I was reading the latest newsletter from Melodic Revolution Records one day, and came across the story behind this release, which Nick Katona was making available free of charge. I was intrigued by what I was reading, and am always up for free music, so thought I’d give it a shot. Nick says, “In February of 2007, two young Swedish musicians came to the US for their first American Tour; Gustav Haggren of the Seasick Sailors and solo artist Helena Arlock. They were to kick off their first show of the tour at Melodic Revolution Records as a warm-up gig, and the response was so overwhelming that we had them return two more times the second was in the middle of their tour and the third time was the last show of their brilliant month-long US tour. In fact, each time they performed Live at the Revolution the newfound fans increased and even doubled in size. Their shows were some of our favorite acoustic shows and we wanted to record the final show of Gustav’s and Helena’s set for a possible future release, and so on Friday, March 9th, 2007 I proceeded to record the final show direct to my Marantz – DR4050 – CD-Recorder, I pre-mixed the set right from my small Europower PMP2000D PA that we ran the mics, cello, effects peddles and guitars through.”
Some of the most beautiful music comes from the smallest places, and this is a case in point. For the most part it is just Helena, with Gustav joining her on just a few numbers, and the music for me is very much the background, an accompaniment, as this is all about her wonderful vocals. Recorded the way it was, it is incredibly pure as there was no opportunity whatsoever to make any changes after it was completed. Helena has a wonderful voice, with acoustic guitar being the main accompaniment, plus percussion and other instruments making their presence felt at times, but it is the voice that is the focal point. There is a fragility, a beauty with a strong inner core, which makes this incredibly compelling. This is music which grabs the listener and demands total attention, and each time I listen to it I feel transported to what must have been an incredible experience, and all power to Nick for having the foresight to record it.
14 years on from that evening, and I have now found myself looking to see what Helena has been doing since then as this is the first time I have come across her. It is hard to believe that this album is available as a free digital download, but that is indeed the case, and any fan of female singer songwriter with a passionate style not dissimilar at times to Joni Mitchell or Suzanne Vega really needs to investigate this further.