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The Final Draft

The Final Draft

Our latest release,  EP with music and lyrics by Jonas Kjellgren and Christoffer Olsson.  Including” Cold November Rain”, Runner up in Country and Bluegrass, International Acoustic Music Associations Award  2021


Our fifth CD with material written by Jonas Kjellgren and Mikael Grund. The inspiration is largely traditional bluegrass, both instrumentally and with the three-part song that is so specific to the genre. While traditional blues and country has influenced both the Downhill’s music as Bluegrass at large.
On the disc’s only instrumental track, written by Erik Gunnar Risberg, even a touch Swedish folk music discerned.
IAMA – promoting excellence in Acoustic Music Performance and Artistry – gave the first prize in the category “Best Country/ Bluegrass Song” to Downhill Bluegrass Band for the tune “Wonderland”, the titeltrack from the cd “Wonderland”, written by Jonas Kjellgren

Review Bluegrass Unlimited

Often it seems the voice of a singer can influence the type of song he/she writes. And so it is with the Downhill Bluegrass Band. On their fifth release, the songwriting is divided almost fifty/fifty between mandolinist Jonas Kjellgren (six) and guitarist Mikael Grund (five), and largely the leads match with the song style.
There are always exceptions to every rule, but for most of this recording, it’s safe to say that Grund writes and sings the brighter tunes, such as the quick-paced “No Matter How Hard I Try” and the slower but airy “Wouldn’t It Hurt.” Both may deal with subjects of anguish and loss, but there is a lack of false tension in them
In other words, Grund lets the words produce the tension. He does the same with several of his other tunes, the best of which is the fingerpicked, folk sound of “Little Bird.” All of those are in keeping with his smooth and even, midrange vocals. The one exception is “Beneath The Clay,” which is more edgy.
The opposite of Grund is Kjellgren. His voice is darker, more blues-oriented, and filled more with tension. That darkness, blues, and tension characterizes most of his original songs. “Wonderland” is an excellent piece of songwriting, filled with allusions you don’t often hear in bluegrass. It has a real grit to it, wringing out emotion at every turn. It is echoed by “The Game Is Over,” a similarly taut piece of fine writing. “Listen Up” has a persuasive bounce, and “Lay Down Beside Me” is lullaby soft.
Together with the instrumental work from banjoist Kenneth Kjellgren, resonator guitarist Nicke Widen, fiddler Erik Risberg, and bassist Kajsa Kjellgren Westin, they’ve created an album worthy of hearing again and again.
Bluegrass Unlimited

Recension Zero Magazine

Bra bluegrass kräver skickliga musiker, och skickliga musiker fattas inte Downhill Bluegrass Band, med hemvist i Avesta/ Torsåker. Faktum är att sextetten är så duktiga på det de gör att självaste IBMA (International Bluegrass Music Association) i Nashville, USA har bjudit in dem att spela, flera gånger.
Wonderland är gruppens femte platta sedan albumdebuten år 2000 och plattan innehåller tolv låtar, skrivna av Jonas Kjellgren (sång och mandolin) och Mikael Grund (sång och gitarr). Övriga medlemmar är Kajsa Kjellgren Westin (sång, ståbas), Kenneth Kjellgren (banjo), Nicke Widén (dobro) och Erik Gunnars Risberg (fiol)
Samtliga instrument är givetvis akustiska och körsången trestämmig så som det anstår traditionen. Personligen faller jag inte för vartenda spår här, men bland favoritlåtarna nämner jag gärna ett par melodiöst vackra låtar som ”Wouldn´t it hurt” och ”Elsewhere”. Det är de som satte sig i mitt medvetande, redan då jag lyssnade på plattan första gången. Men även bluesiga ”Go on your way” förmedlar djupa känslor, liksom den något snabbare ”The factory”.
På tal om högre tempo förekommer givetvis sådant här också. Ett par exempel är inledande ”No matter how hard I try” med sina fina soloprestationer, och instrumentala ”Homecoming glasses” som Risberg skrivit.
Så för den som vill släppa loss och dansa finns det möjligheter här också.
Robert Ryttman

