J.T. Lauritsen & The Buckshot Hunters
Blue Eyed Soul Volume 1
Jan Tore Lauritsen hails from Lillestrom, Norway. He began playing piano at an early age but soon switched to the Hammond B-3. Early influences included B.B. King, Charles Brown and Ray Charles. Because the B-3 was too big to haul around from gig to gig JT decided to learn the accordion. Since 1989 his main instruments have been both the accordion and harmonica.
JT formed The Buckshot Hunters in 1991 and released their self titled debut in 1995. His follow-up recording was 1999’s “My Kind of Blues”. JT describes his music as blues, soul and rock with a bit of country styled Tex-Mex. In 2007 his fifth album “Squeezeboxing” was recorded at The Severn Studios in Maryland with guests Steve Gomes, Robb Stupka and Benjie Porecki. His “LIVE” recording followed in 2009 with special guest Billy Gibson. JT’s last official album was 2013’s “Play By The Rules”.
Currently the Buckshot Hunters include JT, Hammond organ, accordion and vocals; Ian Fredrick Johannessen and Arnfinn Torrisen, rhythm guitars; Jon Grimsby, bass, guitar and backing vocals; and Morten Nordskaug, drums, percussion and backing vocals.
The album kicks off with “Anything I Can Do” co-written by Danish blues artist Mike Andersen and Nashville songwriter Gary Nicholson. The guitar intro is played by Dave Fields who also provides the background vocal. JT is singing but it’s Paul Wagnberg on organ. Borge Halvorsen plays both baritone and tenor saxophones while Jens Petter Antonsen plays trombone and trumpet. “Stay With Me All The Time” was co-written by JT and Johannessen and features the same personnel.
JT wrote “Back Pain Shuffle” while he was actually suffering from back pain and could not walk. Planned studio sessions were postponed as they could not be completed before Christmas. Therefore in January of this year JT issued a vinyl and digital only release called “20 Years On The Road With The Buckshot Hunters” including material from the bands, long out of print, 1995 debut. Lending their assistance on the shuffle are Mike Zito, guitar solo; and Jimmy Carpenter and Deanna Bogart, saxophones. “You Better Believe” is another JT original once again featuring the twin saxes of Carpenter and Bogart; and Mike Zito taking the third guitar solo.
Ever since 2003 Norway has been host of The Dark Season Festival. The festival marks the beginning of the dark season when daylight leaves Svalbard for four months each winter. Some of the US blues artists who have played the festival are Mitch Kashmar, Rick Holstrom, The Mannish Boys, Billy Gibson and Dave Fields, Jackie Payne and Steve Edmondson , Kirk Fletcher and Victor Wainwright. Of course it’s not unusual to see The Buckshot Hunters there. Last year Monika Nordli played the festival and JT reinterprets her song “Please Help Me Now” as a soul blues.
The classic “Nothing takes The Place of You” is from Toussaint McCall who had a hit single with it in 1967. The song was also featured in the John waters movie “Hairspray”. JT’s soulful vocal is a delight as Zito takes another solo and Bogart joins the horn section to make them a trio.
Dave Fields’ “Lovers Holiday” was first heard on his 2014 album. The song was written however about JT and his wife Marion. This version has never been heard before.
“Sweet On Me” was written by Zito. He and carpenter once again join JT and The Buckshot Hunters to close out this fine album.
Half way around the world JT has been keeping American blues and soul music alive. What else is there to do on those long Dark Season nights? JT says they’re for making love and making music.