Anja Fønss: Wait a Minute
Distinguished debut album from a distinctive singer.
“Wait A Minute” is a debut album filled with roots-music of the finest draught. It is swampy blues with Mississippi inspiration, and laid back spirit from a New Orleans, where the clubs overflow with jazz, funk and blues of the optimistic kind. It is the songwriter alone with guitar or piano, and there are moods of vast spaces and open rooms – and “…there is always a song to sing” as Anja sings in the warm and swaying “Boogie Me Right” whose title summarizes the album perfectly.
Anja Fønss’ intense and sensitive voice is focused throughout all the 11 songs, so her voice is the perfect guide through these stories of longing and passion, people and meetings, beginnings and endings. The songs are cut by the intense and not always easily understood phenomenon we call life, which we all have to navigate through every day.
The fact that meetings with outstanding people can change our lives is clearly proven by Anja Fønss’ debut album. Three distinctive musicians each gave Anja Fønss the direction towards the debut album that she is now ready to release: The Danish songwriter Ivan Pedersen, the likewise Danish blues guitarist i.a. H.P. Lange and finally the American, and now sadly deceased, Delta-blues-giant R. L. Burnside. About 10 years ago it was Ivan Pedersen that encouraged Anja Fønss to write and sing her own songs, and her ears for the blues music were acutely opened when she, together with H.P. Lange, visited a Jukejoint in Mississippi, where R.L. Burnside played. It all ended up in a jam session where Anja was invited onto stage, and Burnside, after singing a duet with her, appreciatively broke out: “Yeah – you really got it baby”. The three musicians are all an important influence on this first solo-album that is now released with the title “Wait A minute”. Ivan Pedersen inspired Anja’s choice of using her own songs and lyrics, H.P. Lange lets his characteristic sound of the Dobro stream through the album, and the song “Much Too Much” is dedicated to R.L. Burnside, the old master of blues who imbued Anja with feelings for ´The Blues`, which have become her musical fate.
Anja Fønss has chosen music as her life companion, and on “Wait A minute” she surrounds herself with a strong team of musicians, each delivering their finest on a beautiful and emotional album. First and foremost co-producer and husband Skipper Flytkjær, who plays acoustic guitar on the album. H.P. Lange is already mentioned but deserves a special applause for the plaintive dobro sound which stands as one of the beacons on the album. Lau Grønager (electric guitar) and Nikolaj Heyman (baritone guitar) are other potent co-musicians – and the foundation is securely cast by drummers Peter Seebach and Jesper Falch and by bassists Søren Jensen and Paul Junior. The organ and piano by Kristian Lassen and Mads Bærentzen are gratifying instruments on selected songs – as are the swinging wind group, who give a strong dynamic to numbers like “Tears From The Sky” and “Much Too Much”. One finds excellent chorus around the album by Jacob Riis and Kasper Høyer, and finally it is worth noting the singer Henrik Bertram – the well chosen duet singer in the song “Tears From The Sky”.
Anja Fønss is certainly not a newcomer on the Danish scene, and she has, among other things, been the front figure in groups like Anja & The Blues Knights, H.P. Lange, Esben Kjær, Anja Fønss Trio and Jacinto Ballroom Jazz band. As choir singer Anja Fønss has been heard on recordings with names like Ole Frimer and Turnip Greens. She was brought up on musical ´fathers milk`, where the inspiration came, not so much from the childhood piano lessons, but from the time where her father started playing the guitar. Then, when they together made part-singing versions of old seaman’s songs, Anja became seriously embossed with the power of music. Later on it was high school choirs, a cappella groups, soul, big band and jazz groups, which finally lead her to sing her own songs at ´open-mike nights` in small New York clubs. It felt right – and with the release of “Waite A Minute” the wheel has turned full circle.
Danish Radios P4, Swedish Radios P4, and a long list of local radio stations in Denmark have reacted very positively to the single, and the album “Wait A Minute” is broadcast frequently many places.
To represent the album, Anja Fønss tours around the country, and she will be giving interviews to the medias in September and October. In connection with the release a promotion campaign will be running with events and concerts in a number of shops and shopping malls. A spring tour for 2009 is under preparation.
Here some of the first reviews and feedbacks on “Wait A Minute”:
Steffen Lange gives 5 out of 6 stars and writes e.g.: “A beautiful debut”
“Wait a minute” stands out as a very solid work and a surprising, strong debut from a singer, who impresses with her wide reserve of strength and demand to be ´her own`. The voice is mature and full, but stands out at the same time as delectable and fragile – whenever the melody and lyrics demands it.
In other words a very independent and personal voice, whose beautiful debut should open the ears of many (Mid Jutland newspaper the 19/9 – 08).
“Though best of all, is her fantastic voice! I mean, who on earth does this not touch? And she is pure Danish!”
“Wait A Minute” is a quiet and beautiful Rock-Pop-Country-ballade, which is good in its own right. But her voice lifts the album a couple of ratings!”
“Yeah – you really got it baby” (R.L. Burnside)
“SMOOTH – your music is just smooth.
Thank you for a lovely evening. The concert in Fatter Eskild was a really wonderful experience, which we much enjoyed!!!!
…And just have to write and tell you, that your CD is soon worn out. We listen to it all the time. My favorite numbers are 1, 3, 8 and 11. They make me smile, give me goose bumps, cry… well – go through the whole emotional register. The others numbers ´just` make me swim away, and even though I normally avoid jazz, to Michael’s deep regret, with this album I have to give in.
I hope you get success – the album is exquisite, and I just say: Nora Jones go home!”
(Bente Steffensen Roots – Consolt)