Album Review: FAMILY MATTERS by STRAW
Album Review and Article by Joseph Timmons: IndiePulse Music Journalist
Straw are a “Family Band’, literally, a Family that lives, loves and creates music that is completely inspiring to hear. Straw come to us from across the sea from the beautiful country of Denmark features the talents of Carsten Fabricius (Guitar-Vocals), Wife Henriette Lykke Fabricius (Lead Vocals/Guitar), Daughters Sally and Denise On Vocals.
The Denmark-based group is well known for their clever videos, including “Family And Friends,” “To A Higher Place” and “Hot Sunny Day” as well as others of their creation.
“The Family That Plays Together Stays Together” is a commonly-heard phrase, and in the case of Denmark-based band Straw, couldn’t be more accurate. In a previous article and subsequent interview, we learned so much more about the people who made this music their lives.
“When we started it was just Carsten and I,” recalls Henriette. ”Several years back we wrote songs together. After I had participated in the Danish Eurovision Song Contest, we made several solo albums under my name, all produced by Carsten. Then, we had children and I continued singing as a solo artist. We had a lot to do and things were difficult – to be honest, we almost got divorced. But we made it. Both of us had a lot in our hearts and our minds, and we began to write songs together again – we still do (write together). We ended up with a lot of songs and decided to form Straw. The children came naturally, as they almost grew up with the songs and therefore knew them better than anyone! They grew up with a singing mother and a father producing music and playing the guitar. For them, it was the most natural thing in the world to sing and play music. They began singing along and gradually they also joined us on gigs. Suddenly we were a family band. She adds, “Straw has it all and it stands for strong nature and flexibility. We think it’s very important to be flexible in relationships, like when a straw bends in the wind.”
Other members of Straw: Helge Solberg – “a very famous Norwegian bass player who came to Denmark when he was very young and stayed here when he met his wife and got a lot of gigs. He has played with almost every famous band in Denmark and is still going strong in his sixties. He’s now dedicated to Straw Family,” explains Henriette; Frederik Nordvang – “our young lead guitarist and son-in-law (married to Denise, Carsten’s wingman). Since he was very young he has also been playing a lot with his own band. Frederik lives with Denise”; Carsten Milner – “our drummer. He’s also a very experienced musician and has played with most of the best bands in Denmark. We are honored to have him with us.”
Defining the Straw “sound,” on the other hand, is a bit more challenging. “We’re not rock, or blues or country – we’re actually a little bit of each,” insists Carsten. “This (variety of sounds) in our music has led to a wide fan base, but, sometimes confuses radio programmers looking to put (Straw) into one particular genre. “
We got a unique opportunity to speak with members of Straw in interview and now, with the release of their album FAMILY MATTERS, their outlook and their desire to make music a life’s foundation, just rings so true.
IPM: This may seem obvious to you, but perhaps not so obvious to anyone discovering you for the first time: Why did you choose the name “Straw” for your group’s name?
Henriette: We had a lot of trouble finding the right name for our band. First of all it had to be free on the market/ internet so that we could have a home page in our name, next it had to be easily remembered and have a great sound. On top of that it would be nice if you could connect the name with us and our songs. Straw has it all and it stands for strong nature and flexibility. We think it´s very important to be flexible in relationships like when a Straw bends in the wind.
IPM: Straw is a true “family band,” in that two of your daughters sing, as well as husband-wife. How did this lovely situation come to be, and how do you make it work on a day-to-day basis?
Henriette: We started to be just Carsten and me. Several years back we wrote songs together and later Carsten, after I participated in the Danish Eurovision Song Contest, we made several Solo albums in my name and produced by Carsten. Then we had children and only I continued to sing, but for years in my own name. We had a lot to do, things were difficult – we almost got divorced. But we made it, and both of us had a lot on our heart and we began to write songs together again – and we still do. We ended up with a lot of songs and then we decided to make Straw. The children came naturally, as they almost grew up with the songs and therefore knew them better than anyone. They grew up with a singing mother and a father producing music and playing the guitar. For them it was the most natural thing in the world to sing and play music. They began singing along and gradually they also joined us on gigs. Suddenly we were a family band.
Many people think it´s fantastic, and we think so to, but it´s not without problems. We are a very open minded family and there must be place for discussions to make it work. Furthermore it´s a must, that we help each other in day-to-day basis for making it possible to do all that needs to be done when you run a band, with promotion, videos, recordings etc.
Carsten: And remember – we have raised the girls as artists and individuals – they do have their own opinion – They know that they are bosses in their own lives, So you know – sometimes, it is difficult to find solutions – without discussions. Straw is always a part of our day – and we believe that it will go on for the rest of our lives.
FAMILY MATTERS by Straw is “Old School” in a new way, a blend of folksy rock, a little bit county and a little bit of blues, but in all, wonderful. It blends the best musical styles with lyrics that hit home in a way that gives you a warm and loving feeling inside. I may date myself, but it reminds me of when I was young and would watch The Partridge Family on Television, how no matter what problems you see in life, a Family rallies together to solve those problems with love and understanding.
Coming from Denmark, one would think the writing styles would be just a bit different, but Straw sounds like the family next door, loving parents, loving siblings and a family that sings together. I know I sound completely enamored with Straw, but they have what you need in music, Talent, Strength in Understanding and a Connection to the Artists. Most of the songs were written by Henriette & Carsten, but Denise and Sally have the spotlight in ALIVE and Spider Making New Web, respectively.
Alive, written by Denise is a “nice and funny” way to tell about her life, one that can be difficult sometimes but at the same time telling how she is grateful for the joys she embraces. Spider Making New Web, written by Sally is a truly beautiful ballad about one’s first love, about being in love, feelings, sometimes being taken advantage of, deceived and finding the strength to keep on and about moving on in life.
The rest of the album FAMILY MATTERS, as said, was written by Henriette & Carsten, are heartfelt and speak to the inner feelings we sometimes take for granted and need to be reminded of.
1965, is a song born years ago, when Henriette suddenly finds herself as an adult after coming from a childhood, with the naivety that fortunately accompanies being a child. She discovers that life is about much more than playing and that there is not only good in the world and her eyes on how her beloved parents, who she perceived as superheroes and with the surplus to everything, had actually been a road that bumped like crazy, To ensure safe frames and love for her children
Hot Sunny Day is a “Summer Song” and a song about missing someone.
It´s Cold Outside about an ice cold and snowy winter’s night in a cabin in Sweden with icicles hanging from the windows. It’s an emotional song about when you lose your true love.
Bang Bang an energetic and powerful song about a very awkward and unlucky woman who finally decides to do something about her unsatisfied life.
I Hope is an emotional story about changing unconditionally to become a better person and to discover and appreciate those who are close to you.
Family And Friends a song that is a tribute to the close relationships, the family and the friends. The song emerged to remind us that family and friends mean everything and you can´t do without them.
To A Higher Place remind us it is the little things that can make one happy and to live with one that makes life even more worth living and lifting one to another dimension.
Dreaming a mood driven song where you return to a hard period of your life. From where you are now, it feels like a dream.
I go into detail on these songs from a very winsome point of view, I find that when music comes from the heart, from a place of love and nurturing, it means many things to many people, some may view things differently, but FAMILY MATTERS is just that, it’s about Family Matters and that what Matters is Family. Obviously, you have to hear it for yourself, and then share it with those that matter to you, like Straw, Share your love with your world and your world will have more than enough love to share.
Find and Follow Straw Online:
Their Website http://www.straw.dk
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