The Reviews

Said about Bottleneck John's music in the media, reviews, comments etc..


"..It's as if Son House's voice has come alive again.. Deeply moving!.."
-Don Hooper, Unplugged Records, USA.

"..The Van Gogh of European bluesmen.." -Roy Bainton, Blues Matters Magazine, UK.

"..Has to be some of the finest that Swedish blues can present when it comes to soulful and beautiful vocals.." - Freddy Toressen, Blues News, Norway.

"..His performances become breathtaking.." -Brian Harman, Blues Art Journal.

"..Desolate Mississippi blues, masterly performed.." -Mattias Pettersson, Länstidningen, Sweden.

"..Especially the traditional song ‘Didn’t My Lord Deliver Daniel’ evoked true emotion, as if Blind Willie Johnson’s silhouette suddenly appeared on the church walls.." -Marcie,, Belgium.

"..The depth of soul in this man's voice is at the least stirring, and at the most..... entirely captivating.." -, USA.

"..The depth of soul in this man's voice is at the least stirring, and at the most.....entirely captivating..", USA.

"..I don't how, but suddenly the reincarnation of some now long dead Mississippi delta bluesman was playing his Amistar Reso-Phonic guitar like it was an extension of his being... an appendage of his soul, a part of his being.." -DenverD, Denmark.




"..Quite simply, this is a killer blues album!.." 

- Kari Nevalainen, Inner Audio Magazine.


"..En av de bästa svenska bluesskivor jag hört.." 

- Lennart Götesson, Dalademokraten.


"..Vällustrysningar i massor utlovas!.." 

- Hifi & Musik magazine, Sweden.




Awesome review in the HiFi+ magazine, UK!

Side by side with one of the blues greats of our time, E.C..




Fabulöst trevlig recension i Dalademokraten! Tack för den!

Lennart Götesson, Dalademokraten, Sweden.




Recension från blueskällaren BRUX i Övik, ur tidningen 7an.

Back to the roots

Blues i bara mässingen tog publiken tillbaka till 20-talet.

Han kallar sig Bottleneck John, men heter egentligen Johan Eliasson och bor i Lit utanför Östersund. Han lirar deltablues på ett genuint sätt så som den lät under 20-talet, och han gör det på ett fenomenalt sätt. När han i fredags gästade Perdido Jazz & Blues på Brux, vilket han gjort flera gånger tidigare, öste han beröm över Blueskällarn.

– Ni har Sveriges coolaste blueslokal, den enda riktiga juke joint som finns i landet.

Med sig hade han en uppsättning av sina tjusiga mässingsgitarrer, och även en banjo i mässing. Dessutom en bastuba "som ser ut som om han hittat den i ett dike någonstans" som hanterades av Karl Eneland. 

Tillsammans bjöd de två på en riktigt härlig blueskväll, helt unplugged om man undantar den elektroniska tramplådan som Johan höll takten på. Förutom att Johan är en suverän gitarrist besitter han också en riktigt bra bluesröst, nu när Totta Näslund är borta är det nog bara Sven Zetterberg som här i Sverige kan mäta sig med honom.

Roligt var det också att Bottleneck John valt lite mer udda blueslåtar, och även en gammal negro spiritual, som man normalt inte hör på bluesspelningar. Efter "Blues i bara mässingen" tog lokala Temporary Blues Band över kvällen, kanske för sista gången i den här tappningen.

Nils Ågren, 7an.



A very nice concert review! En härlig recension från Cookin' i Borås!




"..En av de bästa svenska bluesskivor jag hört.." 

- Lennart Götesson, Dalademokraten.




A cool article from!

Johan Eliasson (Bottleneck John)

Johan Eliasson’s not yet famous, but his train has arrived at blues junction! He got off at the station and is waiting to be let in. Open the damned door and get him a seat at the table. The blues from Sweden is here and it ain’t going back.

