Watch out for the new R & B…Roland & Bruno are together again!
It is tempting to think of The Beauty And The Beast while talking about Roland & Bruno, but who’s who in this dynamic duo? Methinks they in turn aspire for both titles, fiery and exultant as their concerts get, time and again. There’s only one certainty: the sum of the whole is bigger than that of the parts. And the parts, my dear, are high rollers, make no mistake about that!
Roland Van Campenhout doesn’t need an introduction to Flemish audiences. From his early days as a guitar player de luxe with folk duo Miek en Roel, through his endless and relentless warm-ups for foreign artists in the seventies, his exciting solo records in the eighties and nineties (Last Letter Home is still an unavoidable master piece) up to Never Enough earlier this year, his highly praised collaboration with no one less than Admiral Freebee, he always presented himself as uncovered agent for the blues, department Belgium, Gent (Ghent) region. And so on, all the way to Singapore.
But reducing Roland to merely a ,,blues guitarist’’ is a brutal violation of the truth (and could lead to my dismissal as a copy writer): film music, pop and rock, all kinds of collaborations and temporary associations as with the Centimeters, Wannes Vandevelde, Jean Blaute, El Fish, Arno (Charles et les Lulus) and countless others… In the course of the years Roland has, through his constant contacts with Americana of all kinds and sorts, built up a phenomenal repertoire which he can conjure up at any given time (and with a little help from a handy booklet) There’s no wear on Roland the performer, none whatsoever, au contraire: Roland has found his second breath, all that he needs to stand up against his younger partner in crime…
Bruno Deneckere should need no introduction. He excelled in that exquisite popband from Gent, the Pink Flowers, a bunch that still would be welcomed with open arms today on the Flemish rockscene. But from there on he built up a fabulous solo career: CD’s Beyond The Pink Flowers, Down The Road and Crescent Of The Moon alle contain the goodies he strews all over his baffled audience, night after night, during his concerts, solo or with several top accompanists. To this date his latest effort Someday is arguably the very best in singer-songwriting the Lowlands have to offer. But please don’t tell this any further: someone might hear you and unveil the secret.
Those two genuine performers, those two singers, guitarists and harpists extraordinaire already have a lot of mileage under their dirty boots, since cooperation began, let’s say in 1830 or about (they forgot themselves, so who’s gonna argue?) Bruno actually learned the trade from the old fox, but through the years has become his peer. He also has acquired a vast knowledge of Americana, not necessarily the same as Roland’s, though. Obviously, when they put this together, this forms a unique catalogue, always at their disposal in their guise of Roland & Bruno.
They come in rapid succession, those ,,original covers’’ of classics in country blues and rhythm & blues, folk and singer-songwriting, country and alt.country, bluegrass, cajun and zydeco, and so much more. Robert Johnson, Woody Guthrie, Leadbelly, Hank Williams, Bob Dylan, for sure, but also less known giants, the likes of Utah Phillips and Ernst Tubb, up until sweet Allison Krauss…Brother, where art thou? Here, by golly! And sometimes you’ll hear an unknown ditty…Bet that’s one of their own?
We jumped for joy when halfway through 2007 they resolved to join forces again: about everyone who knew them was awaiting this decision eagerly. They’re better than ever. Roland en Bruno. Together more than sixty years of experience. But that’s not even the most important argument. Those two guys love each other madly. You can hear that bursting out of the speakers. It’s less dangerous than Etna but at least as resounding!
Antoine Légat (Dutch original May 30th ; thiks translation May 31st 2008)