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Dance with a Stranger (Norway) – Great Wheel’s Turning (single)

We don’t get many 17-years on comebacks in NMC but here’s one for the weekend.

Dance with a Stranger is one of Norway’s best-selling bands of all time, and it turns 40 in 2024. The anniversary will be celebrated throughout the year with anniversary concerts and new music and a new single, ‘Great Wheel’s Turning’ has just been released.

The band has previously released eight albums, won three Spellemannspriser (Norwegian Grammys), and topped the main pop chart with several hits. They are still considered to be one of Norway’s best live bands.

But they haven’t played live since 2014 and it has been 17 long years since the last new music came from the band. The onset of middle age though has not prevented them from endeavouring to take listeners back to their “classic DWAS sound.”

First photo ever take of the band.

The recordings required a reunion of the original members and key contributors from the band’s heyday, including producer Bjørn Nessjø and programmer/keyboardist Kjetil Bjerkestrand.

The new songs are written by Frode Alnæs, who has composed all the music for DWAS, and the lyrics, as usual, are by Øivind Elgenes (Elg) and Jeff Wasserman.

They also managed to gather together the crew who worked on the very first records and as a huge plus were able to bring in their old backing vocalists from New York, namely Vaneese Thomas, Angela Clemmons Patrick, and Darryl Tookes, who have worked with the likes of Aretha Franklin and Bruce Springsteen.

Well I’ve given them a pretty big, build up, so what’s the song like? The first thing that struck me was Elg’s vocal, ageing like a fine wine perhaps, and teetering somewhere between Satchmo and Family’s Roger Chapman. It’s the sort of voice made for live performances, instantly putting you at your ease and the backing trio are just the business.

Musically it’s an interesting mix of jazz with a bluesy flavour, the sort that could have been lifted out of a club on New Orleans’ Bourbon Street, overlaid with a pretty sophisticated pop guitar riff which is perhaps cut short a little early in the outro just as it’s getting into a tasty solo.

I imagine it will be a popular live show sing-a-long.

The old ones are the best ones as they say and as Tina reminded us on ‘Proud Mary’, that big wheel’s gonna keep on turning.

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