Not many country artists come to Finland to perform. Here, country music is generally quite unappreciated, even misjudged due to misunderstandings about what kind of music country actually is. For instance, people in this part of the world don’t know much about its various forms since it is not mainstream music even a bit. However, there are also enthusiastic and active country fans in Finland, there is no doubt of that. For instance, I’m probably developing into one, I hope.
Famous country artist and actor Kris Kristofferson played two gigs in Finland. I saw the gig in Tampere. Kristofferson is known not only for his acting career, songwriting and several hit songs but he was also part of the country supergroup The Highwaymen with Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, and Waylon Jennings in years 1985-1995.
Kristofferson performed alone with his acoustic guitar and harmonica in the great hall of Tampere-talo. It was a very stripped-down performance, but it really didn’t miss anything. I was very moved by Kristofferson’s absolutely sincere performance and the warmth of his vocals. 72-year-old Kristofferson still has a lot of charisma, it’s like all his life’s experience is congragated on his presence, and especially audial output. His strong performance brought such legends as Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, and Willie Nelson to mind.
Kristofferson didn’t talk much between the songs – instead, he basically sang everything he wanted to say. For a non-lyrics-focused person like me this was extremely refreshing since I realized right in the beginning that you really should listen to the lyrics. They were very easy and pleasurable to listen to. Kristofferson has written them in a style that is very down-to-earth – typical of country music. There are no unnecessary verbal decorations, it’s just the straightforward content presented in an honest way. Kristofferson sang songs he had written for his children, their mothers, and his dad. George W. Bush also got some verbal treatment (not too positive, though), and Kristofferson’s heroes such as Jesus, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King Jr. were mentioned.
It really was a wonderful gig. All that peacefulness, beauty, and melancholy made an impression on me. I didn’t know Kris Kristofferson very well before this gig, but I’d really like to listen to more of his stuff – all kinds of great country music, in fact!
Kris Kristofferson at MySpace