Perhaps as if to prove the very essence of what this web directory of the acoustic blues is fundamentally about, Johan Eliasson, aka Bottleneck John, is the real deal, playing deep roots, hard-sliding, hard-core, country blues. The blues has traveled far and become an international genre, with devotees and exceptionally awesome players all over the world. This fellow here is as good as it gets. If you listen to his blues without preconceptions, it becomes quickly evident that Elisasson is one of today’s great, albeit unlikely, practitioners of the genre. As many blues musicians from the non-English speaking world have learned, there often is a bit of prejudice to overcome. Somehow, it is easier for people to accept UK blues musicians than those from the continent. Here is a professorial looking white Swedish musician with soul who seems as far removed from the authentic blues experience as it gets, yet he’s got it all going the right way. Perhaps he took the almost farcical stage name of Bottleneck John, as to overcompensate and fit a bit closer into the mysterious blues world, so distant from Sweden. If you believe that musicianship depends on nationality, or that feeling blues music in your soul requires a certain skin pigmentation, Bottleneck John will be an easy target. If, on the other hand, you are open minded to the idea that the blues has set people all over the world on fire, it is undeniable that good music is everywhere, including in this case in Scandinavia, where there is a strong blues scene. And once they get that burning feeling, they are gonna play it and play it well. That requires no apology.

As the name ‘Bottleneck John’ implies, Eliasson’s claim to fame is his fiery slide playing. When it comes to that, he’s a hot licks virtuoso, perhaps on of the top in Europe, and that is saying alot. This Swede can really play the slide guitar! He sings with a rich, soulful deep tenor, and has a propensity for the deep-blues in the traditional realm. This guy has the true-hearted blues!

He just released a fine new CD, aptly named “Northern Heart, Southern Soul” with some very capable Swedish sidemen. Eliasson plays 6 and 12 string acoustic guitars, a resonator, banjo and mandolin on the album. Country blues aficionados will have much to celebrate and Elisasson has made his mark as one of today’s most poignant voices in the genre. The blues suffers from too much repetition and reworks of traditional material, so it is refreshing to see Eliasson write his own material. It may have been wise to boost sales by including a few well-known classics for the comfort of familiarity, but Eliasson seems little interested in marketing. It’s all good, an excellent album, fun and light-hearted, with an easy-going spirit

Eliasson needs to get showcased in the US blues festivals and to get name wider recognition. In the meantime, definitely put Bottleneck John on your list and check him out!

Frank Matheis,,  USA.



"..Quite simply, this is a killer blues album!.."  -  Kari Nevalainen, Inner Audio Magazine.



Nils Ågren, 7an.




"..The spirit of blind Willie Johnson and Son House must surely be watching over Johan.." - Brian Harman,  Blues Art Journal.

"..A genuine sensation from the cool north.." -Axel Melhardt, Jazzland, Austria.

"..During the last song the four musicians played all their best. It felt like the whole audience forgot to breathe.."
-Christina Pigerl, Mittelbayerische Zeitung, Germany.

"..A complete, talented and generous artist!.."
-David Fraternali,, Switzerland.

"..Extraordinary singer with a powerful and expressive voice.."
-Philippe Le Guennec, Blues & Co. magazine, France.

"..Enslig Mississippi-blues, mästerligt utförd.." -Mattias Pettersson, Länstidningen, Sweden.

"..You’ll return again and again to the ghostly tones of “Blind Willie’s tune” which effortlessly gives Ry Cooders “Paris, Texas” a good run for it’s money.." - Roy Bainton, Blues Matters Magazine, UK.






A new review from THE TREASURY OF BLUES!

Artist: Bottleneck John
Title: Northern Heart, Southern Soul
Label: Bark Lake Records BLR 226

For more information go to:

The invitingly soft wailing, almost morose tenor voice of Johan ‘Bottleneck John’ Eliasson is by itself a wonderfully formidable instrument  but, when matched with his heartfelt and passionate approach to his music and the peerlessly intricate delicate dexterity that he shows with both resonator and twelve stringed acoustic guitars his performances become breathtaking. Born and still residing in the small town of Lit in the delta region of deepest Sweden; where, from the age of three Johan was encouraged by his grandparents and their friends to listen to Swedish Folk tunes, Spirituals and Gospel.

It is the combination of these various types and styles of music that led him to discover the richness and wonder of the down-home, rural and country blues that was not only hugely popular but was also found in great abundance in the twenties and thirties in and around the delta region.

Johan has nurtured and honed his incredible talent to such a degree that you could be forgiven for mistaking his original deep country blues recordings for the genuine article, not, that any deception is intended. The inclusion of period instruments such as the calming sound of the tuba merely accentuates the period feel to the music.

Throughout the sixteen numbers here, Johan effortlessly manages to capture intense emotional highs and lows, which range from happy go lucky foot-stomping goodtime music and enjoyably solid crunching slide, to stark images of sadness and despair which exude more than a palpable sense of loneliness and desperation. Nonetheless, this is a cracking album and should grace anybody’s collection.

