I haven’t done a Music Saturday post for awhile. Some other things came up, can’t imagine what they were but they seemed to demand my attention. Anyway, this week’s artist is Tommy Oddsen.
Tommy Oddsen is my musical alter ego. The name came about in 2019 when I was going to play a gig with one of my best friends with whom I share a Norwegian heritage, and whose name is Evenson. “Even” is a Danish/Norwegian first name (akin to “Evan” in English) and, interestingly, so is “Odd.” So Norwegian families had – and a quick check of Facebook profiles seems to confirm still may have – sons named Even and Odd, and their children would have been “Evensen” and “Oddsen” in the bygone patronymic method of last names.
Rather than bill ourselves as “Evenson and Kephart,” I had the idea of adopting “Oddsen” as my stage name so we’d be “Evenson|Oddsen”. It was supposed to be a tiny joke for a few performances, but this year, as I had lots of time on my hands to actually practice playing guitar and singing for my own enjoyment, I started to think of myself as “Tommy Oddsen.”
So now that I’m finally playing live on Twitch, I’m using that name. In case you’re confused trying to find my channel.
Right now, I’m only playing one evening per week, Thursdays at 6 p.m. Eastern time. I’m on for about two hours, playing almost entirely covers from the 1960s through the 1990s, mostly folk, singer/songwriter tunes, some old country songs, and the very small number of original songs I’ve written. (Hopefully, there will be more of those to share shortly.)
Tonight’s featured Twitch streamers are Raffy, a band from Montréal who’ve been playing dans l’garage (in the garage) since COVID put an end to public performances. They play a mix of covers and original tunes in both English and French and have the air of a band that’s been together for a long time, meaning they really know how to play their instruments and how to work together well.
A lot of bands that have moved to streaming to keep performing live have adapted in different ways. A few have changed their live shows into a mix of song performances and radio talk show, and Raffy are one of the best of that group. While all four members of the band are together in L’Garage à Musique, they each have their own solo camera and all contribute comments, humor, and vocals. The band’s namesake Raffy is an energetic host, vocalist, and multi-instrumentalist (including keyboards, percussion, brass, and reeds) who keeps the whole show moving at a fast pace. Very entertaining! Makes me wonder what their normal live performances are like….
Here’s Raffy doing a vocal solo with ukulele accompaniment on “Lean On Me,” recorded in April shortly after Bill Withers’ death:
And here’s the whole band in a video for “Entrez dans la danse,” a song by Dominique Breault:
This week’s band is a brother and sister and father who play together as Andvari. They mostly play great covers on their Twitch channel. When I say “great” it’s because they often have a different twist to a song than the original artist, which I enjoy. After all, if I wanted to hear the original version I’m sure I can find it on Apple Music or Spotify. I tend to take the same approach when I play a familiar song.
Andvari is Cory (who I believe is known as Andvari in the online games he plays, hence the name of the band), who plays acoustic guitar and sings; his sister Brittney, who is mostly a vocalist but allegedly plays other instruments sometimes (I’ve yet to see her do that); and their father, who is only called “Dad” (though he told a story the other night and it turns out his name is Tom – what a great name!), who plays guitar, bass, and sings backing vocals. Occasionally Cory does a gaming stream on the channel, but it’s mostly music of late. Britt has her own Twitch channel where she also streams games and other things.
As I’ve mentioned on previous “Music Saturday” posts, I’ve been spending a lot of time watching music artists performing online, “streaming” concerts on platforms like Twitch, Periscope, Facebook Live, and YouTube Live.
These performances are very intimate. Most of the artists are performing from their homes, sometimes from their bedrooms, where they’ve set up their microphones, mixing boards, lighting, and instruments. Most play keyboards or guitar, but there are others playing drums, harp, violin, bass guitar, and many more. All styles of music are available as well as multiple languages. (As a current learner of French, I appreciate the streams where the artist is bilingual, switching from English to French, which helps me understand them in context.)