Review by Heath Andrews

Sweden’s own Downhill Bluegrass Band has released five albums since forming in 1998. Their latest, 2014’s Wonderland, once again shows the level of mastery the band has attained over the traditionally American genre of bluegrass.
The arrangements, songwriting, and vocal delivery all do exactly what they should to help convey the emotional triumphs and tribulations that the working class is subjected to. Wonderland leans more towards the tribulations side of things, dedicating more time to some somber material. This eschews the balance of the album a bit too much, but still makes for an engaging listen.
Downhill Bluegrass Band is a six piece group featuring Jonas Kjellgren on mandolin and vocals, Kenneth Kjellgren on banjo, guitarist and vocalist Mikael Grund, bassist and vocalist, Kajsa Kjellgren Westin, and Nicke Widen and Erik Gunnars Risberg on the dobro and fiddle respectively. As one might imagine, this not only provides all the necessary ingredients towards a full bluegrass sound, but a lush soundscape in general; one that’s full of exceptional musicianship. Kicking things off is the quickly paced, “No Matter How Hard I Try.” This is a fantastic display of the energy and talent the band is capable of. The quick banjo picking, strong harmony vocals, plucky bassline and beautiful mandolin really stand out. Given the pacing of the track, it’s not all surprising that it’s over in a little less than two and a half minutes, but it’s a wonderful toe-tapping time while it lasts.
The title track is closer in tone to what the rest of the record is like. While it’s not a plodding pace by any means, it’s obviously slower than its predecessor, focusing more on the story of its weary traveler. One of the strong moments of the song is the instrumental refrain that features the dobro and mandolin playing together in a stunning harmony.The song in general is beautifully performed and arranged and still manages to include a bit of a sing-along hook to its chorus, despite the somber nature of the lyric. “Wouldn’t It Hurt” continues along these somber lines, beginning more as a country song with a simpler arrangement. It uniquely builds up to include more instrumentation, gradually bringing in the banjo and fiddle until it reaches the band’s full ensemble. It’s a fascinating little touch to make as it gives the listener time to hear some of the individual capabilities of the instruments one-by-one.
The song that follows, “The Game is Over,” returns to the full arrangement with a prominent bassline and also picks up the tempo. It remains just as somber as the songs that precede it, with the singer basically conceding to defeat in life and love. If there’s one flaw to the album it’s that the slower songs dominate in terms of number and length. “Listen Up” and “Homecoming Glasses” are both exceptionally plucky and perky songs, but they’re also as brief as their sister track that opens the record. Not that it’s any more interesting to hear the Downhill Bluegrass band in this capacity (because they’re interesting no matter what they play) but these numbers inject some energy and reprieve from the heavy subject matter and emotion of the slower pieces.
It feels like there’s an untapped potential in listening to this sextet play an extended jam, but what we get instead are two minute snippets of what could be. Regardless, there’s no denying the intensity of emotion the band conjures up with their lyrics and music. The fiddle goes a long way towards this, and its playing is especially noteworthy on “Elsewhere” and “The Factory.” The former is a very bluesy piece with the singer stating that he’s leaving for elsewhere. The banjo keeps a rapid pace, but the cry of the dobro and fiddle remind the listener that this is a painful farewell the narrator is undertaking. “The Factory” on the other hand bookends itself with strong fiddle performances that help announce and reiterate the spirit of the piece.
With a dozen songs to enjoy, there’s no shortage of content on Wonderland. There are the beautiful harmonies on “Go Your Own Way,” the lyrical power of “Beneath The Clay,” and the heartfelt closer of “Lay Down Beside Me.” Downhill Bluegrass Band is a tremendously inspired group of musicians united behind phenomenal musicianship and strong songwriting. While it would’ve been nice to hear some more of the group’s frenetic energy coming to life, Wonderland is still wonderful, and a necessary listen for the casual and hardcore bluegrass fan alike. Artist: Downhill Bluegrass Band Album: Wonderland Review by: Heath Andrews Rating 4.5 Stars (out of 5)

Recension Lira Musikmagasin

Swedish review from the swedish Music magazine  Lira På Wonderland varierar Downhill Bluegrass Band snabb bluegrass med en mer melankolisk americana som vandrar tillbaka till rötterna.
Bandet härstammar från Bergslagen i Sverige men har ett sound rotat i USA:s djupaste inland. Tänk Nebraskas ödsliga slätter eller de sumpiga träskmarkerna i Louisiana. Komplett med banjo, dobro och ståbas. Tillsammans med en sångteknik som på bland annat Wouldn’t it hurt påminner om Christian Kjellvander görs det till något mer.
För trots namnet är Downhill Bluegrass Band mer än bara bluegrass, och det står ut i konkurrensen. De är tajta och känns märkbart rutinerande. Men, lite mer påtaglig hjärta och smärta hade inte skadat, de kunde ha tagit ut svängarna lite mer för att få en större variation. Wonderland är en skiva som genomsyras av kvalitet.
Skivbolag: LimestoneHouse Music Recenserad av: Mette Carlbom

