Urmas “Big Hand” Niemi: Vocals & Guitar
Chef: Vocals & Bass
Jarkko Salo : Hammond Organ, Piano & Vocals
Janne Käpylä : Drums & Vocals
Lumberjacks was formed by Chef and Big Hand in 2007 to tend to the passion of said Southern Ostrobothnian musicians to play soulful blues and soul music. Along with the current line-up, also doyen musicians Micke Björklöf ( singer andharmonica player) and Matti Loppela (a blues guitarist extraordinaire) were founding members.
At the beginning gigs were few and far between including clubs and festivals. 2008 saw the band perform at Puistoblues Festival in Järvenpää. During those years of relative hibernation Chef and Big Hand came up with scores of original songs (pun intended). Releasing this material had been a fervent wish of our dynamic duo and consequently the decision to regroup the band emerged. Autumn 2012 would see the release of their first CD.
In the true spirit of lumberjacks, the recordings were made in the backwoods ofBig Hand’s native Soini in an old wooden school building under cover of winterydarkness.
Lumberjacks’ first release is a bold mix of styles in the vein of roots music. One foot is nailed to blues but the other reaches for soul, funk and even doo-wop and reggae. The band relies on their own strong compositions which reflect life’s ups and downs. In the songs you may find yourself in dire straits or The King of The Hill! That’s what the blues are all about. The well thought-out band sound involves all the musicians singing backing vocals which is another forte of the band.
Chef with his bass and vocal work is known for Micke & Lefty feat. Chef fame. The on-going collaboration has seen the release of two CDs and touring in Scandinavia, Central Europe and the United States. Chef has worked with the cream of Finnish blues musicians but this is the time for him to sing and play his own blues.
Big Hand has to be one of the best kept secrets of Finnish blues guitar. His phenomenal and original playing spiced up with tradition and soul has astounded audiences wherever he has played. The icing on the cake is his raspy and throaty singing voice. Big Hand is also a lumberjack in real life so we can really talk about Blues from the Woods.
Blues and Soul most oftentimes feature the Hammond Organ and Wurlitzer Electric Piano. Jarkko Salo coaxes true soul to the music with his ebony and ivory. This seasoned cantor-organist has returned to the music he loves and youcan really hear that in his playing.
Drummer Janne Käpylä with his take-no-prisoners beat and groovy shuffle spiced with New Orleans-style rhythms elevates the whole enchilada to new heights.