This man belongs to the highest order of Finnish singer-songwriters. Around the middle of the last decade he took a long side trip, three albums to be exact, with his alter ego Lännen-Jukka (Jukka of The West) into the American-Finns’ immigrant folk tradition, but now he’s back as plain old J. Karjalainen, though there’s also something fresh about his new music, familiar as it sounds. The guys in his new band have played with him before, but not in this combination. Check out their album Et ole yksin that came out in the spring. It works for sure.
Punk was still ruling the music scene, when Jukka Karjalainen (born 1957) hit the limelight in the early 80’s with his Black Glasses band and music that didn’t have safety pins, but mixed a mighty Finnish tasting cocktail of blues, country, rock and pop. Track Kolme cowboyta from the first album became a little hit, but Ankkurinappi off the second one was already a bigger deal. Then things started to really roll.
The following albums offered truly serious hits, like Doris, Telepatiaa, Hän (which American country singer Dallas Wayne did as She, a literal translation), Villejä Lupiineja, Missä se Väinö on? and many others.
Occasionally the band changed, but with all of them Jukka created songs that became part of the national DNA. Call them the real Finnish blues. He keeps picking the many fruits of the African-American music tree and turns them into jam that tastes like us.