Many of these musicians should have been at Tønder Festival in 2020 or this year. Fortunately, they are prepared to travel to Tønder this next summer for a real Tønder Festival. Music-lovers have lots to look forward to in the coming programme, which includes ascendant names from USA, Canada, Scotland, Ireland and Danmark.
Americana, Blues and New Country
Tønder Festival 2022 will once more prove a first mover, presenting a series of young American musicians on their way up, nationally and internationally. This is true of Tønder newbies The Ballroom Thieves from Massachusetts and Nashville darling Katie Pruitt. It’s also true of songwriter Ian Noe, who was here in 2019. On the blues side, we have acclaimed and award-winning singer and guitarist Cedric Burnside. One of Canada’s finest new folk songwriters is in Tønder for the first time: Dave Gunning.
From Ireland and Scotland
The last time Scotland’s Red Hot Chilli Pipers were here, they unleashed an unforgettable party, and they will doubtless repeat their success in 2022, pipes a-blazing. From Ireland come the duo Saint Sister, praised to the skies for their unfettered mix of folk music traditions and electronic sounds, and the trio The Henry Girls, who blend Irish traditional music with americana.
Danish Songwriters to the Fore
Danish music will be well represented. Signe Svendsen has carved out a niche for herself as an original songwriter and returns to Tønder Festival with her band. Songwriter Rikke Thomsen has been singing in south Jutland dialect since her debut in 2019 and has met with success throughout the land.
The Ballroom Thieves (USA)
The Ballroom Thieves, from Massachusetts USA, have been attracting attention since 2014 with their original songs and music – a melange of folk, rock, soul and shades of legendary Californian popsongs from the late 60s. This is a band that expresses many musical influences using a wide range of instruments: roaring rock guitar, delicate cello, fulsome choral arrangements, finger-pickin’ acoustic guitar and, at the heart of it all, the song and its words are given room to breathe. And it’s not all about luuuuve and relationships: they have a few biting comments on the US political landscape and the rest of the world, not forgetting a finger up the patriarchy. The Ballroom Thieves are Calin ‘Callie’ Peters, vocal, cello, bass, and Martin Earley, vocal, guitar, who both write songs, and who are an item. Originally, Devin Mauch, vocal and percussion, was third man, but he left in 2021. Today Peters and Earley are backed by several musicians in the studio and on stage. Their third album Unlovely appeared in 2020, just before the pandemonium put a stop to everything, including the band’s planned promotion efforts and concerts. A new album is on its way. This is the Ballroom Thieves’ first time in Denmark, and their only festival concert in this country in 2022.
Katie Pruitt (USA)
Katie Pruitt is a voice for our times and a rising star in Nashville TE, USA. Born in 1994 in
Atlanta, Georgia, USA, to Catholic parents, Katie Pruitt began her career as a singer and songwriter at college. She put out an EP in 2018, which led Rolling Stone magazine to place her name on their list of the year’s 10 New Country Artists You Should Know. In February 2020 she made her debut album Expectations. Katie Pruitt says of the album “It’s all about not caring what others expect of you, being free and being yourself.” At age 20, Katie Pruitt came out as a lesbian, and many of her songs deal with the frustrations and shame growing up in a conservative christian environment in the southern states of USA. On the album Expectations, Katie Pruitt mixes country, folk and indie rock, and many of the songs grow dynamically from a quiet, intimate level to a full, grandiose rock production. Solo at Tønder Festival, this is Katie Pruitt’s only Danish festival concert in 2022.
Ian Noe (USA)
Ian Noe is big on the American country and folk scene. He is steeped in classic americana: the art of the apposite song about the woes of small town life, songs that, like short stories, sharply observe the details below the surface of provincial society. Ian Noe (born 1990) is from Beattyville in Kentucky, the same state as currently popular singers like Tyler Childers and Sturgill Simpson. In 2017, Ian Noe made the EP Off This Mountaintop and toured subsequently with Canadian Colter Wall. In early 2019 his debut album Between the Country appeared, produced by top Nashville producer Dave Cobb. The song Letter To Madeleine was nominated as International Song of the Year at the UK Americana Awards 2020, and Nashville Scene magazine placed Ian Noe among the best New Acts of 2019. One reviewer wrote that if you like Tyler Childers and Colter Wall, then you should also hear Ian Noe. Or listen to the late John Prine, who was one of Ian Noe’s greatest inspirations. Ian Noe sang at Tønder Festival 2019. Solo at Tønder Festival 2022, this is Ian Noe’s only Danish festival concert for the year.
