About Rival

Hans Larsson
A&R Manager - Producer

Sales representative for Grammofon AB Electra, Sweden (RCA, Warner, MCA, Decca, Tamla Motown) 1971-1981.

Formed Mill Records AB, Rival International AB and purchased the label Swe-Disc with partner Owe Midner from PolyGram Records 1982-1990. Formed the management company Rival Management AB for artists Louise Hoffsten and Carola 1990.

Sold Mill Records AB and Rival International AB, to BMG Sweden AB and signed a contract to stay with BMG as A&R Manager 1990-1998.

Formed the record company Darrow Entertainment AB 1999 and produced new recordings with The Refreshments and Dave Edmunds, signed contract as independent A&R with BMG Sweden (John Holm CD-production and the Elvis Presley compilation "Elvis Swedish Hit Collection"), signed contract with EMI Scandinavia as executive producer for the Christmas production "Tommy Körberg and Oslo Gospel Choir". Formed the publishing company Access To Arrow Music AB 2000.

Hans Larsson discovered and launched, among others, Louise Hoffsten, The Refreshments, Maria Marcus, and was also behind Carola Häggkvist's return to the music industry in 1990 when she participated in the Swedish Melody Grand Prix. The following year 1991, Carola won both the Swedish Melody Grand Prix and the Eurovision Song Contest in Rome with Stephan Berg's song "Captured By A Lovestorm".

In 1997, Hans was again responsible for the winner of the Swedish Melody Grand Prix with the group Blond, as in the case of Carola, Stephan Berg was composer of the winning contribution "Baby I´ll Die For You" who participated in the Eurovision Song Contest in Dublin .

Hans has worked with artists and authors such as Carola, Louise Hoffsten, The Refreshments, Blond, Tommy Körberg, Brolle, John Holm, Eva Eastwood, Nejra, Dave Edmunds, Albert Lee, Geraint Watkins, Frankie Miller, Wendel Adkins, Warren Haynes, Dennis Robbins, Black Ingvars, Jerry Jeff Walker, Steve Young, Jerry Lynn Williams, Jim Dickinson, Linda Gail Lewis, Johan "JB" Blohm, Fatboy, Henrik Åberg, Jack Baymoore, Maria Marcus and others.

Hans Larsson has received more than 50 gold & platinum records and is also an honorary citizen in Memphis, Tennessee, USA.

Gold & Platinum

2019 Gold • The Refreshments • Ridin’ Along With The Refreshments
2018 2 Million Disc, 21 x Gold, 8 x Platinum  •Maria Marcus/Composer & Producer 3 songs  •Namie Amuro Album ”Finally”
2015 2 x Platinum • The Refreshments • Melodifestivalen 2014
2014 Gold • The Refreshments • Melodifestivalen 2014
2009 Platinum • The Refreshments •  "It´s Gotta Be Both Rock´n´Roll" - Best Of
2009 Gold • The Refreshments • A Band's Gotta Do What A Band's Gotta Do
2008 Gold •  The Refreshments • Refreshing Classics
2007 Gold  • The Refreshments • Christmas Spirits
2007 Gold •  The Refreshments • 24-7
2006 Gold • The Refreshments • It´s Gotta Be Both Rock´n´Roll -Best Of
2006 Platinum • Carola • Störst Av Allt
2006 Gold • The Refreshments • Musical Fun For Everyone
2005 Gold • Carola • Störst av allt
2004 4 x Platinum • Carola • Guld, Platina & Passion
2004 Gold • The Refreshments • Easy To Pick Up, Hard To Put Down
2004 Gold • The Refreshments • Here We Are - Best of The Refreshments
2003 Platinum • The Refreshments • Rock´n´Roll Xmas
2003 Platinum • Carola • Jubileumsshowen (DVD)
2003 Gold • Carola • Jul I Betlehem / Special Edition
2003 Gold • The Refreshments • Rock´n´Roll X-mas
2003 Gold • Carola • Jubileumsshowen (DVD)
2003 Tripple Platinum • Carola • Guld, Platina & Passion
2003 Double Platinum • Carola • Guld, Platina & Passion
2003 Gold (Norway) • Carola • Guld, Platina & Passion
2003 Platinum • Carola • Guld, Platina & Passion
2003 Gold • Carola • Guld, Platina & Passion
2003 Gold • The Refreshments • On The Rocks
2003 Gold • The Refreshments • Real Songs On Real Instruments
2002 Gold • Louise Hoffsten • Collection
2002 Platinum • Elvis Presley • Swedish Hits Collection
2001 Gold • Carola • My SHow
2001 Gold • The Refreshments • Are you ready
2001 Gold • Carola • Sov på min arm
2000 Platinum (Norway) • Tommy Körberg & O.G.C • Stilla natt
2000 Gold (Norway) • Tommy Körberg & O.G.C • Stilla natt
2000 Gold • Elvis Presley • Elvis Swedish Hit Collections
1999 Triple Platinum •Carola •Jul I Betlehem
1999 Double Platinum •Carola •Jul I Betlehem
1999 Gold (Norway) •Carola •Jul I Betlehem
1999 Gold • Carola • Jul I Betlehem
1999 Gold • Black Ingvars • Schlager Metal
1996 Gold • Carola • Personligt
1995 Gold • Tommy Körberg / Carola • The Sound Of Music
1995 Double Platinum • Louise Hoffsten • Rhythm & Blonde
1995 Platinum • Carola • Jul
1994 Gold • Carola • My tribute
1993 Platinum • Louise Hoffsten • Rhythm & Blonde
1993 Gold • Louise Hoffsten • Rhythm & Blonde
1992 Gold • Carola • Much more
1992 Gold • Carola • Hits
1991 Gold • Carola • Jul
1991 Gold • Carola • Fångad av en stormvind
Gold • Sven Melander • Full Rulle

