Black River Bluesman and the Croaking Lizard play their Blues in the deep woods and swamps of the muddy Black River Delta way up North in cold Finland. Their unrefined, electric and hypnotic Blues have been compared to the rough sounds of the Mississippi Hill Country artists as well as to anything between Tom Waits and Jim Morrison or psychoblues and garage. Whatever the influences may be, they play their animal Blues with no compromises - just the way they feel. Cds released: - Rat Bone (2008) - Cardboard and Plastic EP (2006) - Ants in my Kitchen (2005) - Not a Dog-gone Thing (2003) - Blues from the Tower (1998) Gigs in Germany, Italy, Czech Rep, Brazil, Nepal, UK, Estonia, Latvia, Poland... Festivals played include: - Floating Cockroach Festival 2007 - Himalayan Blues Festival (Nepal) 2007 - Rawa Blues (Poland) 2003 - Augustibluus (Estonia) 2007 - Dundee Blues Bonanza (UK) 2007 - Torun Blues Meeting (Poland) 2004 - Lindalevi Festival (Estonia) 2007 - Carelian Faces Festival (Russia) 2006 - Sun7 Festival (Brazil) 2007 - Halloween Blues 2007 - Aulanko Blues 2007, 2004 - Jämsession 2007, 2006 - Billnäs Revival 2006 - Scandinavian Blues Party 2006 - Elo Jazz & Blues 2005 - Amnesty International charity concert 2003 - Faces 2003 2008: -Shetland Blues Festival (UK) -Summertime Blues -Kaavi Blues -Dundee Blues Bonanza (UK) -Savonsolmu Beach & Blues Party -Floating Cockroach Festival II -Blues News 40 years - cavalcade Reviews, articles and interviews in dozens of international magazines and newspapers. Radio stations in 25 different countries have played the CDs Live TV and radio performances and interviews: -Finland, Italy, Brazil, Nepal, Poland, Scotland... "Jukka ´Black River Bluesman´ and his Cockroach Combo destroyed the woods and the mountains around their tiny hometown of Mustio Finland by carving their guitars, drums and harmonicas from whole ironwood trees with their bare hands and by using John Henry´s twelve pound hammer (with four foot handle) they beat down those mountains for brass, silver and iron (and coal to fire this thing) to fashion the rest of the parts they needed. When they were finished they stomped their thirst with a bottle of RL Burnside´s Bloody mthrfckr and sat down in the full moon light at that muddy crossroads between Holly Springs Mississippi, Mustio and County Kisko to play Their raw dirty beautiful Blues." - Rick Saunders, Deep Blues (USA), August 2006 'When Ugly Becomes Beautiful. Black River Bluesman & the Croaking Lizard have a strong belief in the no-frills alternative blues. On their new album 'Rat Bone', the foursome get to realise themselves bigtime. Native Finns have returned to the turntable. The names Huttunen, Juhola, Konttinen - and a Lindgren, all-important in the bilingual country - have a true Finnish ring to them. In music, they are known by the catchy name of Black River Bluesman & the Croaking Lizard (nee The Cockroach Combo). The name of the new album alone - Rat Bone - advices that one had better find the media-sexy pop music somewhere else. The sounds created by the band are closer to the 'original' blues than the majority of other new blues releases do. In that sense, the term 'alternative' is not the most logical possible; it is an understandable one, however, and it should be used for the sake of coherence. In addition to it's external features, the music itself indicates that this album is not about to make friends with anybody. On the contrary, the band only believe in themselves and in their alternative way of expression. They do not try to sound modern in any way. They play these no-frills alt.blues just because they want to; 'Rat Bone' is self-realisation in a most honest sense. Apart from one set of lyrics, the songs are written by Jukka 'Black River Bluesman' Juhola, also the singer and guitarist of the group. The foursome play these 11 originals in ways that are compelling and enchanting. One song (A Mighty Good Day) almost has some melody in it! The strongest track is probably the apocalypse-inspired 'You're Wrong Again' with lyrics by John Gerhard. Closing song 'Healow' is an easier one; otherwise only tempo changes bring in some variety. The use of the baritone guitar is a central ingredient in the sound of the band. The tool, used by Jussi Konttinen, is tuned somewhere between a guitar and a bass. In the end, it's sound is closer to a guitar - Konttinen is a guitarist himself anyway. Juha Lindgren's harmonica has a lot of strength and stamina to it. Antti Huttunen, who joined the band as a drummer last year, keeps the whole package together. 'Rat Bone' by Black River Bluesman & the Croaking Lizard is a sure-fire opinion-divider. It is a pamphlet for alternative blues, and at the same time, a strong objection towards everything mainstream. The beauty of music is in the ear of the beholder - this album is not pretty, at places irrelevantly so, but in it's honesty and originality it possesses a great deal of inner beauty.' - Blues-Finland.com by Pasi Tuominen.
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