LiveList Discovery: Darling West

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Darling West
Tuesday, February 20th at 9:30AM Pacific at Paste Studio NYC

Americana music may be American by name, but it’s equally at home in the fjords and mountains of Norway and Sweden. “Nordic Americana,” as this subgenre’s most notable artists affectionately call it, take a universal country/folk tradition and add a distinctly Scandinavian feel. While the name may sound like an oxymoron at first, it doesn’t take long to see what a good pair the snow and cold make with a warm vocal harmony and a twangy acoustic guitar melody.

Darling West – One of the more prominent groups coming out of this brewing musical movemnet is Norway’s Darling West. Featuring multi-instrumentalist and lead singer Mari Sandvær Kreken, banjoist and co-vocalist Tor Egil Kreken, and guitarist (and additional co-vocalist) Kjetil Steensnæs, the trio cites American incluences ranging from Emmylou Harris to the Avett Brothers. Through based in the capital city of Oslo, they say that most of their songwiritng takes place in the mountains, like in Ål, where they go to escape the city. The end result is something of a revitalized take on classic country and Americana. For a taste, check out their “one-take” cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain.”

Norwegian Spellemann – If the approach sounds obscure on paper, Darling West is proving otherwise in Norway. Since releasing their breakthrough second record Vinyl and a Heartache in 2016, the band has enjoyed regular radio rotation, appeared at Norway’s biggest music festivals, including a main stage performance at Oslo’s Øyafestivalen, and even won a Norwegian Spellemann award – the equivalent of a Grammy in the U.S. – for best country album in 2016. This success has started to spread, too. In 2017, they made appearances at Austin’s SXSW and Nashville’s Americana Fest, and their singles have breached the U.S. Top 100 Country charts. They’ll be in NYC on Friday, and don’t be surprised if their back on this side of the Atlantic before long.

While I Was Asleep – The band wasted no time getting back into the studio: on February 18 they will release While I Was Asleep, their self-produced third full-length record. They’ve already released four singles from the ten-track album (including the title track, below), and save for the addition of drums on three of them, it’s more of the same catchy country/folk that has earned them their sucess so far. Their plans for 2018 include a NYC show to accompany their Paste performance this week and extensive touring of Norway in March and April. Expect much more to come from Darling West in 2018.

To bookmark their Paste Studio set on LiveList, click here. To learn more about the band, go to

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