Awards and nominations
Honorary Citizenship of Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.A.
12 Grammy nominations
2 Grammy Awards
1991 Winner of the Swedish Melody Grand Prix (Carola)
1991 Winner of the Eurovision Song Contest (Carola)
1993 Rockbjörnen Louise Hoffsten
1997 Winner of the Swedish Melody Grand Prix (Blond)


The Refreshments


Very Best Of The Refreshments - 21 reasons why the party never ends!
For almost three decades The Refreshments has gone against every current trend and stubbornly delivered their very own mixture of high-energy ”rock” dosed with just as much ”roll” as needed to create a unique sound.

The proof is here, in the shape of 21 rock’n’roll belters making up the cream of their output since their debut album ”Both Rock’n Roll” 1995. With half a million albums sold (of which twelve gold and two platinum), a Grammy nomination and more than 4 000 live shows, The Refreshments without doubt has deserved the title as Sweden’s most popular and hardest working rock’n’roll band.

If you disregard qualities like talent and persistence, a big part of their secret probably can be attributed to the relentless touring. Just like most of the classic bands they adore, The Refreshments has honed their sound in front of their audience. By travelling all over their native Sweden to play their music night after night, they’ve developed a rock’n’roll sound that for more than two decades has made a steadily growing audience dance, tap their feet and pump up the volume on their car stereo – sometimes simultaneously.

By acting as a backing band for touring British rock legends like Dave Edmunds, Billy Bremner, Mickey Jupp, Steve Gibbons, Albert Lee and Geraint Watkins, they’ve also built a reputation as one of the tightest bands in Europe.

Unlikely enough, it all started in the 80’s. In a time when synth pop and soft metal ruled the airwaves, some teenagers from Gavle, Sweden, realized that they loved Chuck Berry, Rockpile and classic rock’n’roll more than anything that was on MTV or radio.

Their recording career started when former Rockpile guitarist Billy Bremner in the autumn of 1994 looked up Hans Larsson, who at that time was an A&R representative at record company BMG in Stockholm. ”Billy was very enthusiastic about an unknown rock band from Gävle and offered to produce them. Since I loved Rockpile and classic rock’n’roll, I listened to their demo and became convinced that they had something special”, Larsson says.

What happened in the decades that followed is detailed in the “Refresh your memory” segment below. And before anyone really understood what happened, it’s spring 2017 and the band allows itself to pause, take a look back and make a career summary with modern classics like ”A Guy Like That”, "One Dance, One Rose, One Kiss", ”Musical Fun For Everyone”, ”55 Ford”, ”Hello Sun, Goodbye Rain”, ”Jukebox” and ”Dreams Of You”.

