by Al Kaufman
In most cases, mixing Sweden with New Orleans doesn’t work. Try to imagine Dr. John singing Dancing Queen. Not a pretty picture, is it?
Theresa Andersson grew up in Sweden, but moved to New Orleans when she was 18. Thus it would only seem natural that her sound would be most closely related to . . . Canadian Jane Siberry. Like Siberry, Andersson experiments with sounds, giving her songs an ethereal quality. But she can also turn around and punch out the gospel-tinged, blue-eyed soul, a la Joan Osbourne, in songs such as "Locusts Are Gossiping." And yes, there is more than a touch of that smoldering New Orleans style on "The Waltz."
But what makes this CD (which will not be released until September) so amazing are the rich, textured sounds were all produced in Andersson’s kitchen. She even used half filled Barq root beer bottles to make a vibrophone. She rubbed wine glasses to make a keyboard sound. Many of her percussive sounds came from found kitchen items, or her own voice. She used her guitar and violin to mimic the sounds of other instruments.
But it’s not a gimmick. Much like Tom Waits finds music out of the sounds he hears around him, so too does Andersson. Although she is, for a most part, a one woman band, her songs overflow with feeling and texture.
The tough part is performing these songs live. Every appendange is used. She turns the knobs of her loop pedal with her feet while she plays the violin or guitar and sings. So intricate are her live pieces that some of them take more than two months to arrange and have been inspired by Chicago’s Blair Thomas and Company puppet theater. Because, you know, she didn’t have enough influences already.