I am a sucker for a sad country song. They get me every time. A little twang, some steel guitar, and a sad story and I’m sold (addendum: Word just told me that instead of “I’m” I should use “I are” to be grammatically correct. I appreciate Microsoft getting into the hillbilly spirit.). Sweden isn’t exactly a bastion of country music though. Despite this, I’ve managed to see Alan Jackson and Toby Keith in concert. But come on, they are Americans so it doesn’t really count. Last night counted though.
Last night I was at Debaser Slussen in Stockholm (which I always associate with more of a hipster music scene) to watch a country music act. From Sweden. Kiruna to be exact. Singing in English. The Willy Clay Band (I think most of the time there is no “The” but it just seems so awkward without it).
They were glorious. Had the requisite love songs. The sad songs. The stories in musical form. Hell, they even had a little hillbilly beat going. I promptly grabbed all of their songs on Spotify and have tormented my coworkers with Swedish country music all day. If you get the chance, check out [The] Willy Clay Band (YouTube clips here).
I was impressed by the turnout at the concert. A solid amount of people came out. Many actually wearing plaid and flannel. I did not wear flannel. Just so you know.
But the outpouring of plaid wasn’t what caught my eye. It was the line dancing. Let me set the stage (or the dance floor as it were) for you.
The crowd gave the stage a respectful ten feet of distance. With the opening act, my friend Terander asked if the distance was especially Swedish. I answered not yet because it was still the opening act. Obviously I was reserving judgment because I am an open minded and kind hearted person and never judge people on first impression. Or something like that.
As the night progressed, the ten feet of distance were preserved. [The] Willy Clay Band came on, the crowd went wild in a Swedish sense and the ten feet of distance were preserved. An hour went by, several beers were spilled by the drunken fan in front of us, and the ten feet of distance were preserved. At this point, I started to have my doubts. Maybe this really was Swedishness in concert form.
Suddenly, in the finest form of Swedish hickishness that I have ever seen, line dancing broke out. I contend that the Swedes were just so forward thinking that they left the area open in case of emergency. Or line dancing. I’m pretty sure they are the same thing.
Suddenly, a group of four, plus one slightly portly, obviously inebriated man, were line dancing. There was clapping, maybe a cat-call or two and the line dancing grew. By the end there were eight to ten country music fans in Stockholm, Sweden line dancing. Line dancing. In Sweden. I did not dance. Because despite what you might think, I was not the slightly portly, obviously inebriated man trying to keep up.
As a general rule, it takes enough alcohol to kill a small pony to get me to dance. And, despite my fear of horses, I quite like small ponies so try to avoid drinking that much. Especially on a Tuesday night. But I appreciate that Stockholm’s finest gave me a country music show for the ages.
Welcome to Sweden. And Swedish country music.
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