Emil Lager: You Will Kill Me

Blues by the numbers, but it sounds pretty good

  • Label: Self-released
  • Format: single
  • Buy this record: Soundcloud
Rating: 4.8 out of 10
The cover image of You Will Kill Me by Emil Lager

Another track from the depths of my inbox for you today. Emil Lager is a Swede who's wandered all over Europe and finally settled in London. His is a traditional take on the whiteman's blues, with it's spiritual roots firmly planted in route 66 and the American troubadour tradition.

Armed with little more than his guitar, his voice, and a stomping foot he's working on building a name for himself on the live circuit. Whether he'll actually break through the noise and gain some worthy recognition I can't say, as there are seemingly hordes of songwriters all operating in very similar territory, but Lager's efforts are better than most.

His biggest claim to fame so far was being mistaken by many for Johnny Depp when he appeared briefly as Django Reinhardt in the Depp/Scorsese film Hugo. There's no mention of that in the email he sent me, so it might be that he's trying to make it in music on his own terms without any gimmicky attachments (in which case I doubt he'll thank me for bringing it up here).

The trouble is there's nothing really new on offer here. The songs are original, in the sense that they aren't covers, but they're rife with cliché and in many ways aren't providing anything that hasn't been heard many times before.

Even his strongest asset – his distinctive voice – has already been cornered by the tallest man on earth. What Emil Lager does have in his favour is that this style is often done very badly and he does it very well indeed. I think he may need to work on his distinctiveness if he want to carve out a lasting career in music, but he clearly has talent, both on the guitar and with his voice, and it would be a shame to see that wasted.

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