With 21 songs spanning from the debut album’s musical statement ”Both Rock’n Roll” from 1995 to the album closer ”Hallelujah” almost twenty years later, this collection is both a great introduction to and reminder of the unique treasure of songs that this little old band from Gävle has built up over the years.

Or as a wise person once said: ”there’s only two kinds of music – rock and roll”. Trust The Refreshments to deliver.

Refresh your memory (the story so far):

Micke Finell meets Joakim Arnell in the sixth grade at Bodaskolan in Skutskär, Sweden. When it turns out the newcomer plays sax they form the band Tryckförband (Compression Bandage), playing classic rock’n’roll. “Swedish 50’s style group The Boppers had just had tremendous success, Rockpile was still around and at the local gas station you could find lots of cassettes with 50’s hits. So playing rock’n’roll in the early 80’s didn’t seem that odd to us”, Arnell remembers.

Guitarist Eric Jones and drummer Mats Forsberg joins Finell and Arnell. They call themselves Mr Jones Band. Joakim Arnell starts writing songs, but the future hit-maker is off to a shaky start. “I tried and tried but never was satisfied with the results. My own songs just didn’t turn out they way I wanted.” Not giving up, he continues to write until he gradually begins to capture the 50´s spirit he’s looking for.

The Refreshments put out their first EP, which consists of four covers— “School Days”, “The Promised Land”, “You Better Believe It” and “New Orleans”. The band distributes the record for free at a gig. After the show, dispirited group members finds that the audience has thrown away most of their records and left them on the ground. Despite this, they decide to quit their day jobs and go professional. A gruelling 250-gigs-a-year schedule commences.

The Refreshments finally decide to record an album of original material. Having toured with Mickey Jupp, they decide to spice up the group’s sound by having Rockpile legend Dave Edmunds play on the album. They fail to reach Edmunds, but instead Micke Finell gets hold of fellow Rockpile guitarist Billy Bremner, who’s working as a session guitarist in Nashville. Bremner agrees to come over and play. He calls A&R manager Hans Larsson at BMG Sweden. Larsson—a dedicated Dave Edmunds and Rockpile fan—loves the band’s sound and signs them.

The Refreshments debut album “Both Rock’n’Roll is released, but sales are down to a meagre 3-4 000 copies. Despite the disappointing sales, Bremner has decided to stay in Sweden and continue with the band. In the autumn he replaces Tord Eriksson as the group’s guitarist.

Second album "Trouble Boys" is released in 1997, but sales are only marginally better. Drummer Mats Forsberg throws in the towel and is replaced by Niklas Aspholm. Good news comes when Dave Edmunds calls and offers The Refreshments to back him on a tour of Scandinavia. To Edmunds’ amazement the band know all his songs by heart; even suggesting that he should include his 1968 Love Sculpture hit “Sabre Dance”. When a reluctant Edmunds politely implies that it’s not easy to get the song right, The Refreshments cheerily answers: “Try us.” They easily run through the complicated patterns of this extremely fast ballet music piece.

Hans Larsson forms his own company Darrow Entertainment. The first record to be released on the new label is The Refreshments third album “Are You Ready”. Commercially the group’s luck turns when “Miss You Miss Belinda” becomes the group’s breakthrough song. “Are You Ready” quickly sells 50 000 copies, giving the band their first gold record.

After living with The Refreshments’ dreaded 200 gig a year schedule, Billy Bremner finally got off the bus in the spring of 1999. This lead to a few changes in the group. Robin Olsson became the band’s new master of the Telecaster, boogie piano maestro Johan Blohm expanded the group’s sound as its fifth member and Joakim Arnell took over Bremner’s production duties. “If there were any worries among fans how the band would hold up without Bremner, I think the two consecutive albums ”Musical Fun For Everyone” (2000) and "Real Songs On Real Instruments" (2001) was proof enough that band actually was in better shape than ever”, Hans Larsson says.

