Progressive folk-pop from Sweden
Meek Men is a songwriting collaboration between a therapist (Jonas Lundberg)
and a janitor (Kenneth Holmstrom).
Jonas Lundberg has been a therapist, teacher and singer for many years and his lyrics has been inspired from many interesting therapy sessions. On Meek Men’s debut album “Dumdedum”, released in oct 2016, you will hear songs about living in a relationship filled with violence, how to be restrained by social phobia, about Syrian refugees with parlous experiences, about young girls with performance anxiety, and about the search for meaning and forgiveness. In the midst of these stories Jonas and Kenneth have their own perspective – simple, slightly overweight middle aged men who has been married to their wife for more than two decades – happily humming songs about being content and thankful. Meek in mind!
The music of Meek Men is a mixture of different musical influences. The core is a kind of folk-pop with a touch of country, singer/songwriter and Irish music. Add to that some unexpected harmonies and interesting sounds. Some would call it progressive folk-pop!
Kenneth Holmstrom, who wrote most of the music, is a bassist, guitarist, composer and janitor! He is familiar with all kinds of styles ranging from pop, gospel, rock, jazz and blues to folkmusic. He is one of few who has toured with Sixto Rodriguez, the Detroit based songwriter who was portrayed in the Oscar awarded documentary “Searching for Sugarman“ by Malik Bendjelloul.
MEEK MEN: THE STORY
How They Got Here
In february 2015 Jonas Lundberg and Kenneth Holmström teamed up for a songwriting collaboration. After having worked musically in other projects they felt like making some music of their own.
The following months were quite intense with composing songs together. Kenneth first wrote the music and then passed it on to Jonas for some lyrics. Eventually the material was narrowed down to eleven songs – musically spanning over different genres but with a core of “folk meets pop”.
In the fall of 2015 they started recording the material with the good help of talented musicians from Stockholm, Gothenburg, Borås and Alingsås. In august 2016 they released the single "I See The Horizon" followed by the full album titled "Dumdedum" in october the same year. (Scroll down for some reviews).
Album credits (Dumdedum):
Kenneth Holmström – composer, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, keyboards, bass, bodhrán
Jonas Lundberg – lyrics, lead vocals, background vocals
Matilda Hagström – lead vocals, background vocals
Markus Karlsson – electric guitar, lead guitar
Joel Hagen – saxophone, flute, tin whistle
Micke Nybo – drums and percussion
Berra Karlsson – pedal steel, dobro
Anton Hermansson – acoustic bass
Sigvard Järrebring – violin, viola
Anders Wihk – grand piano
Thomas Hagby – accordion
Peter Burman – keyboards
Erik Igelström – mandolin
Joakim Svensson – oboe
Lars Börjesson – fiddle
Lennart Esborn – cello
Recorded by Kenneth Holmström and Micke Nybo
Additional recordings by:
Anders Wihk, Erik Igelström, Thomas Hagby and Sigvard Järrebring
Mixed by Eric Vo at Studiohuset, Gothenburg
Mastered by Classe Persson at CRP Mastering, Stockholm
Photos: Elias Holmström
All songs written by
Kenneth Holmström and Jonas Lundberg
Produced and arranged by Kenneth Holmström
...You can listen to, and enjoy, Dumdedum on a superficial level enjoying the shifting styles and musical textures from the jazz of ‘Diggin’’ with its superb electric guitar by Markus Karlsson to the Middle Eastern rhythms of ‘Another Kind Of Spring’. But then you’ll want to dig into the lyrics rather more deeply. The opening track, ‘I See The Horizon’, tells of an old ferry captain who, reaching the end of his career, starts to look beyond his limited world. You could take it into any folk club with an acoustic guitar and everyone would want to know where you got it. Wisely, you’d smile quietly and say nothing.
Dumdedum is an album you have to take your time over. It’s musically varied with some gorgeous solos on saxophone, flute, oboe and mandolin and the mood shifts from track to track but it all holds together in a satisfying way and is guaranteed to contain no four-chord songs.
...But if this sounds like Scandinavian angst, that's not quite accurate. There are several quiet and tender songs, but mostly the Meek Men seek poignancy by hitting us with feathers instead of bricks. It's an accomplished album musically with loads of instruments, including accordion, dobro, guitars, fiddles, mandolin, pedal steel, saxophone, and penny whistle. Even if you find the vocals a bit too subdued for your tastes, Dumdedum remains one of the year's smartest albums.