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Rootsworld about "Love & Cigars"

Love & Cigars, Trio Mio’s fourth CD since 2004, presents a mix of mostly original waltzes, polkas and minuets (and one traditional tune), audibly inspired by Nordic folk roots but never bound by them. Danes Kristine Heebøll (fiddle, vocals­perhaps best known for her work with Phoenix) and Nikolaj Busk (accordion, piano, harmonium, glockenspiel, Wurlitzer, tap dancing, vocals) are joined by Sweden’s Jens Ulvsand (bouzouki, guitar, vocals). Collective winners of several Danish Music Awards, the trio has avid followings in Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Holland, England, Ireland, Italy and Canada, whose respective string-band traditions resonate with a contemporary sound that echoes the trio’s individual histories of boundary crossing into rock, jazz and pop.

That fact and their original material distinguish Trio Mio from Nordic folk groups more closely bound by traditional repertoires. Here, three highly accomplished instrumentalists play off one another fluidly, weaving their respective lines into a bright and fetching ensemble sound. Busk’s piano work lends a unique quality to several tunes, as on Heebøll’s “Taxaskotix,” a sprightly dance in two; the pianist’s own “Dick Turpin Polska,” which moves from a unison intro to mark out room for each player to develop an exceptional harmonic line, in what may be the most forward-looking track; and Ulvsand’s “Simmerdimpolska,” whose stately, almost martial pulse moves across Busk’s insistent keyboard vamping. There’s an evocative melancholy quality to Trio Mio that both addresses and transcends the music’s Nordic pedigree in promising ways. -- Michael Stone

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