The second release on the new Darrow label is the live album "A Pile Of Rock - Live", which captures the previous year’s phenomenal tour with The Refreshments featuring Billy Bremner and keyboard legend Geraint Watkins backing Dave Edmunds. New members Robin Olsson (guitar) and Johan Blohm (keyboards) enter the group on their first commercial high.

With the title nicked from an old advertising-poster for Wurlitzer jukeboxes, "Musical Fun For Everyone", is the group’s fourth album—co-produced by Bremner but the first without him in the line-up. It’s evident that The Refreshments have no problems standing on their own, and the album is their fastest selling record to date, continuing the string of gold and platinum albums that will characterize The Refreshments career from now on. Boosted by confidence, the band embarks on yet another tour with Dave Edmunds and Dr Feelgood.

Fifth album "Real Songs On Real Instruments" is the first to be produced by Joakim Arnell and includes the band’s biggest radio hit to date—"One Dance, One Rose, One Kiss". Geraint Watkins makes a guest appearance at the organ. In the autumn the 20-track compilation ”Here We Are - Best Of The Refreshments” is released. Drummer Niklas Aspholm is plagued by sinew problems that make him unable to play. Original member Mats Forsberg retakes his place behind the drums, partly persuaded by the fact that the group now is down to a mere 125 gigs a year.

Continued touring and Swedish national television performances with Dave Edmunds, Billy Bremner and Geraint Watkins, while the band release two new albums—the sixth studio album ”On The Rocks” and the Christmas record ”Rock’n’Roll X-mas”. Chuck Berry’s legendary pianist Johnnie Johnson makes one of his last appearances in the video to “On The Rocks” track “We Just Can’t Win”—a fitting homage to a true rock’n’roll hero. ”Rock’n’Roll X-mas” includes standards and original songs like “I’m The Real Santa”. The album takes a sleigh ride to the #1 position in the Swedish charts in December, while the band is touring the country with their Christmas show.

The band tours Sweden with veteran rocker Jerry Williams and The Boppers. Seventh studio album ”Easy To Pick Up, Hard To Put Down”, a 15-track collection of new material and lovingly chosen covers like the two Chuck Berry numbers ”If I Were” and ”Going Back To Memphis”. The live dvd “One Night With The Refreshments”, featuring special guest Albert Lee, is released.

Piano player Johan ”JB” Blohm releases the critically acclaimed solo album ”Reconsider Me”. During the summer, The Refreshments tour with Smokie and Status Quo. Before the tour is over they have smashed the attendance record at the majestic outdoor concert site Dalhalla. The live dvd “Refreshments Live” featuring special guests Dave Edmunds and Billy Bremner is released in the autumn. In December they once again embark on a ”Rock’n’Roll X-mas”-tour with Eva Eastwood and Geraint Watkins.

New album ”24-7” gets a Grammy nomination while the band slows down their touring into a more human 70-gigs-a-year schedule. They embark on a sold out summer tour and gigs with Status Quo, before celebrating 17 years and more than 3 000 live shows with the best of-collection ”It’s Gotta Be Both Rock And Roll”, which immediately soars to the #1 position on the Swedish charts.

The annual “Rock’n’Roll X-Mas” tour is a new success with guest appearances by Nisse Hellberg and Mats Ronander. During Christmas, The Refreshments holiday rocker “I'm The Real Santa” travels the world as the theme song for the Disney movie “Santa Claus 3”.

Four years after “Rock’n’Roll X-mas” The Refreshments returns to holiday mode with a new sizzling home made brew: “Christmas Spirits”, including 14 hard rocking and sweet country seasonal greetings. For the annual ”Rock'n'Roll X-mas” tour, The Refreshments requites the country picking guitar phenomenon Albert Lee, singer/pianist Linda Gail Lewis and Annie Marie Dolan on backing vocals.

Having cherry-picked a few rock’n’roll standards here and there on their studio albums, the band now decide to dedicate a whole album to their musical roots—an album where almost every song is a million seller and a Billboard Hot 100 or R&B chart topper.

”The Refreshments Jukebox – Refreshing Classics” is a 15-song affair, presenting well-known tracks like Fats Domino’s “The Fat Man” and Chuck Berry’s ”I’m Talking About You” as well as more obscure gems like Little Bob & The Lollipops ”I Got Loaded” and Danny Wolfe’s ”Pucker Paint”.

