The emerging Faroese country music scene is a fairly new phenomenon; but then when Faroese country artists started to collaborate with producers and session musicians in Nashville, Tennessee, things took off to a new level.
[By B. Tyril]
Country music has been highly popular in the Faroe Islands ever since the late 1950s and early 1960s, but the emerging Faroese country music scene is a fairly new phenomenon. Sure, there were the occasional recordings and some live performances already throughout the 1970s and 1980s; but then when Faroese country artists started to collaborate with producers and session musicians in Nashville, Tennessee, things took off to a new level. Much of this development has been accredited to multi-talented guitarist, composer and producer Jákup Zachariassen, who has proved indispensable for countless music projects in the Faroe Islands for decades.
Notably, Zachariassen has worked closely with his American friend, music director and composer Edgar Struble, whose career in music production and television was launched through a 15-year engagement as music director for Kenny Rogers.
“In 1989,” Struble noted on the occasion of a trip he made in 2009 with a group of friends and colleagues to the Faroe Islands, “I got a call from a guy with a distinct European accent, who said his name was ‘Jacob,’ and he wanted to produce a country album in Nashville, using real Nashville session musicians. He asked if I would help him put that together, and of course, I said yes!”
For the past decade and a half, Struble has been music director and composer for the annual Academy of Country Music Awards, and is embarking on his twelfth year in the same capacity for the American Music Awards.
Struble—who in 2010 wrote the acclaimed guide ‘Working in the Music Industry’—added: “That phone call was the beginning of a twenty-year friendship and business association with Jákup Zachariassen, and a chance to meet and work with some of the most talented and nicest people on the planet—all from the Faroe Islands. In 1989, I had never even heard of the Faroe Islands—most folks from the USA are not aware they exist.”
The rest is history. Zachariassen and Struble continue to collaborate as more Faroese music artists work together with professionals in Nashville and Los Angeles.
One of the best known Faroese country artists of today, Hallur, has recorded five albums since 2008 together with Zachariassen, the fourth one—‘Hallur with Stars and Legends’ (2013)—featuring the likes of Kris Kristofferson, the Bellamy Brothers, Charlie Pride and Dawn Sears.