Rhyme Report

Published on February 19th, 2020 | by Guest Editor

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Darling West Release “We’ll Never Know Unless We Try” via Jansen Records

Darling West Release We’ll Never Know Unless We Try
via Jansen Records
Album Receives Critical Acclaim from NPR Music, American Songwriter, No Depression, and More

Mari Sandvær Kreken and Tor Egil Kreken, better known as Norwegian folk duo Darling West, are proud to share their anticipated new album We’ll Never Know Unless We Try, released today via Jansen Records. Leaning into sunny California dreamscapes, the album is a little west of center for the band’s sound—a sound that Lucinda Williams dubbed “Cosmic Folk” after her first time sharing a stage with Mari and Tor Egil—but never loses the charm and feel Darling West fans have quickly grown to love since the band’s first record was released in 2014. We’ll Never Know Unless We Try has received high praise from critics, including NPR Music who named the album a “notable release” on All Songs Considered’s “New Music Friday” this morning and No Depression reviewer Corbie Hill, who said, “For all its sonic variety, there’s a consistent thread of honesty and, dare we say, authenticity to this record. To that end, when Darling West approaches heavy themes, it does so directly, tenderly, and believably.” American Songwriter described the band’s unique sound as, “…a distinctly Nordic twist on American, and Americana, songwriting tradition…beautifully melodic vocals.” We’ll Never Know Unless We Try is available today, click here to purchase or stream.

Writing all but one song by themselves, Mari and Tor Egil run the gamut of folk music—from top-down-wind-in-your-hair pop songs like “Make It Last” (watch the video here via The Bluegrass Situation) and “Can’t Help It” to tear-jerker ballads like “The Calling” and “Hey There.” “True Friends” is the only co-write on We’ll Never Know Unless We Try, penned by Darling West alongside two stars of Nashville’s new generation of songwriters, Aaron Lee Tasjan and Erica Blinn. Overall, Darling West do wear their hero’s influence on their sleeves; they recently spoke with The Queue Magazine about their diverse musical roots. Tinges of Fleetwood Mac or Jackson Browne or The Byrds seep into the duo’s trademark Scandinavian folk sound but always take a secondary role to the duo’s wildly unique arrangements, expansive harmonies, and never-leave-your-head melodies.

Since the release of their Spellemann-winning (the Norwegian equivalent of a Grammy) album Vinyl and a Heartache (2016), Darling West has been to the United States so often that you could easily call it their second home. Their Nordic twist on American songwriting traditions was further showcased with While I Was Asleep (2018). This time, parts of the new album were written in Nashville and on the tour throughout the US and Europe, before recording at Propeller Studios in Oslo with producer Kåre Chr. Vestrheim (Marit Larsen, Highasakite).

Darling West recently concluded a U.S. radio tour before performing an official showcase at Folk Alliance International in New Orleans; the band spoke with The Boot about the conference’s key role in helping international artists make oversea connections and how songwriting creates equity, saying, “As long as artists keep writing about true things and touching hearts, and not making music only to be rich and famous, we believe we have a powerful equity maker through art and culture.”

“After two years of intense touring, and meeting tons of people, we are left with a feeling that there are many good forces at work in the world, even though the state of things can sometimes seem hopeless,” Mari and Tor Egil recall. “Even though it wasn’t a planned theme in the songwriting process, we seem to have been inspired by this, and that hope and encouragement has become a common thread in our lyrical universe this time around.”

Visit darlingwest.com for more information on We’ll Never Know Unless We Try as well as upcoming tour dates and news.

More About Darling West:

When Mari and Tor Egil Kreken started Darling West back in 2013, the project was intended as a way to give the married couple an opportunity to spend more time together. Tor Egil was one of Norway’s most critically acclaimed studio/live musicians, and he frequently toured the world with some of Norway’s biggest artists. Mari was hardly idle at home, and although she didn’t play any instruments at the time, her beautiful voice landed her gigs as a backup singer for artists such as Marit Larsen, Stein Torleif Bjella and Maria Solheim. After a few years of practicing the guitar, harmonica and other instruments behind closed doors, Mari was ready to enter the stage as the frontwoman of Darling West. In creating Darling West, Mari and Tor Egil combined their fascination for American songwriting traditions and their ability to write catchy and memorable melodies.



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