The 2008 ”Rock'n'Roll X-mas” tour features acclaimed Swedish blues/rock artists Louise Hoffsten and Sven Zetterberg.

The band kicks off their 20th anniversary with new album “A Band’s Gotta Do What A Band’s Gotta Do”, once again a chart-topper and gold selling album in Sweden. “I started thinking about the time that’s passed since we started the band in the autumn of 1989, and the lyrics became a summary of what we’ve done so far”, Arnell says. During the summer they tour with Status Quo and special guest Alan Jackson.

Part of the 20-year celebration is a television recorded show in the Central Café in Gävle, where the band used to play before they started to outsell the 180 capacity pub. Four Refreshments guitarists share the stage: Thomas Holmberg, Tord Eriksson, Billy Bremner and Robin Olsson.

Before the year is over the band also manage to squeeze in a Rock´n´Roll X-Mas tour featuring guests like Eva Eastwood and Gil Edwards, as well as the release of an 8 cd retrospective box.

The autumn sees the release of the “Central Café - 20th Anniversary Concert" recorded the year before. A new Rock’n’Roll X-Mas tour coincide with the release of "Christmas Wishes - Best Of Rock´n´Roll X-Mas", featuring the band’s best seasonal rockers plus five new tracks. The album also marks the debut of new guitarist Jonas Göransson, who replaces Robin Olsson.

In the spring The Refreshments makes a successful visit to the SXSW festival in Austin, where they play legendary venues like Antone’s before releasing their tenth album, ”Ridin’ Along With The Refreshments”. Together with Rockpile legend Dave Edmunds they embark on their annual “Rock’n’Roll Summer” tour with guest Dave Edmunds. And of course, no Christmas without the “Rock’n’Roll X-Mas” tour, this year with guests Eva Eastwood and the X-Mas Horns.

In the spring the band releases their 11th album ”Highways And Byways”. A few months later founding member and saxophone player Micke Finell decides to bid the road farewell, and The Refreshments are trimmed down to a quartet in the process. The Chuck Berry tribute ”Let It Rock” is recorded in the legendary Sun Studios in 2013, before the band tries to put some rock and roll into the Eurovision Song Contest with the song ”Hallelujah” from their 12th album ”Wow Factor”, released in 2014.

In May 2016 The Refreshments are back on the scene with their 13th album “Straight Up”, and shortly thereafter pianist Johan Blohm’s boogie-woogie masterpiece ”JB’s Boogie” is passing a staggering 12 million views on YouTube.

Which brings us up to date with “Very Best Of The Refreshments” and 21 irresistible highlights from an amazing career in both rock and roll. The road goes on. Stay tuned. Stay refreshed.


Eva Eastwood


Att Eva Eastwood går sin egen väg på den svenska musikscenen är närmast ett understatement. Som ingen annan har hon kryssat mellan 50-talsdoftande svensk rockabilly och modern rock så framgångsrikt att Eva Eastwood numera är ett namn bland 50-talshjältar som Elvis Presley, Wanda Jackson och Carl Perkins på Rockabilly Hall of Fame i USA.

”Min melodi” är ännu ett bevis på att hon gör skäl för titeln som Sveriges okrönta rockabillydrottning. Med tolv nya låtar som hämtar kraften från den första rock’n’roll-explosionen i mitten av 50-talet visar Eva att hennes låtskrivarkreativitet är intakt.

- Jag älskar att skriva och ibland kan det bli flera låtar om dagen. Det är aldrig svårt, de bara kommer. Men det beror nog på att det känns så lustfyllt att göra musik. Jag är lycklig som får hålla på med det roligaste jag vet, skrattar Eva.

”Min melodi” består av tolv låtar som drar åt ett tydligare rockabillyhåll än tidigare. Hennes förra album ”Åh, vilken skiva” från 2012 blev Grammisnominerad, dock i kategorin ”Årets dansband”, en stämpel som man kan diskutera både länge och väl.

- Till den här skivan känner jag att vi har dragit lite tydligare åt rockabillyhållet än tidigare, både vad gäller låtar, attityd och soundet i studion. Ingen av oss var ju med på 50-talet och vi har väl inte velat blåstirra på exakt hur man gjorde då, men lite mer energi från den tiden finns nog med här, säger en nöjd Eva.

