By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
While he was growing up, Olav Larsen would search the record stores of his native Norway for imported records by Jimmie Rodgers, Neil Young and John Prine. It only takes one listen to Larsen's impressive debut, Love's Come to Town, to appreciate the capability of the Scandinavian import/export trade.
Although it is not totally necessary to point out that Larsen is African-Norwegian, the fact that he plies his craft as a country singer makes such knowledge intrinsically more fascinating. It's not as if, even in these modern times, many folks playing roots music differ in ethnicity from icons such as Cash, Haggard, Jennings and Nelson. And before anyone starts talking about Charley Pride, let me assure you that this Larsen fellow is a whole different matter.
Not only does he write and sing like Gram Parsons, Larsen also shares Parsons' affinity for the bizarre, creating decidedly unfashionable gems such as "Atomic Bombs and Wine" and "Sweet Savior's Arms." With a rough-hewed, gloriously underproduced backing, Larsen digs into the American musical experience with a determined glee reminiscent of acts as disparate as Giant Sand and The Band. Perhaps it takes someone from such a great distance to authentically come to grips with the true breadth of Americana.
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