The spirit of blind Willie Johnson and Son House must surely be watching over Johan.


Brian Harman,  Blues Art Journal.



"..Eliasson has made his mark as one of today’s most poignant voices in the genre.."  - Frank Matheis,, USA.



Here's a nice review from Rootsville, Belgium.

Bottleneck John , met uw goedkeuren hierna BJ genoemd , zag door de uitbarsting van de Ijslandse vulkaan (neen ik waag me niet aan de naam) onlangs een paar optredens in België.. rook ingaan.  Maar niet getreurd , hij komt terug, sla er regelmatig Rootsville’s onovertroffen concertkalender op na en mis hem niet want BJ is goed....zéér goed !

Wist hij ons vorig jaar nog te paaien met zijn project BJ & The Hound Dogs en de daarbijhorende release Howlin’ The Blues ,slaat hij ons nu murw met zijn nieuwste soloworp: Northern Heart, Southern Soul.

Een zalig album heeft BJ gemaakt, aangrijpend, soulvol en met een expressieve stem.
Sluit je ogen en je zou zweren dat je naar een doorleefde, oude zwarte Mississippi Blues meester zit te luisteren.
BJ doet op deze release een meesterlijk zet door zijn “je bij de keel grijpende songs” wat af te wisselen met folky tintjes er door te weven..hier en daar een streepje viool, mandoline, banjo, kazoo.

Alles meesterlijk gebracht, we gaan niet alle 16 (!) door hem zelf geschreven nummers gaan bespreken , want het ene hoogtepunt volgt het andere op, meer dan 66 (!!) minuten ga je mee op zijn trip door traditionele, akoestische blues.
Zijn stijl kan je wat vergelijken met Son House, de invloeden zijn uiteraard Robert Johnson en Blind Willie Johnson maar wie werd door deze heren niet beïnvloed kan je stellen.  Wat ons het meest van al nog imponeerde is dat zijn songs gerust tussen die van de aangehaalde meesters mogen plaatsnemen.
Op deze release start een song met het aanslaan van een tractormotor, we zeggen niet welk lied omdat we graag zouden hebben dat je naar ‘s mans samples zou gaan luisteren (link)...Normaal gezien zijn we niet zo onder de indruk van dit soort speciale effecten maar het werkt hier zo illustrerend...Trek mee de desolate velden in , laid back, en geniet...

Een fantastisch album, doen, want het is een klein meesterwerkje !

(And translated, thanks to Bert Harte..)

Bottleneck John, with your permission hereafter referred to as BJ, recently watched a few Belgium gigs go up in smoke due to the eruption of an Iceland volcano (I don’t dare to pronounce the name). But no sobbing, he’ll be back. Just check Rootsville’s unsurpassed concert calendar now and then and don’t miss him because BJ is good… Really good!

He teased us last year with his project BJ & The Hound Dogs and the implemented release of  Howlin’ the blues, this time he knocks us out with his new solo release: Northern Heart, Southern Soul.  BJ has made a delightful album, poignant, soulful and with an expressive voice. 

Close your eyes and you could swear you’re listening to a weathered, old black Mississippi blues master. 

On this cd BJ makes a masterly move by weaving some folky shades through his “catch you by the throat” songs, with a dash of violin, mandolin, banjo, kazoo. All brought masterly, we’re not going to talk over all 16(!) self-written songs because one highlight follows after the other, you’ll join him for over 66(!!) minutes on his trip through traditional, acoustic blues.  His style can somewhat be compared with Son House, influences of Robert Johnson and Blind Willie Johnson but one can state: who was NOT influenced by these gentlemen.

What impressed us most is that his songs fit easily between those of the masters mentioned above. On this release one song commences with the starting of a tractor-engine, we’re not saying which song because we like you to listen to this man’s samples(risky)…Normally we’re not very impressed by such special effects but here it works so illustrative…Wander into the desolate fields, lay back and enjoy…

A fantastic album, get it, because it’s a little masterpiece!

Luc Meert,,  Belgium  



Newspaper article/review about our gig in Janakkala, Finland!!


" I was certainly impressed with this set. Some enterprising label should certainly pick him up and put his music on general release. "
-Norman Darwen, BluesArt Journal, Austria.

