sept.2007)
This is one of those 'wow' albums! 'Slow Train' by Hans Theessink is an absolutely stunning album that combines "blues, roots rock, Americana, worldmusic, folk, and gospel" and more... The pooled resources of Theessink's line-up here makes for an enjoyable outing full of originality
fascinating performances. Unique and totally absorbing,
'Slow Train' is simply divine!
Peter J Brown aka toxic pete (www.toxicpete.co.uk)
With this release Hans once again confirms that he can hold his own with just about anyone in the contemporary blues/roots world……..Hans has been around for a long time now. It is rare to find someone of his generation still pushing the boundaries, crossing the borders, and still prepared to stand up and be counted. More power to him! Norman Darwen-BluesArtStudio 04.2007
The combination of the songs, the playing and the production lead to one of the most enveloping experiences in music this reviewer can remember for some time. Touching on classic blues, gospel, Africana, Americana and roots the songs are superb. The variety of influences that have been brought to this album make it a terrific listen and if it isn’t in the top ten for the year I will be very surprised. Andy Snipper/ blues matters (UK)
Ry Cooder would probably love to have written something like this and perhaps the biggest compliment I can give this truly superb blues album is that at the very end of the closing ‘When Luther played the Blues’ you feel compelled to find out more about an artist who has just cut one of the albums of the year. get ready to rock (UK) Pete Feenstra / 2007.03