Resultatet hörs redan i inledande ”Jimmy, Jimmy”, som Eva själv pekar ut som en av hennes personliga favoriter på plattan – och som hon tror kan bli en ”plåtdunkarfavorit” när sommaren kommer och raggarbilarna ger sig ut på vägarna. (Ordet ”plåtdunkarfavorit” finns knappast i Svenska akademiens ordlista, men tänk raggarbil med nervevade rutor och arm som dunkar i takt med musiken mot plåten, så är du på rätt spår).

Andra blivande Eastwood-klassiker är den bitterljuva ”Vad vet väl hon”, ”Han för mig” och ”Världens lyckligaste man”, en låt som alla småbarnsföräldrar nog kan känna igen sig i. Plattan är (som vanligt) inspelad i Strawberry-studion i Töreboda med Eva själv på sång, gitarr och kör, samt ett delvis nytt Major Keys bestående av veteranerna Frank Snow (piano och keyboard) och Mats Arnesén (trummor) samt nytillskotten Chris Bergström (gitarr) och Paul Hintz (kontrabas).

Med över 600 egna låtar registrerade hos Stim (och massor av idéer, utkast och kassetter som ständigt dyker upp i nya lådor) fortsätter en av Sveriges mest produktiva artister att skriva sin egen melodi.

Eva Eastwoods liv i repris – detta har hänt:

Eva debuterar som rockabillysångerska och blir via fyra hårdsvängande album med gruppen The Major Keys en favoritartist hos den svårflörtade svenska retropubliken.

Med första svenska albumet ”En ny stil i stan” lyckas Eva som ingen annan återuppliva känslan av sent svenskt 50-tal, som om ljudet av en Siw Malmqvist-LP från 1959 plötsligt hade börjat strömma ut ur transistorradion.
När hon sommaren 2005 framför ”Vårt liv i repris” i tv-programmet ”Allsång på Skansen” blir hon även ett namn för den breda hemmapubliken.

Eva byter stil och går från rockabilly till svensk schlager-retro till tung modern countryblues – vilket de som har sett Eva live vet att hon alltid har blandat och haft på sin repertoar.

Albumet ”Ton Of Heart” (2006) följs av ”Well, Well, Well” 2008 och ”The Beat Goes On” 2009. De tre albumen med engelska texter visar inte bara upp Evas mångsidiga låtskrivarförmåga, dessutom säljer de ovanligt bra i en tid när skivförsäljningen hade börjat dala. ”Well, Well, Well” rusar t ex rakt upp på den svenska försäljningslistans andraplats.

Eva tilldelas hemstaden Örebros musikpris Millencolin Music Prize.

Eva längtar tillbaka till känslan av svenskt 50-tal med folkparker och raggarbilar. Albumet ”Lyckost” går in på försäljningslistans andraplats och är rena Twistpåsen för alla som är svaga för svensk retropop med nylonskjortor, vippande prickiga kjolar och tidig rock’n’roll. Och än en gång succé med sin speciella stil i ”Allsång på Skansen”.

”För mig har det aldrig varit något problem att blanda olika musikaliska stilar eller varva svenska texter med engelska. Det har alltid känts som jag, fast lite olika sidor av det jag gillar. Men jag fick ofta höra att visst var det bra med de engelska låtarna…men det var ju inte som ’En ny stil i stan’. Och till slut tänkte jag: ”nä, nu är det dags för en platta på svenska igen”.

Samma år gör Sveriges rock’n’roll-legend Jerry Williams comeback med ”Alright”, första nya albumet på nio år. Eva bidrar med en av plattans mest spelade hits, ”Cancel The Wedding”. ”Jag är verkligen stolt över att en legend som Jerry valde en av mina låtar”, säger Eva.

Nya svenska plattan ”Åh, vilken skiva” går även den in som tvåa på försäljningslistan, blir nominerad till en Grammis och görs dessutom i engelska systerversionen ”Oh, what a party”.

Eva och de svenska doo wop-veteranerna The Boppers har stött på varandra mycket ute på livescenen och bestämmer sig för att göra något tillsammans. Resultatet blir en fin version av Evas ”They Never Know”.