" Able to bring you instantaneously to the moistness and heat of the clubs of the south of the USA, Bottleneck John creates a strange atmosphere once his CD is placed on the turntable.. One feels plunged into an old black and white movie.. "
-Fred Delforge, ZicaZic Music Magazine, France.

" It’s hard to describe how strong and great his blues feeling is.."
-Mladen Lončar, Rock Oko Radio, Croatia.

" Didn't My Lord Deliver Daniel" really opened my eyes to the power that is the voice of Bottleneck John. Not since Paul Robeson have I heard someone master this song with a vocal effort that is nothing less than thunderous. If there was ever a poster child for how this form of music should be done then look no further than Bottleneck John."
-Steve Landy, Black Cat, USA.

" This voice has an enormous volume and rich expressiveness not only for ambitious spirituals like I woke up this Morning or Sweet Chariot but also by fast songs like Talk to me baby or an expressional version of Ray Charles Georgia on my mind.."
-Oliver Hochkeppel, Sûddeutsche Zeitung, Germany.

"..don't know what to say... Your CD blew me away. I'm sure that God loves the blues and this is the reason he gave you such a voice, just great. Together with intense slide playing you created a time-travel machine that took me on a journey to the Delta of 1920s. I'm very impressed!.."
-PD, Poland.

" The most exciting artist of the year, Johan Eliasson, who sings with, most likely, the blackest voice in Sweden and plays slide guitar in the same eerie haunted way as Blind Willie Johnson.."
-Swedish Radio P4 Värmland.

" He can create a mood. If you close your eyes he'll take you somewhere else man. Not many people can do that!!! " - Ed Pavy, Canada.



Here's an article from a morning paper, nearly one million readers every day..



En artikel från tidningen Örnsköldsviks Allehanda!!

Historisk bluesresa

Bottleneck John Band från Östersund har specialiserat sig på tidig amerikansk blues med rötterna djupt nere i 1920- och 30-talets Missisippidelta. Här spelar de på Blueskällar´n i Örnsköldsvik.

Resan till USA och bluesens Missisippi hösten 2006 var en omtumlande upplevelse för en redan hängiven bluesfantast.
I fredags spelade, sjöng och berättade Bottleneck John, eller Johan Eliasson som han egentligen heter om sitt stora historiska bluesintresse. På lördag kväll gjorde han samma sak på Metropol i Härnösand.

-För mig är det närapå lika viktigt att kunna historien och bakgrunden till musiken som musiken själv, säger Johan en stund före fredagskvällens spelning på Blueskällaren Brux.

USA-resan härom året gav Johan än mer vilja och lust att ytterligare forska i den tidiga bluesens och jazzens uppkomst och villkor.
- Man förstår de tidiga arbetssångernas helt nödvändiga roll i det hemska arbete slavarna fick utföra på de milsvida bomullsfälten. De försvann faktiskt i den fjärran horisonten, så jättelika var de och där under den stekande solen i zenit för flera hundra år sedan kom också bluesen och negro spirituals att skapa grunden för den tidiga jazzens utveckling i USA, säger Johan.
Han sjunger gärna på mysiga klubbar som Blueskällar´n och Metropol i Härnösand, men gärna också i kyrkor. Senast i Örnsköldsvikstrakten i samband med en musikfestival i Själevads kyrka häromåret.

-Det är något gripande och storslaget att få sjunga de här tidiga, ofta varmt religiösa bluesmelodierna och texterna i en kyrka. Melodier och texter som präglas av det arbete, slit och lidande människor tvingades utstå, men också av den varma empati och sanna Gudstro som fick dem att orka vidare, säger Johan.
De här olika musikaliska uttrycken från 1910-, 20- och 30-talens Missisippidelta, och låtar av legender som Robert Johnson, Bukka White och Muddy Waters med flera har få om någon uttolkare av samma genuina historiska äkthet och intresse som Johan Eliasson. Med sig på Blueskällar´n hade han Stefan Swén munspel, Mattias Nordqvist piano och Lars Åstrand, mandolin och fiol.

-Greger Jacobsson,  Öviks Allehanda,  Sweden.





A review from France. And it's a good one, I'm a happy man..!!