Recension SMCC

Downhill hade release på denna deras senaste CD på Grennafestivalen 140816. Bandet visar på denna CD att de tillhör landets absolut bästa band. Kenneth Kjellgren och Nicke Widén har producerat skivan och Mikael Grund (fem låtar) och Jonas Kjellgren(sex låtar) har skrivit elva av CD’ns 12 spår. Det tolfte spåret ”Homecoming Glasses” är en instrumental låt av bandets fiddlare Erik Gunnars Risberg.
Jag gillar denna CD skarpt trots att jag inte är någon utpräglad bluegrassfantast. Anledningen till att jag gillar skivan är att jag gillar lite stillsammare bluegrass och flera av låtarna här går i lite lugnare tempo och med bra texter. Titellåten ”Wonderland” är en lite lugnare ballad som jag gillar. Detsamma gäller ”Wouldn’t it hurt”.
Tempot ökar något i ”The game is over”. ”Go on your way” och ”Beneath the clay” är två lugna bluegrassballader som jag gillar. Samma gäller för “Little bird” och “Lay down beside me”, två mycket bra låtar.
Det här är ett givet köp för dig som gillar bluegrass
Lars Thell

A Grasshopper’s Lament

Downhill’s fourth album on their own label “LimestoneHouse Music”.
This time with only original material written by songwriter and mandolinist Jonas Kjellgren.
This album had Ivor Ottley on fiddle and Magnus Sundström on guitar. Nicke Widen also replaced Janne Ekman on dobro on this recording.

Review from Bluegrass Unlimited

Strong instrumentation, good vocals and harmonies, and original material have made this group from Sweden one of the most popular bands in Europe. They also have had several successful trips to the U.S., where they have been warmly received.
The project is their fourth release and was more than a year in production because they wanted a “more mature and thorough sound.” All the songs on this project are original with Jonas as the primary composer of both music and lyrics. The music runs the gamut from straight bluegrass to jazz to the dark side of “Silver And Gold.” The title cut is a slow instrumental that lets everyone shine.
There is a variety of moods here from “Give It Up And Give In,” “Us Against The World,” “That Idiot Wind,” “Crawl Back,” to “Talking To A Barman.” Downhill continues to draw in fans from both sides of the pond!

Review from Sing Out Magazine

Bill Monroe would be proud. His music has travelled very well. Lately bluegrass bands have popped up all over the world, but in Sweden the sound seems to be particularly popular. Downhill Bluegrass Band was founded in 1997 by mandolinist/vocalist Jonas Kjellgren and his brother banjoist/harmonist vocalist Kenneth.
A Grasshopper’s Lament is the band’s fourth cd and the first with all original material composed by Jonas. In addition to the brothers, the band includes Kajsa Westin, bass and harmony vocals; Ivor Ottley, fiddle; Nicke Widen, Dobro and Magnus Sundstrom , guitar and harmony vocals. A Grasshopper’s Lament opens with “Give it up and give in” a fast-paced tune wich highlights Kenneth’s banjo, Nicke’s Dobro and the bands harmony vocals.
The lead vocals taken by Jonas have a distinctly new grass spirit with thankfully no faux southerbn accent. “Reckless Wind” could come right out of Jimmy Martins songbook with it’s soulful lead vocals, Magnus’ flatpicked guitarsolo and rhythmic stops and starts. “The Duke” is a swing-inspired tune spotlighting Ivor’s fiddle and once again Magnus’ guitar. The backing vocals are especially tasty. The title track is a moderately paced instrumental allowing each of the soloists a turn at the sweet melody. “Up and Down these Roads” wich concludes the CD, is an introspective observation on the future and the knowledge gathered over time.
If there is a criticism of the Downhill Bluegrass Band it is the sameness in the lead vocal sound. Jonas is a distinctive singer but a little variety would have been nice. In any case the Downhill Bluegrass Band has learned many lessons from the masters of the style. A Grasshopper’s Lament is a solid, well-played bluegrass CD any American band would be right proud of.