Cedric Burnside (USA)
41 year-old Cedric Burnside is a singer, guitarist, songwriter and drummer and one of the most sought-after performers of his generation on the American blues scene. Cedric Burnside combines classic country and delta blues and electric city blues, with a sure grasp of blues music’s authentic nerve. This is not so strange: Cedric Burnside was born into the blues. He comes from Memphis and is the grandson of blues musician R. L. Burnside. His father was the famous drummer Calvin Jackson, and Cedric began his career in music as a drummer. Aged only 13, he toured with his grandfather’s band, and he won several Drummer of the Year titles at the annual Memphis Blues Awards. His first recording came out in 2006, followed by a series of albums, some under his own name, some by the Cedric Burnside Project. The album Descendants of Hill Country was nominated for a Grammy in 2016 in the category Best Blues Album, and his album Benton County Relic (2018) was Grammy-nominated as Best Traditional Blues Album in 2019. His latest album is I Be Trying from 2021. Duo – and the only Danish festival concert in 2020. Cedric Burnside appears at Tønder Festival 2022 alongside drummer Reed Watson, and this is their only Danish festival concert of the year.
Dave Gunning (CAN)
His latest album Up Against the Sky was nominated for four Canadian Folk Music Awards 2020, emphasising his position as one of Canada’s finest songwriters. Dave Gunning comes from Pictou County in Novo Scotia, and this is the backdrop for Up Against the Sky. Gunning’s concerns include a papir mill polluting coastal fisheries which the local Pictou Landing First Nation people depend on for their livelihood. Dave Gunning’s inspiration comes from folk singers like Pete Seeger and Stan Rogers and local hero John Allen Cameron, the subject of Gunning’s A Tribute to John Allen Cameron record from 2010. Gunning excels at both protest songs and more melancholy ballads, and his love of new country music and old legends like Stompin’ Tom Conner cannot be denied. In 2017 Dave Gunning made Two with J.P. Cormier, a previous Tønder Festival guest musician. On this record, the two musicians apply themselves to more traditional folk material. Dave Gunning performs solo at Tønder Festival, his only Danish festival concert in 2022. http://davegunning.com
Red Hot Chilli Pipers (SCO)
This is no typo: not only are Red Hot Chilli Pipers just as hot in their native Scotland as the tattooed, funky rockers; but they have the Americans’ full permission to use the name: the Yanks dug the difference. Red Hot Chilli Pipers broke into the limelight in 2007, when they took part in the BBC talent show When Will I be Famous. The band’s trademark is bagrock: cover versions of rock and pop classics played on bagpipes, with march drums and rock band backing. The musicians wear kilts and provide a stage show without parallel before or since. When Red Hot Chilli Pipers became famous via their tv show, they toured far and wide, getting audiences in USA, China, New Zealand, Dubai and India dancing and screaming the chorus to We Will Rock You, Don’t Stop Believing and Highway to Hell. Red Hot Chilli Pipers played Tønder Festival in 2017, and now you can join in at the top of your voice when the Scots band hit the stage with a concert that could go anywhere, with 100% guarantee for a wild party. Their only Danish festival concert in 2022.
Saint Sister (IRL)
The duo Saint Sister is Morgan MacIntyre and Gemma Doherty. They sit at the top of the Irish music tree. Saint Sister began in 2014, setting up a unique soundscape combining traditional Irish harp, the flamboyance of 60s folk and ambient electronics. Morgan’s and Gemma’s voices seem to be closely related as they intertwine in subtle harmonies. Morgan’s harp rings with nostalgia, an underpinning contrast to the topicality of the words. Saint Sister’s debut EP, 2015’s Madrid, was followed in 2018 by the album Shape of Silence, a view of Ireland laced with political and critical undertones. These two musicians have touched a nerve in Irish hearts: in 2018 they were voted The Best Irish Act in an Irish Times poll. Saint Sister have also made their mark internationally, touring with Keane, Hozier and Lisa Hannigan, among others. Their latest release, the album Where I Should End from 2021, underscores the duo’s musical eminence, and was hailed by The Irish Times as a triumph. Their only Danish festival appearance in 2022.