"..Jouer le blues acoustique du delta du Mississippi quand on est originaire de Suède est un exercice plutôt original mais qui peut s’avérer payant dès lors que la manière de le faire est sincère et que le résultat colle au plus juste au genre recherché. Affichant une voix qui n’est pas sans rappeler celle de Son House et un jeu de guitare digne d’un Robert Johnson ou d’un Muddy Waters, Johan Eliasson n’a en rien usurpé son surnom de Bottleneck John et s’il a déjà eu la chance de jouer dans des shows télévisés devant près d’un million de personnes, il est un des animateurs imperturbables des juke joints de la région d’Östersund …  On le découvre au travers d’un ouvrage hors commerce qui fait office de carte de visite …

Capable de vous plonger instantanément dans la moiteur des clubs du Sud des USA, Bottleneck John tapisse la pièce d’une atmosphère un peu étrange dès lors que cette rondelle prend place dans la platine. On se sent plongé dans un vieux film noir et blanc où les fantômes hantent les pianos et où des danseuses un brin dénudées aguichent le client pour le pousser à la consommation. Rien n’est laissé au hasard, jusqu’aux craquements vintage qui rappellent les 78-Tours d’époque usés jusqu’à la trame … Ajoutez à cela que non seulement le jeu du bonhomme qui excelle en slide mais aussi sa voix particulièrement riche sentent bon l’écurie et que l’ensemble tourne aussi bien sur du blues roots que sur des influences gospel et même barrelhouse et vous tombez immanquablement sur le cul grâce à des pièces sur lesquelles ont jurerait entendre Charley Patton ou encore Blind Lemon Jefferson. Bête de live, Johan Eliasson se produit en solo mais aussi en duo et même en formation complète et fait mouche à chaque fois, que ce soit dans des concerts privés chez les particuliers, dans les églises, dans les bars et même dans les écoles où il aime à partager sa connaissance du blues ou plutôt des blues avec les élèves … Il suffit de poser une oreille attentive pour être convaincu que l’essayer … c’est l’adopter ! Chérie, devine qui vient dîner ce soir.."

And translated, thanks to Jim Petit and Babel-Fish..!!

"..To play the acoustic blues of the Mississippi delta when one is originating from Sweden is rather original but it can prove to be worth while since the manner of making it is sincere and that the result fits so well in the genre.

With a voice sounding like Son House’s and a guitar playing worthy of a Robert Johnson or Muddy Waters, Johan Eliasson truly lives up to his nickname of Bottleneck John and he’s already played in front of nearly a million of people on TV shows, he’s one of the famous players of the Juke Joints in the area of Östersund... This man with the strings which cry the blues have a secret dream: to come to play in France! We discovered him through work of exceptional trade which acts as his calling card... Able to bring you instantaneously to the moistness and heat of the clubs of the south of the USA, Bottleneck John creates a strange atmosphere once his CD is placed on the turntable.. One feels plunged into an old black and white movie where ghosts hauntingly play the piano and where almost naked women seduce the customers to make them drink more. Nothing is left to random, there’s even the cracking sound of the 78 RPM vintage record player..

Add to this the man’s excellent slide playing and his incredible voice and as the CD unit turns out the blues roots with gospel influences and even barrelhouse you fall inevitably on the bottom thanks to the music where we would swear to hear Charley Patton or Blind Lemon Jefferson. A beast of the live music stage, Johan Eliasson performs solo but also in duo’s and even in full bands, in private concerts, in the churches, the bars and even in the schools where he share his knowledge of the blues with the students.

It is enough to listen attentively to be convinced that when you’ve heard him... You’d want to adopt him! Darling, guess who comes for dinner this evening..."

-Fred Delforge,  ZicaZic Music Magazine,  France.


"..The Van Gogh of European bluesmen.." - Blues Matters Magazine, UK.


A review from the Süddeutsche Zeitung!!

And translated:

A Swede has the blues..

"..If you went down to Cafe Pegasus last saturday, you felt like starting out from the neighbouring aeroplane-repair factory on a long, long trip. Touching spirituals and raw delta-blues like from New Orleans or Texas filled the hall. The guy, who is crying his soul out during his songs and playing the reso-guitar like the old masters, isn´t from the southern states of America but from the north of Europe. 

The Swedish Johan Eliasson, from a little town named Östersund shows – something only possible in music – that you don’t have to be a coloured person or even be in the USA to have the blues and to play it authentically.
Rudolf Spindler was told about this man, nick-named Bottleneck John, through a reference and became so enthusiastic, that he decided to set up a small club-tour through Bavaria for him. Like in Abensberg, Landshut and other places the numerous audience in the Pegasus can be happy about a discovery!

