Q&A with Austrian guitarist and singer Jörg Danielsen, influences reach back to the electric blues of the 1960s & 70s

"It’s timeless music with a lot of facets. It’s pure, emotional and transports a lot of energy. It can hit you in many ways. No matter if you experience a concert while sitting, or if you dance and move to the groove. Blues connects people. It’s the only music I know where musicians even don’t need to speak the same language. If they understand the language of the blues, it’s enough to have a great time!"

Jörg Danielsen: He Got The Blues

For almost 20 years now, Austrian guitarist and singer Jörg Danielsen’s heart has been captured by the blues. His influences reach back to the electric blues of the 1960s & 70s and cover a wide range of styles within that era. The leg shaking and body twisting energy of Danielsen and his 2 other fine young gentlemen on stage won’t leave any dry seats in the house. In September 2020 his 5th album with the sounding title “Guess who’s got the blues” was released by the label Wolf Records International. The sound of electric blues from the 20th century has influenced the musician and his band, who have been touring for several years.                                                     (Photo: Jörg Danielsen)

The varied program includes songs from Magic Slim, Freddy King or Willie Dixon as well as his own material. The rhythm section is formed by Martin Melzer (bass) and Christoph Karas (drums). The leg shaking and body twisting energy of Danielsen and his 2 other fine young gentlemen on stage won’t leave any dry seats in the house. Jörg Danielsen will be the Austrian participation at the European Blues Challenge, Chorzów in Poland (June 1-3, 2023).

Interview by Michael Limnios

How has the Blues music influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?

Without the blues, I’d have never seen the places I’ve been and would have never met all these lovely people. Some of them became close friends. I feel very blessed to have the opportunity to live this life. I think it made me more grateful and made me realize in which awesome position I am to do what I love.

How do you describe your sound and songbook? Where does your creative drive come from?

I’m influenced by a broad range of Blues styles. All in all, it is a mix across the 20th century with a heavy impact of raw Chicago blues. I don’t like effects too much. A fully cranked up amp, a guitar and jamming with an ass kicking groove section is enough to get me a broad grin and goose pumps.

I can’t list all my „heros“ who influenced me, but my all-time favorite is the sound of Magic Slim. On the lyric-side I’d say the humor of Willie Dixon, or Amos Milburn inspires me.

Why do you think that the Blues music continues to generate such a devoted following in Europe?

It’s timeless music with a lot of facets. It’s pure, emotional and transports a lot of energy. It can hit you in many ways. No matter if you experience a concert while sitting, or if you dance and move to the groove. Blues connects people. It’s the only music I know where musicians even don’t need to speak the same language. If they understand the language of the blues, it’s enough to have a great time!

"There is always some kind of innovation/advance during the process of music. But the blues-wheel is already invented.  Sometimes I miss the blues in blues music… but I may be a bit old-fashioned with this way of thinking. Off the blues scene, songs are getting shorter and shorter. Guitars solos on radio, at least in Austria, are some kind of no-go. Most of the radio stations supporting the „easy listening pop music everything sounds the same“ stuff.  My hope is, that there will be more support for handmade, no autotuned music in the future." (Jörg Danielsen / Photo by Michael Mistelbacher)

What would you say characterizes Austrian blues scene in comparison to other European scenes?

The Austrian Blues scene changed a lot in comparison to the past decades. We lost the one or other legendary blues venue during the years. But there are still blues enthusiasts who keeps the flag up.

I’ve seen some „school of blues“ in several States of Europe. In these areas is a lot of offspring and interest for the music. I think that there would be some need of action in Austria. On the other hand there is a big, in Europe well connected, blues-dance community in Austria, which grows pretty fast.

Are there any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?

I think, until now, there are enough stories for a small book … but I love to tell this one:

In 2019 we recorded our Album „Guess who’s got the blues“ in Switzerland. We booked the studio for 3 days during our 3 weeks tour cross several countries in Europe.

We spent these 3 days continuously in the Studio, sleeping on the floor between our whole gear. We had some bread, cold food, and did some improvised cooking. One day we made some noodles inside of a water boiler - so we decided to show this fantastic way of cooking at Instagram.

After 1 Minute of the post, we got the message of an annoyed Italian: Every time a foreigner cooks pasta like this an Italian in the world dies …

"The Austrian Blues scene changed a lot in comparison to the past decades. We lost the one or other legendary blues venue during the years. But there are still blues enthusiasts who keeps the flag up."

(Photo: Jörg Danielsen)

What do you miss most nowadays from the blues of the past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?   

There is always some kind of innovation/advance during the process of music. But the blues-wheel is already invented.  Sometimes I miss the blues in blues music… but I may be a bit old-fashioned with this way of thinking.

Off the blues scene, songs are getting shorter and shorter. Guitars solos on radio, at least in Austria, are some kind of no-go. Most of the radio stations supporting the „easy listening pop music everything sounds the same“ stuff. My hope is, that there will be more support for handmade, no autotuned music in the future.

What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your experience in the music paths?

Don’t wait for tomorrow. Be open for new. Keep on goin. Be thankful for what you have - and I’m very thankful to live this life. But the most important thing: Don’t cook noodles in a water boiler…

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