Raw americana with contemporary blues rock: European Blues Challenge winner Harlem Lake relives the 1970s
It’s quite rare for a Dutch band to completely blow away a venue or festival, but Harlem Lake has built up quite a resume. The quintet tend to impress at European blues festivals with their energetic show that makes you long for the 60s and 70s and yet feels like you’ve never heard it before.
Harlem Lake will prove to that good blues music can be found outside the US and England and so with the band name they proudly refer to their home base: the Haarlemmermeer polder. Harlem Lake already took their idiosyncratic southern blues across the border, culminating in winning the European Blues Challenge in Sweden. The festival summer of 2022 welcomed the new winner and Harlem Lake is happily touring from Norway to Portugal. Robert Cray and Walter Trout, among others, were impressed by the band. Trout invited them as his support act in the Netherlands (2021) and when reunited at a festival in Belgium (2022), Sonny Ray, guitarist of Harlem Lake, played along during Trout’s show.
The guys and girl find inspiration for their songwriting in American bands such as Tedeschi Trucks Band and Joe Cocker’s ‚Mad Dogs & Englishmen‘, after studying the bluesmasters. The debut record ‘’A Fool’s Paradise vol. 1’’ was well received and shows refreshing songwriting. Meanwhile, the band’s energetic live shows are full of thrilling guitar and organ work by Sonny Ray and Dave Warmerdam, supported by jammasters Kjelt Ostendorf and Benjamin Torbijn on bass and drums. The four guys accompany their singer, Janne Timmer, who takes you on an exciting journey with her soulful yet powerful voice.
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