21 May 2015
Modern Traditional: Bert
Deivert & Copperhead Run
Sweden's resident mandolin wizard Bert
and his new band Copperhead Run
reportedly cut "Blood In My Eyes For You" –
the entire 12-track, 52-minute album – "in four
and a half hours, including coffee and lunch
break, totally live, no edits, no overdubs". And
from the all-too-rarely-heard-these-days
count-off of "one, a-two, a-one, two, three,
four!" that kickstarts the record, it's brilliant all
the way.
The band consists of the American-born Deivert on vocals and National mandolin
or acoustic guitar, and his Swedish colleagues:
Fredrik Lindholm on drums and
Janne Zander on amplified slide guitar and Per-Arne Pettersson on
electric bass. Among the 12 tunes, there are four by
Sleepy John Estes, two by
Deivert and one each from
Big Joe Williams, Son House, Paul "Wine" Jones,
Yank Rachell, R.L. Burnside
, and Bo Carter of the Mississippi Sheiks.

According to Deivert, the album is an accurate representation of the band's live
set, and the song choices certainly support this – so yes, the Big Joe number
really is "Baby Please Don't Go", the Son House selection is "Death Letter", and
so on and so forth. No big surprises there – what strikes you instead is the
presentation. Yes, as one would expect, the overall vibe is that of acoustic
Americana, but the sound itself is very contemporary indeed – and by
"contemporary" I don't mean "bland and radio-friendly" or "lo-fi radical". It just
sounds good and funky, like music would sound at a great blues gig.

Examples? "Baby Please Don't Go" is taken at a break-neck pace, with
Pettersson's bass pattern modelled more after the
Them/Amboy Dukes/AC/DC
readings of the song than the Big Joe or
Muddy Waters versions – yet the track
loses none of the easy-going rural ambience characteristic of Deivert's music.
"Death Letter" rolls out as mid-tempo, reggae-like funk, and Deivert's own "Black
Nanny", dedicated to
T-Model Ford's favourite Peavey guitar, goes even further
in the dance floor direction, as if destined for some Fat Possum-style re-sampling
– although none is required, for this is great dance music as it is!

More New Orleans second line than Chicago shuffle, it's the rhythm section of
Pettersson and Lindholm that gives this album its irresistible bounce. Deivert's
fine vocals and exquisite mandolin playing hover on top, driving the songs and
leading the band. To say that he's one of the few remaining blues mandolinists
would be a considerable understatement, for he is simply one of the best – pay
particular attention to the examples of slide mandolin playing sprinkled across
the CD! And then, providing the fuel and filling the frequency range between
bass and mandolin with big, round and resonant slide guitar tones is Janne
Zander, Deivert's long-time guitarist. Who does he sound like – well, mainly like
Janne Zander, but if I had to come up with a comparison, I'd say that fans of
John Mooney's electric work will not be disappointed...

It is not unusual for a review to conclude with "go see them live," but "Blood In
My Eyes For You" captures Copperhead Run's live essence so successfully that
this time, I would actually advise you to start with the CD – which of course will
only make you want to see them in concert so much more. And while many of the
songs on this album have been recorded before by a variety of performers –
including Bert Deivert himself! – I'd say these versions are outstanding and need
to be heard. Recommended!


Bert Deivert & Copperhead Run: Blood In My Eyes For You
Hard Danger Studio, 2015

Bert Deivert (vocals, National RM-1 mandolin, Sundberg S-00 guitar), Fredrik
Lindholm (drums & percussion), Janne Zander (1938 National Style O & 1951
Gibson ES-125 guitars), Per-Arne Pettersson (Fender bass, foot stomp)

Produced by Janne Zander, Per-Arne Pettersson, Bert Deivert

Bert Deivert & Copperhead Run, Bert Deivert

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