The tall of stature, mid-thirty Eliasson is a real specialist in his music. The learnings that he made in Sweden, is no different to the way of the North-American musicians. As a child Eliasson began to sing, at first Bellmann and other sensitive Swedish classicals. Soon you found him in gospel-choirs and there he picked up his preference and destiny. Later he also started playing in some R&B-bands, and now his heart always beats for the acoustic guitar blues.

The passionate collector (vintage and reso-guitars) not only shows considerable abilities by playing bottleneck on his, for slide-tone tuned, Amistar´s, but also a huge voice. This voice has an enormous volume and rich expressiveness not only for ambitious spirituals like “I woke up this Morning” or “Sweet Chariot” but also by fast songs like “Talk to me baby” or an expressional version of Ray Charles “Georgia on my mind”. With his fellow Swede, Mattias Nordqvist at the piano, Eliasson has by his side an equal musician in the band, he always gives him enough room to play some solos and syncompated escapades. The same goes for two other guys in the quartet. This is a praise for the young drummer Stefan Ebn, and only natural for the bass-veteran Gary Todd who has played with Don Ellis and numerous of jazzbands.

Four authentic musicians, by which classics like Robert Johnsons “Crossroads” come fast and relaxed at the same time and the groove is still going on til the end. Soon Eliasson goes on his his first US-tour, and then some people will be surprised, because this Swede lets some more established blueser’s look “very old”.."





Here's a really, really nice review on one of my Copenhagen Blues Festival gigs..!! 

When Johan Eliasson stopped talking and he let "Bottleneck John" sit down...well... magic happened.

I don't how, but suddenly the reincarnation of some now long dead Mississippi delta bluesman was playing his Amistar Reso-Phonic guitar like it was an extension of his being... an appendage of his soul, a part of his being.

And when he sang it was like some alien's mother ship had tractor-beamed that 35 year old Swedish born Johan Eliasson into its evil airborne lab...scraped out Johan and stuffed him with the insides of an old black man with bad teeth...fresh from a full day of back breaking pickin' in the hot and dusty cotton fields.

[Now listen readers, I know what I'm talking about: Born a mile and a half from the corner of Beale and Main Streets in Memphis Tennessee, I grew up in a house less than 200 meters from a cotton field in West Memphis Arkansas. Hey, I know a little something about about cotton sack breaking and acking back, toothless black men and their blues--at least I have seen it.]

Real blues...the stuff that comes from the heartache and pain of real life in the fertile fields of the broad delta of the mighty Mississippi river back during those terrible times of inequality. John's were REAL blues, or a so close substitute that it was impossible (for me) to tell the difference. "Bottleneck John" is not some slick, button-downed studio hawker with a digitized, synthesized, commercialized and focus group selected "unique and marketable sound".

Nope, this is like what Robert Johnson actually played on the front porch of some Mississippi River delta grocery store, while sittin' in a rocker and singin' the roots of what has today become "The Blues".

But, Robert Johnson was not in Copenhagen that Friday night--this was "Bottleneck John", and when I closed my eyes it became so real that I could almost hear the pops and scratches on the records of the 1950s...

-DenverD, Denmark.



"..It's as if Son House's voice has come alive again. Deeply moving!.."  - Don Hooper,  Unplugged Records, USA.


Great review from the Felsenkeller!! 


Musik, fast wie in einer Jazzbar in New York
Andächtige Stimmung beim Blues-Konzert von Johan Eliasson und seiner Band im Kulturkeller

