Far adrift, yet solidly anchored: Billy T and other longtime Dark Season Blues colleagues liven up lunch at Svalbar


(Festival blog by Staff Writer Marion Prudhon, 1:30 p.m. Friday): “People say we have drifted far from the blues,” said William T. Troiani – alias Billy T – who’s been performing at Dark Season Blues for 13 of the festival’s 15 years, during the latest of his many free “Blues Lunch” concerts at Svalbar at midday Friday.

Indeed, he and he fellow musicians played more rock, rhythm and roll ‘n roll that might have filled the free space in front of the stage if the enthusiasm communicated last night hasn’t settled down during their sleep (Billy T acknowledged afterward he felt somewhat lost and some of attempted laugh lines fell flat during the start of the gig). Natural shyness had taken over, but after 45 minutes of swinging music the audience started moving in their seats.

A short break allowed Billy T to answer a few questions. Not really a foreigner anymore since he has been living in Oslo for more than 22 years, he says about Svalbard: “I’m used to it, I’ve come here for 13 years, I know people here, have friends .”

“I’m from New York. As a child I lived in the countryside. For me it does not matter, big cities, small cities, people are the same everywhere.”

Danish singer/guitarist Mike Andersen joined during the break while Alexander Pettersen (a Norwegian drummer who now lives in the U.S. and plays with Rick Estrin & the Nightcats) was catching up with old acquaintances.

“We are all friends,” Billy T said. “My drummer used to play for four bands. We all played with each other.”

So.. Let’s see how they mix in the following days…