(All Album Reviews by AdmKirk)
Magnolia consists of Ronny Eriksson-vocals, guitar, bass and keyboards; Anders Hedstrom and Tomas Eriksson-drums with guest vocals from Ewa Ulrika Gustavsson and guest guitar from Love Tholin. According to notes that came with the CD, Errikson began Magnolia in 1994 after being inspired by the music of the late 60's and 70's. Indeed the music immediately reminds one of many of those classic groups: Cream, Mountain, Robin Trower, Mahogany Rush, maybe even a little Steppenwolf, and, to a somewhat lesser degree, Jimi Hendrix. Almost like a Swedish version of Gov't Mule.
The opening cut, "Resa Utan Slut" features heavy guitar from Love Tholin that would have been right on home on Mountain's Climbing album or any Gov't Mule album. On "Kvarnsten" a distorted bass will remind you of Jack Bruce in his Cream glory days. While described as progressive blues rock in the accompanying notes, I hear pretty much a straight ahead early 70's rock album. And while one can detect a lot of influences, Magnolia really has a sound that is its own. Some of that obviously comes from the lyrics being sung in Swedish.
One of my favorites so far is the instrumental "Trollbunden". I love the guitar style and tones Eriksson uses. The bass work throughout the album is wonderfully punchy and forceful and never hangs around any one note too long, but is not as busy as, say, Jack Bruce. The drums swing and drive the songs without being over done. There are several lengthy instrumental sections where guitars solo over one another to great effect. Don't miss out on the title track “Magnolia,” now here is where the Cream comparisons really are shown to good effect. There's some serious playing going on here. In fact someone should send a copy of this album to Clapton so he can learn how to do this type of stuff again.
This is the debut album from Magnolia and a very good to excellent one at that. For fans of late 60's early 70's hard rock, seek this out. If this had been made in 1972 as opposed to 2006 they would have sold a truckload of records. Here's hoping they can do it today! Their web site is www.myspace.com/magnoliarock.