An In Depth Interview with Thorbjorn Risager
Thorbjørn Risager & The Black Tornado: Talent, dedication and perseverance As this band enters its fourteenth year, they really seem to be on the verge to a success that will open some new doors, in new territories. And with all the hard work they put into this project, they surely deserve it.
In 2003, singer and guitarist Thorbjørn Risager asked some of his favourite musicians to join him in a brand new band. The picked the band name ”Thorbjørn Risager Blue 7” and started playing round Denmark. A year later they recorded their first album, ”Live 2004”, and in 2005 they met their current agent who also started working with their CD promotion, in connection with the release of their second album, ”From The Heart”, which already got considerable media recognition. BluesWax, a well-respected US publication, used the headline ”Next big name in blues: Thorbjorn” and the epic quote ”Risager has songwriting skills that match his larger-than-life voice” is from that review. The same magazine wrote about the next album ”Here I Am”: Sometimes a singer’s voice just stands out and forces you to listen. Take one part Ray Charles, one part Bob Seger, and one part Joe Cocker and you may have the vocal instrument of Denmark’s Thorbjørn Risager.
By then they had been signed by the Danish label Cope Records, run by the band’s trumpet player. A few albums later, they made a deal with French blues/roots label Dixiefrog, and in 2014 they secured a record deal with Ruf Records, based in Germany but with a very strong position in the international blues world. The same year, before the release of the multi-award-winning album ”Too Many Roads”, they decided to add the band name ”The Black Tornado” – to signify that this is a REAL band and not some random musicians that back up a vocalist. They were also hoping that this new name would be a bit easier to google, for all the listeners that heard the band’s music being played on international radio stations.
Parallel to writing, recording and releasing new material with 12 – 18 months’ interval, they have kept touring all over Europe, plus a tour to Canada and a spot at Asia’s biggest blues festival Mahindra Blues in Mumbai, where they shared the stage with Buddy Guy. They play 100 gigs per year, and they have performed in 21 countries. Remarkably enough, only two musicians have quit the band since the start in 2003 and they have worked with the same agency, Westman Music, since 2005. This is a hard-working band, and they really stick together through thick and thin. They are united through their talent, their dedication and their perseverance!
Hardcore Blues anno 2012, a real electroshock for the collapsed twelve-bar-format. (Daniel Böhm, Rocktimes DE)
This guy is a singer’s singer, but maybe born too late, because if he had been doing this job in the ’50s and ’60s and lived in the USA, surely he would be a legend by now. (Simon Redley in the legendary British magazine Blues And Soul)
Thorbjørn Risager – vocals and guitar
Emil Balsgaard – piano and organ
Peter Skjerning – guitar and back-up vocals
Kasper Wagner – tenor saxophone
Hans Nybo – saxophone and back-up vocals
Peter Kehl – trumpet and back-up vocals
Søren Bøjgaard – bass
Martin Seidelin – drums and back-up vocals