Review by Heath Andrews

To a majority of people, bluegrass music is going to be associated with the American South and Appalachian regions where the genre developed and flourished.  Somewhere further down the list of places you might expect to hear a bluegrass band hailing from is Sweden, but that’s exactly where Downhill Bluegrass Band comes from.  Having been around since the late ‘90s, the group, led by singer and mandolinist Jonas Kjellgren, has toured extensively around Europe and released three albums.
Their fourth, A Grasshopper’s Lament, bristles with energy, talent, and exceptional songwriting.  What’s more is how staggeringly well the band plays together, resulting in a consistently stellar album that comes together as more than the sum of its parts. The band’s line-up consists of the aforementioned Jonas Kjellgren, Kenneth Kjellgren on banjo, Magnus Sundstrom and/or Mikael Grund on guitar, Nicke Widen playing dobro, fiddle-player Ivor Ottley, and bassist Kajsa Westin. In all fairness, no one musician outshines another across the album.  Everyone in the band feeds into the group sound and the synergistic effect it creates is always complimentary to the emotion of the song.
Even when one of the pieces doesn’t have a strikingly memorable hook or isn’t entirely catchy, the lively performances make every one of the thirteen songs enjoyable. “Give it Up and Give In” leads the album off with the kind of sound that is very identifiable with the genre.  Quick paced banjo picking meets the gentle whine of the dobro to create a bouncy energy and a slight bluesy tone.  This matches the lyric well as Jonas sing, “Now when the fire comes down, they’ll be no one around to show you the way…”
His voice and delivery is very notable as well for its unique qualities. If Roland Gift of the Fine Young Cannibals decided to go country with a bit of a lower pitch and tone, you’d have a reasonable approximation of Jonas’s voice.  He makes his songs compelling and delivers his lyrics just as well as he wrote them. “Silver and Gold” demonstrates the band’s ability to create a unique arrangement in order to emphasize the emotional weight of a song.  Though it starts off with forceful rhythm guitar and vocals, the instrumental bridge is played in a gentle manner by the band, allowing the fiddle to take advantage of this and deliver a strongly emotional solo.  Throughout the piece are sustained backing vocals that also add to the song’s emotional weight.
The title track’s straight-up instrumental does a good deal to showcase the individual member’s talents as strong dobro, guitar, mandolin, and fiddle parts drive the song along its three minute journey.  The performances are so strong that the song just breezes right by in its jubilant manner. “Count Me In” is another piece that flies right by on the strength of its fiddle, backing vocals and the way the higher timbre of the mandolin pokes its way through the arrangement to remind you of how much it adds to the music.
Though it’s difficult to call one song better than any of the others, since they are all so strongly consistent, “That Idiot Wind” is a contender for the best song here on the album.  With an intensely catchy chorus, delivered brilliantly by Jonas, and just the right amount of harmony from the rest of the group, the brilliant hook stands out amongst the many others.  “Crawl Back” is also a contender for the best song on the album given its darker tone and story about a woman who you really don’t want to get involved with; because she may be in league with the Devil.
Downhill Bluegrass Band has put together an exceptionally strong album of amazingly well-performed original bluegrass songs.  Each track is the perfect length and showcases a cohesive band playing to their full potential.  It’d be hard to improve on material this strong, so the only potential problem with A Grasshopper’s Lament is in how high the bar has been set- for future releases. HEATH ANDREWS

That One Straight Line

The second release on Limestonehouse Music, with tunes by Jonas Kjellgren, Christoffer Olsson and Mikael Grund . Downhill Bluegrass Band was invited by the IBMA to perform as a showcase act with songs from “That one Straight Line” at the IBMA Awards in Nashville in 2007

East Of The Mountains

The first release on LimestoneHouse Music. The album had the IBMA invite Jonas Kjellgren to perform at the Songwriters Showcase at the Lousville IBMA Awards in 2003. Several songs from “East of the Mountains” have been recorded by other artists since its release.


“Mountain Songs and other Stories”  Maxida Märak & Downhill Bluegrass Band

Maxida Märak, a member of the Swedish indigenous Sami people, collaborates with Downhill Bluegrass Band in a musical project blending bluegrass with traditional Sami folk music. Maxida alternates modern singing with the traditional Sami yoik.
”Mountain Songs & other stories” breaks new ground, exploring the similarities between the Sami culture’s musical expression and the American traditional folk music from around the Appalachian Mountains. The mountain has a central role in both contexts, and the mining industry affects the lives of both people and nature on both sides of the Atlantic.

“Bell Metal Reeds”  Pelle Lindström & Downhill Bluegrass Band

After several years of successful collaboration between them, it was time for a disc with Downhill and Pelle Lindström! . Here they merge their traditional, acoustic sound of bluegrass from the Appalachian Mountains, with roots in the mining and steel industries of Bergslagen, with Pelle Lindströms harmonica and deep, rumbling voice. Together they created murderballads and lovesongs with a flavour of a distant past, scents of earth, hard work, steel, alcohol, violence and death.

This was also Pelle Lindströms last record.

He past away in April 2024. A legendary musician with more than 60 years of musical experience.

The Grass Of Thor

The band’s first release. It was mainly recorded live in a cabin on a hill in Torsaker. Lead singers at the time were Jonas Kjellgren and Hans Wahlstedt. Songs written by Jonas and Hasse and also recordings of some traditional songs. Label Holmen Music. Released year 2000.