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Written in fRoots issue 319/320, 2009


Caprice CAP 21817 (2009)

That massive, hefty-halling/polska Swedish sound is back.
     Hedningarna and early Groupa live on in Boot’s new album, not only in spirit and energy but also in the person of Hållbus Totte Mattsson, player of hefty electrified baroque lute and mandora. He’s one third of Boot together with top Dalarna fiddler Ola Bäckström of the late and lamented Swåp on the sympathetic-stringed modern viola d’amore, and new Bootster and current Hedningarna fellow-member Samuel Andersson on string drum, fiddle and the meaty melodic bass-whoomping tambourine that since Björn Tollin’s pioneering work in Hedningarna has become a new-traditional instrument impelling much of Sweden’s most feet-stirring roots music.
     Boot began in the 90s as the trio of Mattsson, Bäckström and Tollin, working with the long-coated whirling polska dancers of Virvla, and at that time was pretty much acoustic. This new release, though, writes it large, embracing a lot of the resources of the ongoing and still powerful Hedningarna, that wonderfully grainy, gutty, fuzzing amplification and bass-enhancement of acoustic instruments, and applies them to the deeply swingy melodiousness of strong tunes written mostly by Bäckström and Andersson. A mighty welcome and heart-lifting return.

© 2009 Andrew Cronshaw

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