Von Christina Pigerl
SCHWANDORF. Für ausgelassene Stimmung gesorgt hat am Freitagabend die Johan-Eliasson-Band im Kulturkeller an der Fronberger Straße. Der schwedische Gitarrist Eliasson verzauberte die Zuhörer mit ergreifenden Spirituals und dem wahren Blues. Musik war immer sein Leben. Er war gerade einmal drei Jahre alt, da nahm sein Großvater schon die ersten Lieder des noch sehr jungen Sängers auf Tonband auf. Heute gehört Eliasson zu den besten Musikern, die die Blues-Szene in Skandinavien zu bieten hat. Dass es Eliasson dabei ausgerechnet bei seiner „Acoustic Blues und Spirituals“-Tour zum ersten Mal nach Bayern verschlägt, grenzt an ein Wunder. Die Schwandorfer freuten sich, denn das Konzert vom Freitag kann getrost bereits jetzt als ein kultureller Höhepunkt des Jahres betrachtet werden.
Erste Probe war am Mittwoch
Kaum zu glauben auch: Eliasson und der schwedische Jazzpianist Mattias Nordquis, der Abensberger Schlagzeuger Stephan Ebn und der Kontrabassist Gary Todd –eine lebende Jazz-Legende – haben am vergangenen Mittwoch zum ersten Mal ihr Programm zusammen geübt. Der musikalischen Leistung aber war das wahrlich nicht anzumerken. „Blues ist mein Leben“, verkündete Eliasson zu Beginn des Konzertes. Und bereits nach dem ersten Stück, dem Spiritual „Stay on Jesus“, wusste jeder Zuhörer, was er damit meinte. Ein Glück also, dass Johan Eliasson vor fünf Jahren die Spirituals und den damit verbundenen Blues entdeckte. In seinen Stücken bewies er das nötige Feingefühl – sowohl auf der Gitarre, als auch gesangstechnisch –, den typischen Spiritualcharakter aufleben zu lassen. Die tiefsinnigen Texte wurden durch interessante Kontrabass-Improvisationen und wunderbar lyrische und jazzige Fillins und Walking-Bässe am Klavier verstärkt. Beeindruckend war vor allem eine überarbeitete Version von „Amazing Grace“, belebend und einfühlsam gespielt.
Von wegen das letzte Stück…
Spätestens ab „Blues will feeling“ konnte man den Felsenkeller leicht mit einer Jazzbar irgendwo in New York vergleichen. Die traditionelle Musik aus der Delta-Region im Süden der USA versetzte die Zuhörer in eine ausgelassene und angenehm entspannte Stimmung. Bekannte Spirituals wie „Swing low, sweet chariot“ führten zur Hochstimmung.
Beim letzten Stück „When the green gras grows“ zogen die vier Musiker nochmals alle Register. Ab und an glaubte man beinahe, dass alle das Atmen vergessen hätten, so andächtig lauschten die Schwandorfer. Die Zuschauer waren fasziniert von dem hohen musikalischen und tonalen Anspruch, mit dem Eliasson diese alte Musik wiederbelebte. Dass es daher noch lange nicht beim „definitiv letzten Stück“ an diesem Abend blieb, war vorhersehbar…  

-Christina Pigerl.

And translated..!!

Devout feeling at the Blues Concert in the Cultural-Cellar with Johan Eliasson and his band

"..With enthusiasm and feeling the Johan Eliasson Band provided the cultural-cellar on the Fronberger road. The swedish guitarist enchants the audience with moving, amitious spirituals and the true blues.

Music has always been in his life. He was only 3 years old, when his grandfather recorded his first songs on tape. Today, Eliasson belongs to the best musicians the blues scene in Scandinavia has to offer. That he comes on his first "acoustic blues and spirituals-tour" to Bavaria borders on a miracle. The Schwandorf audience was pleased, because the Friday’s concert can be regarded confidently already as a cultural high point of the year. The fact that the bands first concert together was on Wednesday was hard to believe: Eliasson and the swedish pianist Mattias Nordqvist, the Abensberger drummer Stephan Ebn and the double-bass player Gary Todd – a living jazzlegend – made their program the first time on wednesday.. But the musical performance was unbelievable.

Blues is my life, said Eliasson at the beginning of the concert. And already after the first piece, the spiritual “Stayed on Jesus”, the audience knew what he meant with it. Fortunately he found the spirituals and the blues for himself some five years ago.

During his songs he has the needed sensitivity and feeling, both on his guitar and with his voice, to keep the spirit high. The profound, intimate lyrics are complemented by interesting bass-improvisations and marvellously lyric and jazzy fill-ins and walking-basses on the piano. Most impressive was his version of “Amazing Grace”. At the latest starting from "Blues with a feeling" one could easily compare the Felsenkeller with a jazz bar in New York.

The traditional music from the delta region in the south of the USA shifted the listeners into an omitted and pleasantly eased mood. Well known, classic spirituals like “Swing low, sweet chariot” are the high-points. During the last song “Where the green grass grows” the four musicians played all their best. It felt like the whole audience forgot to breathe, with such devoutness the Schwandorfers listened.

The spectators were fascinated by the high musical and tonal skill, with which Eliasson makes this old music form living. One thing was sure, that this wouldn’t be the last song of this evening…"

Translation by Christian Prechtl - Thank you, bro!!!!!