From Gov’t Mule to ABBA and Tom Petty: Jorgen Carlsson’s new project
A musician well known in the Hudson Valley for rock improvisation with the band Gov’t Mule is stepping out on his own to make a record with his wife.
A native of Sweden, bass player Jorgen Carlsson has performed multiple times with Gov’t Mule at the Mountain Jam music festival at Hunter Mountain in Greene County.
Carlsson’s strong and steady bass lines lay a rhythmic foundation for the deep jams that can define Gov’t Mule’s sound; and they provide context for the searing solos from lead guitarist Warren Haynes. Now he and his wife, Mini Diaz, are collaborating on a new record that without question contains some of the best original songs I’ve ever heard.
Be careful what you anticipate from this project — Carlsson and Diaz are Little Days, a play on her name. Don’t impose any expectations. It’s all so hard to describe, in part because I have seen Gov’t Mule perform so many times.
And in addition to featuring Steve Ferrone and Mike Campbell from Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers, this project is very different than Gov’t Mule.
And, the ties connecting this project to our region are strong. Ulster County resident Danny Louis plays keyboards for Gov’t Mule. And Carlsson will be in the Hudson Valley in early November as horns are recorded for the project.
You should also know that Carlsson’s influence run wide and deep.
“I was a rock and roll guy and loving pop music when I grew up in the 1970s — ABBA, Queen, Fleetwood Mac, the list goes on, Black Sabbath at the same time,” he said. “It doesn’t really matter to me what it is. As long as it has a good melody.”
Carlsson arrived in the U.S. from Sweden in 1991 to attend a music school in Los Angeles. That’s where he met Diaz, a songwriter, vocalist and sound engineering instructor of Cuban heritage. He got hired to perform in the recording process and, he said, “That’s how we caught each other’s eye.”
Underscoring the strong partnerships that Gov’t Mule members have with their wives, Diaz and vocalist Machan Taylor, who is married to Louis, joined Gov’t Mule for concerts over the summer that paid tribute to Pink Floyd. Like her husband, Diaz credits ABBA as an influence; and the music of Olivia-Newton John has also shaped her career.
Diaz can also credit gymnast Nadia Comaneci with influencing her. Diaz writes on her website that she was a young girl when Comaneci competed in the 1976 Summer Olympics and her mother bought her a copy of the instrumental song “Nadia’s Theme (The Young and the Restless,)” which became popular because of the games.
The flip side of the single had a song called “Down the Line.” Diaz wrote lyrics for it and sang it during her fourth-grade talent show.
“And that’s how it all got started,” Diaz wrote on her website.
Look for the new Little Days record in 2019.