Deeply influenced by Deep Purple, Free, Stray Dog and 70s classic rock among others, the Umea, Sweden-based quartet Old Man’s Will, comprised of Benny Åberg (vocals), Klas Holmgren (guitar). Tommy Nilsson (bass) and Gustav Kejving (drums) quickly received attention across Continental Europe with the release of their debut album. After embarking on a successful European tour, the band’s Soundcloud page caught the attention of the folks at RidingEasy Records, who then signed them to a deal to re-issue their debut effort.
Interestingly, as the Umea, Sweden-based quartet was starting to receive international attention, the members of the band had started working on the material that would eventually comprise their sophomore effort, Hard Times — Troubled Man, which was released yesterday. As guitar Klas Holmgren explains in press notes, “It was a step towards a more classic rock sound,” On the first album, we were heavily influenced by a lot of contemporary sounds and bands — something we are moving away from. For Hard Times – Troubled Man, we used old hard rock and blues as a foundation, creating something that’s meant to become the sound of Old Man’s Will.”
“Troubled Man,” the latest single off the Swedish quartet’s sophomore album is a swaggering, stomping blues-based power chord jam with an anthemic hooks, and howled vocals that sounds as though it could have been easily released in 1975 as it could have been released this past month. As Holmgren explains the song is ” . . . about being a creative musician today and the life around it. Musicians and creative people are unique, and they’re troubled. Sometimes, the more troubled you are, the closer you are to writing that magic. An ordinary life just can’t compete. Playing rock music today means big sacrifices and insane amounts of work with barely no return, but we love what we do and we don’t trim our sails to the wind.”
Certainly, what this particular single suggests is that the classic, blues-based rock sound still manages to be powerfully universal and relevant — and that it’s not just the domain of Jack White either. But perhaps more important is that the old-school sound can be subtly modified in a way that bridges both contemporary tastes while remaining truthful to its influences.