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Blues: Blues-Rock Blues: Electric Blues Blues: Rhythm & Blues Moods: Featuring Guitar Moods: Type: Live Recordings

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Micke Bjorklof & Blue Strip

Micke Bjorklof & Blue Strip is a well-established name in their native Finland and throughout Scandinavia where they have been Ambassadors of Blues music for over 20 years, recording and stirring up audiences with their energetic live shows, whether playing smoky Blues clubs or large Festival arenas. March 2015 they were finalists at European Blues Challenge in Brussels, Belgium. Initially an acoustic Blues-Rock cover band, they later went electric, started writing original material; Roots & Blues music becoming their primary muse. Throughout their career they’ve had the privilege of performing on stages around Europe in the presence of B.B King, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Solomon Burke, Robert Plant etc. Bandleader and singer Bjorklof originally founded the band with bass player Seppo Nuolikoski back in 1991. After a few minor changes during the early days, the line-up has remained unaltered for over fifteen years. Besides Bjorklof and Nuolikoski the line-up includes the exceptionally ingenious guitar player, songwriter and singer Lefty Leppänen. He is regarded as one of the top slide guitarists in Europe. His resourceful playing is one the Blue Strips trademarks, as well as the sound of MalletKat, electric vibraphone, played by the mallet virtuoso/arranger Timo Roiko-Jokela, who also builds striking percussion elements with the dynamic drummer Teemu Vuorela.


In May 2015 this Finnish Blues Awards winning blues rock band released their sixth album “Ain´t Bad Yet” in Europe, produced by John Porter, legendary for his productions of Buddy Guy, B.B King, Taj Mahal, Keb Mo, Santana and no less than 10 Grammy winning albums. Last October they travelled to Rockfield studios in Wales. The now famous studios have played host to many of the worldʼs biggest artists from Black Sabbath to Rush and Oasis, in 1975 was the primary studios used by Queen for the recording of the greatest pop record of all times ʻBohemian Rhapsodyʼ. So far this has been the most successful album on their career. Album debuted on the 8th place on the Finnish rock charts. In UK album was hanging on IBBA radio charts for four months in a row. In France album was on the 2nd place on July-August Collectif des Radios Blues chart.


But it were the sounds originating from New Orleans that often inspired and influenced Micke and his gang, and their music. So naturally “New Awlins” was at the top of their wish list of places to record for many years. In the autumn of 2012 that dream finally came true, and Micke Bjorklof & Blue Strip journeyed to the Crescent City to record their fifth, and most ambitious album yet: “After The Flood.” A milestone in the band’s career, “After The Flood” features 12 original songs recorded at the celebrated Piety Street Studio, and produced by Mark Bingham, who previously worked with Dr. John, John Mooney, various members of the illustrious Neville family, Tab Benoit, John Scofield, Elvis Costello & Allen Toussaint etc. Compared to the band’s earlier work the album features more percussive, more rhythmic, guitar-oriented material; overall it sounds darker – edgier. “After The Flood” is a contagious mix of groovy rockin’ Blues with some “fonky” New Orleans rhythm and soul thrown in to add spice to the recipe. “After the Flood,” their first album to enjoy worldwide distribution via the Blues Boulevard imprint, will be released on August 15 in Scandinavia, with the rest of the world to follow mid-September.
”When Micke Bjorklof & Blue Strip wanted to come to New Orleans and make a record work with a local producer, they discovered that I had actually recorded some of the records they were presenting to me as a reference for the sound they were looking for. But before accepting a producer assignment, making sure the band can actually play is a must, so I checked them out, listened to live shows, past albums and rehearsals, and… They could play! As I heard more, I became even more impressed with the band: they are great players, just as good as musicians from NYC or Memphis or New Orleans. Lefty Leppänen is a super guitarist right up there with many of the famous folks I have worked with (Marc Ribot, John Mooney, John Scofield, Bill Frisell, Mem Shannon, etc.), and an excellent songwriter as well. Teemu Vuorela is a super solid, rock steady drummer and has great push and pull going with bassist Seppo Nuolikoski. Timo Roiko-Jokela seems like he could play anything well, from all the keys, to percussion with that crazy MalletKat. -Mark Bingham – producer
Listeners of Bluesminister show at Radio Suomi, YLE, National Broadcasting Company voted “After The Flood” to the best Finnish blues album of the year 2013.

When did you last hear a vibraphone hobnob with a frantic slide guitar? Probably never, but now you can!
After a five years wait in 2007, Micke Björklöf & Blue Strip finally delivers a new album "Whole´Nutha Thang", featuring eleven exquisitely completed new songs. The album was recorded in London, England with producer Neil Brockbank (Nick Lowe, Tanita Tikaram, Bryan Ferry) in fall 2006. In addition to the excellent band members there are guest appearances by horn players Matt Holland and Martin Winning (Van Morrison, Lisa Stansfield) and keyboard player Geraint Watkins, known for his work with Paul McCartney, Bill Wyman, Van Morrison and Mark Knopfler. The album title “Whole´Nutha Thang” refers to a new era for the band. The whole process of recording in London was a big thing on its own and it can also be regarded as a giant step for the band towards an international career as a roots & blues music artist. The song writing is stronger than ever and the band is really groovy. The album offers a mature and focused collection of all-original roots and blues songs with soul, rock and pop flourishes. The rockin´ songs like “Hard for a woman, hard for a man”, “Jungle cat”, “Grapesugar love” as well as beautifully built laid back tracks “I fell down from the tree (when I saw Robert Johnson pass me by)”, Extreme”, “Silver moon” and “Whatever your name” are a soul stirring listening experience. “We already had the new material ready and some preliminary plans made for the realizing of our fourth album when we met with Neil Brockbank. He worked with Geraint Watkins on a festival gig here in Finland”, Björklöf recalls. “We jammed with Geraint that night and after the show we had a few drinks with the guys, just to socialize a bit. Next morning I had a discussion with Neil over breakfast and he impressed me with the way he talked about making music. He is really into this organic, live approach and letting things happen naturally. At that time no plans were yet made but I thought to myself “I want to make a record with this guy”, says Björklöf. After a couple of weeks he proposed the producing of the next Blue Strip album to Brockbank and six months later the band found themselves in the recording session in London.

Micke Bjorklof & Blue Strip’s 2002 album “ Three Times Seven Is…” won the “Best Blues album of the year” -award in Finland”. Hannu Leidén from Havana Black produced the album.

Mainly acoustic original blues & roots material spiced up a bit with electric guitar and harmonica

Includes acoustic covers of classic blues tracks