December 15, 2004
The first thing you notice about Kreg Viesselman is his voice. That such a powerful and visceral sound should come from this quiet, unassuming Minnesotan is initially surprising, but then you begin to listen to what he’s singing. Songs like you just didn’t think they made anymore (or maybe never did); songs written in a language so raw and bare that they touch you as if brushing against open nerves, songs that are at once ageless and pleasingly difficult to classify.
“Kreg Viesselman has something to say, and it is something worth hearing!”
Seeing him perform, one begins to suspect that he is a person who has lived a great deal in his thirty-odd years. Not in the rambling-gambling-hard living “Americana“ model, but in the manner of the constant journeyman. Speaking with him, one senses more of Gary Snyder than Kerouac. His songs - he, himself - simply drip with authenticity.Enchanting simplicity...I really believe him when he sings. - Acoustic magazine (UK)****deep, intense and literary....a masterpiece...if you don’t believe, just listen. - Buscadero (Italy)
Viesselman’s journey as a songwriter began while living in a cabin in rural Maine, where he worked during the day as a carpenter. “My friend and I had two folding chairs and a light bulb. It was a good beginning. We worked all day, bathed in the lake, then played music late into the night. I had no clue how to go about songwriting, but I was obsessed with it.“
Not long after, he had the good fortune of meeting Taj Mahal, who had come to perform at the summer camp where he was working: “He was kind enough to help me with a few things. I basically followed him around for a few days. The man just oozed music, and I soaked up as much as I could.“
“For the next few years, I worked as a school teacher, and as the school year and a relationship were ending, It became clear that I was unsatisfied and at a proverbial crossroads. So I left. I spent the next year wandering around the American West, writing and looking for a place to land. It ended up being Colorado, and that’s where I took my first stab at recording [Many Rivers, 2000]. They were songs inspired by the previous year’s experiences, all deeply influenced by the people and places I encountered, and the folk music I found myself immersed in.The influence of folk music is still present in Viesselman’s work, but in true artistic fashion he has taken it in a direction of his own. His last album - The Pull - shows this clearly. Musically, the work is mature and comfortable enough in itself to draw effortlessly from Folk, Soul, and all points between. But the innovation lies in Viesselman’s grafting of “Roots’ elements with lyrics of penetrating insight and poetic acumen. He deals with humanity in its most basic and instinctive forms - the brutal and the tender - in a style that belies a deep human understanding and wry wit. It is a narrative voice that could sit quite comfortably within the canon of great American literature. *****One of the few albums which warrants the listener to hang onto the artist’s every single word. Without exception I found every song totally engrossing. Viesselman is an incisive writer who uses dazzling imagery - Maverick magazine (UK)Viesselman’s songs have a sage, hardened pathos that’s hardly pretty boy stuff. Silvery, potent lines that are killer in substance. He has a charmed beauty all his own. - Dirty Linen (USA) The Pull received unanimous praise from the Press upon its release. Journalists and specialist DJ’s from all over Europe helped elevate The Pull to no. 1 on the Euro-American charts in 2007 after it had spent many months in the top 10. The immediate buzz after the album’s release precipitated Kreg’s first tour of mainland Europe, including an evening shared with Willie Nelson at the Paradiso in Amsterdam.Currently living in Norway, Kreg has spent the last two years touring the UK and mainland Europe. This summer he will be in the studio with a small cast of Norwegian musicians to record his fourth album. If his recent performances have been any indication, it can be expected that this record will be vastly different from The Pull. Yet it will remain consistent with the rest of his work in that, above all, it will paint in lush detail the world he sees, where one might catch a glimpse of one’s self - for better or worse. Scotland’s The Herald once stated that Viesselman was “a talent to be watched…not one of those “between song raconteurs’“, and that is certainly true. His performances are direct and intense. The power of his delivery stems from the fact that he is an artist whose speaks volumes through his songs. Kreg Viesselman has something to say, and it is something worth hearing! [Viesselman] resides in that special realm that seems to defy the sands of time. Outstanding. - Indie-music.com Outstanding - his voice touched me down deep and his songs are meaningful and melodically brilliant. - Susa Onda Radio, Italy