Jan Jonsson (Sweden)

Jan with The Western Toneflyers @ KoM, Göteborg 2007-04-20
Photo by Vanja Fridhammar
Steel Reflections

A man of many talents, Jan Jonsson. For a long time known to me primarily as an eminent surgeon of ailing vintage tube amps. In his role as a musician I met him for the first time at the Tuesday blues & roots nights at the Jameson's Pub in Gothenburg. One of those 'Ruby Tuesdays': A long row of sorely missed music evenings masterminded by the enthusiast Matteo Kopach.
At that time (February 2006) Jan was gigging with the band Vintage Vibe. He opened up forcefully on his trusty pedal steel but sometimes traded it for a Fender Nocaster during the gig. He was just as impressive on both these beautiful instruments, be it blues, country or rock. Or - probably - a mixture of all three genres. I remember I was particularly impressed by his pedal steel playing on the Don Nix classic "Same Old Blues" where his steel and pedals produced a most sophisticated mixture of country colourings and Les Paul stylings. Transgressing borders in an extremely cool and musical manner. And yes, 'transgressing musical borders', that seems to be what this gifted musician is all about.

Since that evening I am happy to report I have caught him many a night on stage: playing in different genres but always armed with his beautiful steels:
With the post-Vintage Vibe outfit: Steel 'n Blues. Not only well known on the Gothenburg blues circuit but also from their performance at the prime Swedish blues festival: Åmål's Blues Fest.
With the superb Telecaster player from Texas, legendary Redd Volkaert.
With the cool retro band The Western Toneflyers. From Jan's arrival onwards the band's repertoire has veered more and more towards western swing.
In the role of Most Applauded Guest Player at the jazz guitar player Rolf Jardemark's monthly jam sessions labelled "Club Guitarland" at the music bar KoM in Gothenburg.
(And soon I will experience the Flat Five Society!)

And now a debut album in his own name. Do I dare write 'transgressing musical borders' yet again? However you label it, this CD is a beautiful piece of work. And a true labour of love. Making it very difficult for me to avoid superlatives.