Lazy Sunday Dream – Loosely in the sky with Dutchmen
It’s frustrating, not creating a stir in your own country while knowing that, in Texas, the public was excited by your music. Lazy Sunday Dream is a Dutch roots combo who would fare better in Chicago or Austin; the proof was their appearance at the South By Southwest Festival this past March.
“That was a great week,” says Jan van Doorn, singer of the band (which also includes Jan’s brother Rick, Wim Venema, and Mattijs Rijnboutt). “Newspapers tipped our album and we got played on the radio. It really was a strange experience. We gigged several times during that week, did interviews, visited some old friends and went to parties.”
Staying outside of the usual showbiz bustle, Lazy Sunday Dream has been able to steadily develop their music over the past few years. The band’s previous albums — Midsland and Rio Grande Paradiso Club — went largely unnoticed. Yet there was appreciation from their Texas counterparts (and Munich Records labelmates) the Gourds, who ended up playing on three tracks from the group’s new album, Soulages. And there were other signs of recognition. Hazeldine covered their song “Unforgiven” on Bloodshot Records’ fifth-anniversary compilation set, and Caitlin Cary (ex-Whiskeytown) has frequently played their song “Married Man” in her own shows as well as with the trio Tres Chicas.
“Is quite remarkable for a Dutch band to achieve this,” says Jan. “Each of us has played in different bands, but we wanted to do something else — something country-ish, in the style of Steve Earle or Uncle Tupelo. Not academic or ambitious, but flowing and spontaneous. About six years ago we met the Gourds during a street festival. Jimmy Smith responded very positively to our music. We derived tremendous encouragement from that. It gave us self-confidence — knowing you are on to something good.”
Soulages is a mix of Amsterdam folk, ’60s rock (the band name’s abbreviation gives you a clue of what to expect), and American roots sounds, rendered as folk tunes, mountain ballads and drinking songs. “Mostly You” features a Stonesy background chorus, and Jan confesses it also contains a snippet from the Beatles’ “Don’t Bring Me Down” hidden in there somewhere. “Moby Dick” — “the whole story in four minutes,” Jan quips — originally sounded like something by Creedence Clearwater Revival, but a dominant role for the accordion has given the song a magic, nostalgic feel. “And in ‘Talking Goat’,” Jan discloses, “we put in the tune of ‘Baretta’, the famous American detective series.”
Part of Soulages was recorded in the Netherlands, part in a holiday home in the little village of Soulages in the south of France. An inhabitant of the village, Lulu, provided the introduction to the album, in French: “Bonjour madames et mesieurs, Voila, le Leezie Sundie Dree-am.”
Somewhat in contrast with this, there is a murder song near the end, “Mile Et Une Pierres”. Jan claims the tune “is a true story about a woman who beat her husband to death with an axe. That particular song was recorded at twelve o’clock at night in the selfsame cellar as where the murder took place.”
“Well, not in exactly the same cellar but close to it, in a house that has been deserted since 1969,” the singer corrects. Still, it must have been a scary affair because while he’s talking, Jan’s eyes show fear. “It was Friday the 13th and the moon was full. In such a situation you really get to work up each other. Positively eerie. The fear you hear in the countdown to the song was only too real. We said to ourselves: ‘Let’s get this thing recorded and be the hell out of here.'”