Björn Heuser veröffentlicht sein 11. Studioalbum: "Stadtmusikant"

Björn Heuser releases his 11th studio album: "Stadtmusikant"

“Every scratch on my hand, every song that I write, every kilometer of road, is a memory that remains.” This is how Björn Heuser begins his 11th studio album as the “Town Musician” known in every neighborhood.

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When clarifying the term, the Duden dictionary refers to historical roots: a town musician is a "musician organized in a guild in the service of the town." Guilds have disappeared, and musicians as potentially paid service providers to increase the reputation of a town are no longer needed. Nevertheless, anyone who sees the man with the guitar at his sing-along concerts in pubs or in the Lanxess Arena will be happy to give him the title - as an inspiring interpreter of Cologne songs and as a promoter of a culture in which community can be experienced through singing together. But that's not all: Björn Heuser is a Cologne songwriter who can tell stories in the language of his homeland like no other - about the town and its people, about love and life. Heuser writes lyrics that go beyond the many well-known eulogies that celebrate the town and its residents with the same, simple rhymes. There aren't many left in and around Cologne who can do that.

And so the song about the "Town Musician", which gave the new album its name, takes on another meaning: Björn Heuser always wanted to be more than just the sole entertainer for sing-along parties. He wants to tell his own stories, and ideally combine both. The Town Musician has to fight for attention in order to be able to talk about what is important to him. "When it's falling, I have to run," he quotes a Cologne saying that he knows from his grandfather. More than once he has burned his fingers and "lied to the truth" - "on the search for freedom as a Town Musician." It would be boring if the search were easy.

Compared to previous albums, Heuser is less melancholic. In the song "De jeilste Johre" he remembers his childhood in Körnerstrasse in Ehrenfeld. Back then, the street that is now the epitome of gentrification was still a tough place in the working-class district. He thinks back to "the good old days", but the driving pop song leaves little room for too much melancholy. The message: The feeling of the best years can be brought back at any time. Even if your hair is slowly turning grey, "sometimes I still have the feeling like I used to".

Heuser has often sung about how he feels "between all the stones", but there seem to be a few very reliable things in his life these days. Since the birth of his son, a song has been dedicated to him on every album. "Nit wigg vum Stamm" is a wonderful love song, as is the ballad "Satt vür Jlöck", a poem set to music for his wife. The seeker of happiness has found happiness - and some great lines: "I love you and am sure that it's the last roof in paradise." Of course, your home town is also a constant in life: even if you're constantly on the move and always searching, the feeling of knowing where you come from and where you always belong gives you security. "One thing is certain, that after all this time, there's nothing nicer than coming home," Heuser wrote in a Berlin hotel room. Here he quotes his deceased mother when he picked her up from a rehabilitation clinic a few weeks before her death and drove with her in his car over the Zoo Bridge. "Never gone" describes what the place means to him, "what is known everywhere as home" - including the red and white striped shirt that is always within reach in the closet.

Heuser can write a song about carnival without it becoming a carnival song. The small, fine song about the Cologne carnival, "Einmol em Johr", which Heuser wrote for the eighth edition of the music series "Kölsche Heimat" to mark the 200th anniversary of the official carnival, has just as much of a place on the album as his contribution to the 30th anniversary of the AG Arsch huh. The lyrics of "Minsche" are very topical: "Sometimes we don't even know what we can still grasp, this madness, this delusion." Nevertheless, Björn Heuser has not given up hope for a better world: "When the red roses bloom and the white clouds fly, we will die for hope."

Musically, the town musician presents a great variety. The experience he had in 2019 during his recordings in a studio in the country capital Nashville is reflected in almost every new piece. Heuser is a folk musician in the best sense of the word, or in modern German, a singer-songwriter. Each piece should be playable with just the guitar around the neck, even without the arrangements for other instruments. But in the studio, other possibilities open up, which Heuser knows how to use: from rich rock guitars to the ukulele, from brass sections to the roaring B3 Hammond organ - Heuser's songs are arranged with great attention to detail. The Cologne television tower "Colonius" is honored with a reggae, the song "Keiner weiß" resonates with oriental grooves, and the ballad "Düvel un Engel" features Spanish guitar playing and a blues harp that add special accents.

The Town Musician concludes his new album with the well-known homage to the late Hans Süper. Björn Heuser wrote the piece on the occasion of Süper's entry in the Golden Book of the City of Cologne. After the death of the Cologne original, great clown and brilliant musician on December 3, 2022, he put a new version - recorded the night after he received the news of his friend's death - on the Internet. Heuser hesitated to officially release the edited song because he did not want to give the impression that he wanted to use Süper's death for commercial purposes. Live, "Leeven Häns" has long been part of the repertoire, and now the song also has a permanent place as the final bonus track on the new album.

"Another journey on my already really exciting path through life" has begun, says Björn Heuser on the release of "Stadtmusikant". "People come and go, the world and society are once again challenged and put to the test this year. Everything is developing further and some things are regressing. But my songs will remain." Heuser contributes twelve special songs to the seemingly inexhaustible repertoire of regional music culture. They were recorded between May 2022 and August 2023, and the partner on almost all of the pieces was the producer and musician Ralf Hahn. These are not songs that could get lost in the often musical or linguistic monotony, but small and large pearls that enrich the treasure of Cologne's song and music culture. "Mer schrieve uns Leeder, weil mer jet zo sage han," sings Heuser in a duet with his friend and songwriter colleague Martin Buß in the song "Zwei Köpp, eine Jedanke" about the process of writing songs. It is not uncommon to know in advance that the song being created will not be a mega hit. And yet it is important that it gets out into the world. Because: “We are going to do it, we are breaking boundaries and breaking barriers.” “Stadtmusikant” is a milestone in Cologne pop history

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