Efter fyra års uppehåll har Eva samlat på sig ett starkt startfält med låtar och vässat sin rockabillyattityd. ”Min melodi” kommer ut ungefär samtidigt som Eva ger sig ut på vägarna med The Major Keys. Sommaren 2016 är räddad.


Johan JB Blohm


Johan Blohm was considered one of Sweden’s best-kept secrets for many years, but thanks to a sensational YouTube clip The Refreshments boogie rolling pianist has been able to show the world what a keyboard master he is.

The film clip in question shows Johan roaring through his signature solo number ”JB’s Boogie” in less than two minutes during a break in a Refreshments show. For the ever so cool Johan Blohm it’s just another day at work, but an astonishing 6,5 million views (and counting) proves that stunned boogie-woogie lovers all over the world has started to spread the news.

One day Johan had an enthusiastic American voice in the phone, for example. It turned out to be the legendary producer and sound engineer Bruce Swedien, who had engineered all Michael Jackson’s solo album between 1978 and 2001, co-produced the world’s best selling album ”Thriller” as well as producing jazz and rock giants like Count Basie, Lionel Hampton, Diana Ross, Barbara Streisand, Paul McCartney, and Mick Jagger.

Swedien invited Johan to his Florida home to get a first-hand glimpse of his piano technique. Following The Refreshment’s American debut at the SXSW festival in Austin 2011, Johan went to Florida where they made some demo recordings and discussed the possibilities of a future cooperation.

Rock’n’roll and country
It’s no exaggeration to say that Johan Blohm quite comfortably has taken the position as Sweden’s Jerry Lee Lewis, especially if ”The Killer’s” classic country style from the 60´s and 70’s is your thing. He was groomed in old school rock’n’roll and country from the beginning, growing up with the sound of his dad’s favourite artists: Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, Charlie Rich and so on.

When he was seven the family got an old upright piano from a relative. Soon Johan had found the melody to ”Green Green Grass Of Home” with his right hand – and there was no turning back from there. Since then he has mixed rock’n’roll, country and boogie-woogie into a musical style characterized by a hard driving groove that he somehow manages to sound completely effortless.

Considering that Johan grew up in Sweden during the 70’s, he is about as much rock’n’roll as it gets. He has played together with legends like D.J. Fontana, Sleepy La Beef, Ray Sharpe, Al Ferrier and Stan Kessler. He has partied with Jerry Lee Lewis (and lived to tell). He has shown an impressed James Burton his patented boogie licks. And back home in his garage a Ford Thunderbird is parked beside a Pontiac Trans Am. JB has a ”rock’n’roll heart”. The right stuff, if you like.

His style is a contagious blend of all his musical heroes through the years - Gram Parsons, Merle Haggard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Hank Williams, Amos Milburn, Albert Ammons and so on. It’s country with a rock’n’roll attitude or the other way around. The total opposite of the contemporary country style that Tom Petty once referred to as ”bad rock with a fiddle”.

Stepping out into the spotlight
In 1999 Johan met Joakim Arnell of the The Refreshments. Upon hearing Johan play, Joakim was blown away and the boogieman soon was offered a permanent position in the band. On The Refreshments’ records he soon carved out his own niche with country tinged solo numbers, specially written for him by the band’s chief songwriter Joakim Arnell, but it wasn’t until the solo debut ”Reconsider Me” in 2005 that Johan felt mature enough musically to do his own thing.

Songs like Joe South’s ”Rose Garden” (which Lynn Anderson in the early 70’s made into one of the world’s biggest radio hits), Dorsey Burnette’s ”As Long As I Live”, Willie Nelson’s ”Mr. Record Man”, Rockpile’s ”As Lovers Do” och Harlan Howard’s “Sunday Morning Christian” presented Johan Blohm as an old school country singer with a classic rock’n’roll heart. But it was the intense album closer ”JB’s Boogie” that would steal most of the attention.

