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  • Writer's pictureThe Sound Cafe

Dutch Blues Rockers, Harlem Lake, To Release New Album ‘Volition Live’

On the 24th of February, one and a half years after their debut record (A Fool’s Paradise vol. 1), Harlem Lake will delight their fans with a new record. ‘Volition Live’ contains 6 songs from ‘A Fool’s Paradise vol. 1’, 6 covers and 1 new original, all recorded live.

The band recorded two of their biggest live shows of 2022; mainstage Culemborg Blues (28.08.22) and a theatre show at Better Get Hit Festival (10.09.22). The best of both worlds made the cut: the ecstatic energy from the festival stage as well as the honest focus from a theatre hall.

Harlem Lake was founded just four and a half years ago, but have already gone through many of all bands’ nightmares: a band breakup and their government canceling all concerts for years due to a global pandemic. Nevertheless, they found a brilliant new rhythm section, used the spare time to record an album and in 2022, their perseverance and hard work finally paid off. By winning the European Blues Challenge they secured themselves a successful festival summer which strengthened Harlem Lake’s desire for a recognizable career. While the boys & girl are excited for the future and are working on their 2nd studio album, right now is the time to celebrate their current success with a live record called Volition Live.

Volition ( pronounced voh-lish-uhn ) noun meaning...

1. the act of willing, choosing, or resolving; exercise of willing.

2. a choice or decision made by the will.

3. the power of willing; will.

The tracks on ‘Volition Live’ all comprise the raw energy Harlem Lake’s concerts are known for. The exciting arrangements get the listener on the tip of their chair while the groove gets them out of it. However, the band knows how to touch one’s heart strings too. With compelling solos and vocals, Harlem Lake doesn’t shy away from showing and stirring a little emotion.

All those feelings are driven by the collective of their XXL band. Extra-extra-large because the band consists of 5 members, but they bring a horn section and backing vocalists to certain special shows. And of course, a live record wouldn’t be complete without them.

Reminiscent of bands like Tedeschi Trucks Band and Joe Cocker’s Mad Dogs & Englishmen, Harlem Lake shows a scarce virtuosity with dynamic tracks and refreshing songwriting. They manage to make cover songs sound like new. Lead vocalist Janne Timmer sings with a fearless surrender, inspired by the lyrics and based on her own experiences. She’s complemented by her fellow musicians, who embrace the listener with honest musicianship.

Harlem Lake won the European Blues Challenge in June 2022 after winning the Dutch Blues Challenge in 2019. They released their debut record ‘A Fool’s Paradise vol.1 in 2021, which showed the band’s musical development. Rock ‘n Force wrote: ‘’Through rock, blues and soul, Harlem Lake shows incredible depth and a feeling of perfect fluidity, all guided by the intense and powerful voice of their singer. Monumental.’’ They’ve headlined multiple international festivals in 2022 and are currently working on their second studio recording: ‘A Fool’s Paradise vol. 2’ which will be expected in June 2023.

Dave Warmerdam founded his band under his own name, after he amazed everyone with his piano talent in Memphis in the semifinals of the International Blues Challenge in 2017. Guitarist Sonny Ray and singer Janne Timmer jumped on board shortly afterwards and so a special trio was born.

Then, after a first live album in 2019, the year of 2020 promised bigger stages, bigger festivals and tours to Germany and Belgium, but the pause button was pressed by the pandemic. As a result, the band got to work. New material was written and the idea for a 12-piece band was born. The influences of Joe Bonamassa, Dire Straits, Little Feat and BB King were fused together and Harlem Lake came out of the oven. Dave Warmerdam Band renamed itself and with their new name they directly refer to their roots: the Haarlemmermeer polder.

A few months after introducing the new band name, there was a change of the guard. On the 10th of July 2021 the band said goodbye to Rick Van de Voort (drums) and Lars Hoogland (bass). Around a month later Benjamin Torbijn and Kjelt Ostendorf took over the groove machine. The first concert of the new quintet was one that couldn’t go wrong: in 013, they supported American blues guitarist Walter Trout.

On their debut album ‘A Fool’s Paradise vol. 1‘ you can hear some odes to the blues, as well as beautifully composed songs with influences from Americana, rock and soul. Dave’s thoughtful arrangements closely match the lyrics of Janne, who is known for her poetic metaphors and powerful voice. Guitarist Sonny Ray tops it off with emotions coming from deep inside. They tell the ancient stories of love, loss and longing by sharing a shameless sketch of their inner world.

Harlem Lake prefers to perform with their XXL band. With this large, almost American line-up of horns, background vocals, guitar and percussion they played their album release show in Grolloo, the dutch capital of blues music. On their second album: Volition Live, the band plays extended versions of songs from ‘A Fool’s Paradise vol. 1’ as well as 6 covers and a new track – Jack In The Box – that gives an insight in what’s yet to come.

Harlem Lake currently focuses on their second album release on 24.2.23 with a official release show one week later on 3.3.23. Meanwhile they are recording their third album which is a follow-up on the previous one and will be called: A Fool’s Paradise vol. 2.


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