The Henry Girls (IRL)
The Henry Girls are sisters Karen, Lorna and Joleen McLaughlin from Donegal in Ireland. They named their trio for their grandfather, and have been making music and touring together since 2003. All three sisters have studied music and are well versed in traditional Irish music, which they blend with elements of country, bluegrass, world and americana.
These three talented musicians are multi-instrumentalists, playing fiddle, ukulele, banjo, guitar, mandolin and piano, and they have at their command voices which meld into multiple harmonies of exquisite quality. We hear the purest Irish traditional tones and fine bluegrass phrasing. The Henry Girls’ first album, Between Us, came in 2003. Their latest, Far Beyond The Stars, from 2017, has been highly praised in the international media. The trio has seen great success in USA, where they tour frequently. The Henry Girls have worked with Dónal Lunny and Moya Brennan and are featured on Mary Black’s album Stories from the Steeples. Their only Danish festival concert in 2022.
Signe Svendsen (DK)
This Danish singer and songwriter from east Fyn is a long-established, original and dearly loved artist on the Danish music scene. Signe Svendsen has insisted on creating her own space with the bite, humour and lyrical detail in her personal Danish songs. Signe Svendsen graduated from the Rhythmic Music Conservatory and began her career as a backing singer. For many years, she appeared on stage with Danish singer and raconteur Niels Hausgaard, who she claims taught her a lot about communicating with an audience. Signe Svendsen’s songwriting ambitions led in 2010 to the release of her solo debut album Ny passager (New Passenger). The album was realised in close cooperation with producer and guitarist Lars Skjærbæk. He has been her sparring partner since, and has also produced the subsequent albums, Kun de faldne rejser sig igen (Only the Fallen Rise Again) from 2013, Rift from 2016, and the most recent Det forlyder (Word is Out) from 2020. When Signe Svendsen takes the stage at Tønder Festival 2022, she’ll have her band with her.
Rikke Thomsen (DK)
In 2019, songwriter and singer Rikke Thomsen won the Danish Mother Tongue Award – the youngest winner ever. She was 28 years of age then, and won for her south Jutland dialect EP Omve’n Hjemve (Curing Homesickness) from 2019. Rikke Thomsen accepted the award at Eckersberg Private School in Blans near Sønderborg, where she learned guitar as a teenager. The young Rikke Thomsen moved to North Jutland, where she studied guitar and singing at the Jutland Music Conservatory in Aalborg. At first she tried writing songs in English, but it was when she turned her hand to her native south Jutland dialect that Rikke Thomsen gained attention. The songs on Omve’n Hjemve deal with longing and love for one’s home patch, and Åltins Koldt I København (It’s Always Cold in Copenhagen) touched many Danes’ hearts. As did her south Jutland translation of Bob Dylans Don’t Think Twice, which became Tænk no it for møje eve det. The album Opland (Hinterland) was released in October 2021, and the single Ballebrovej 2 came out as a trailer. Rikke Thomsen appears solo at Tønder Festival 2022.
Tønder Festival 2022 – so far:
Keb’ Mo’ (USA), Cara Dillon (IRL), Eilen Jewell (USA), Cedric Burnside (USA), Red Hot Chilli Pipers (SCO), Katie Pruitt (USA), The Ballroom Thieves (USA), Ian Noe (USA), Blue Rose Code (SCO), Blazin’ Fiddles (SCO), Bjørn Eidsvåg (NO), Dave Gunning (CAN), Saint Sister (IRL), The Henry Girls (IRL), The Once (CAN), Christopher Paul Stelling (USA), Sarah Hagen (CAN), Signe Svendsen (DK), Rikke Thomsen (DK).
See you at Tønder Festival 2022!
Tønder Festival 25th, 26th, 27th and 28th August 2022