Tasteful choice of songs
“Reborn Man” once again serves a tasteful blend of classic songs from the 50’s and onwards. Songwriter Rick Klang delivered ”Good News Travels Fast” to The Refreshments album ”On The Rocks” a couple of years ago. The band had heard the song on an 80’s recording by Jerry Lee Lewis, and Rick Klang was so delighted by the Swedish band’s version that he immediately offered them more songs. The initial kick-start ”Hot Mess” was one of them.

Next is a song by one of Johan’s absolute favourites, Charlie Rich. He recorded ”There Won’t Be Anymore” in 1965, but the track wasn’t released until 1973 when it immediately became a #1 song on the American country charts. And then there’s Moon Mullican with the oldest song on the album, the rockabilly-boppin’ ”Big Big City” from 1958.

Carl Mann is most known for ”Mona Lisa”, but his ”If I Could Change You” from 1961 is also a gem, made evident by Johan’s inspired version. ”Little Ol’ Wine Drinker Me” is another cool classic that Dean Martin took the charts with a wry smile back in 1967.

Randy Chaffer’s "She's Not Really Cheatin' (She's Just Gettin' Even)" is also familiar for country lovers with an eye on the 70’s outlaw scene, being a hit for Moe Bandy in 1982.

But a major part of the songs are actually written now. Joakim Arnell has once again managed to dial in a creative flow with the time zone set somewhere around those sounds from the 60’s and 70’s, where Johan feels most at home. Songs like the hard rocking title track, the melancholy ”Cold Day Light” and the persistent foot stomper ”Paradise Coast” complements the classics just as good as Eva Eastwood’s soulful duet ”Wherever I Turn”.

The album climaxes with two smoking bonus tracks. Jackie Brenston’s original roots-rocker ”Rocket 88” – recorded in the Sun studio in Memphis and regarded by many as the world’s first rock’n’roll song – is a take from the actual Sun studio, where The Refreshments earlier this year recorded their Chuck Berry tribute “Let It Rock” in the most famous rock’n’roll recording studio on the planet. Johan’s own piano showcase ”Bada Bing Boogie” is a new awesome piece of improvisation for all the millions that has enjoyed his skills on YouTube.

A few really good friends and musicians has made great contributions along the way: Joakim Arnell (bass, acoustic guitar and backing vocals), Göran Holmberg (bass), Mats Forsberg (drums), Jonas Göransson, Ulf Holmberg and Robin Olsson (guitars), Eva Eastwood and Linda Gail Lewis (backing vocals) and JT Holmström (saxophone).

But in the midst of it all, we’ll find a quiet and humble pianist who once again let the fingers do the talking. If you haven’t discovered Johan Blohm yet, it’s about time to do it now.




Brolle’s been on the Swedish music map since he was discovered in the TV show “Pop stars” in 2001, followed by his subsequent gold awarded debut album “Rebellious Heart”. Since then he’s carved out a wide-ranging career mixing musicals, TV shows, and albums with both contemporary rock and the beloved 50’s flavoured rockabilly that his voice seems tailor made for.

His vocal and acting talents quickly gave him offers to do special theme shows, tours, and musicals like Footloose and Buddy Holly – the latter drawing an audience of over 170 000, watching Brolle headline as Buddy Holly himself.

Touring Sweden, he discovered that a lot of the classic countryside venues – the so called “folk parks” – that he grew up with in his native Boden way up in the Swedish north, sadly had been abandoned and neglected in recent years.

The antidote was ”Rock 'n roll on tour” - a musical crusade with guest artists like Mikael Rickfors, The Boppers, Linda Gail Lewis and many more. For five years in a row they have entered towns in vintage pink Cadillacs, and revived 25 of the country’s folk parks by bringing in milkshakes, chocolate wheels and rock’n’roll, drawing audiences in numbers not seen in 20+ years.

And just to prove that his rock’n’roll heart beats a little harder than most, the autumn of 2017 Brolle took on the task to tell the story of not only one, but three rock’n’roll icons – Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis - in one show. Headlining the sold out success “Elvis, Cash, The Killer & Me” at Göta Lejon in Stockholm, the show is set up for more sold out houses during the spring.

But before that he’s releasing his first Christmas song, “I’m Coming Home This Christmas”, a song that tips its hat to classic Christmas songs, while not shying away from some of the season’s darker sides; a seasonal greeting from a rocker that keeps exploring his role on stage.