Originally taking its main inspiration and song material from the Hill Country Blues of Mississippi, US, Fried Okra from Copenhagen, Denmark, now write their own songs, and consider themselves a blues, roots, rock, folk, americana (and you name it) -band.
Fried Okra Band with and without the “the” has existed since around 2006. Since 2016 the band has been the trio it is today – Thomas Crawfurd(drums, percussion, backing vocals), Anders Wallin(bass, backing vocals), Morten Lunn(lead vocals, guitar, diddley bo) – and the name’s been Fried Okra.
People who lives in or travelled the state of Louisiana or the rest of the south in the US will know where the name Fried Okra derives from – namely the common dish Fried Okra. It is what is says – the small, green vegetable okra covered in a cornmeal based batter and then deep-fried in oil(try It!).
However, the name does not mean that Fried Okra plays a Louisiana type of music like Cajun or Zydeco. Rather the band chose the name to refer to Afro-American culture of the South in general.
The list of current influences ranging from Lucinda Williams to T Model Ford goes to show that while the music of Fried Okra is heavily bluesy it is not straight blues. The aim is not to copy any of the artists, that Fried Okra claims as influences but rather to mix it together with something of your own – “so it smells familiar while still spiced with something indefinable and different” as Danish reviewer Mads Kornum from the web magazine Side 33 wrote in a live review.
Nominations and Blues Challenges
The band has been nominated 4 times. Three out of six albums have been nominated for Danish Blues Album of The Year and in 2021 Fried Okra was also nominated for The Blues Live Award.
Danish Blues Album of The Year:
2007 – “This is Your Chance, France, Baby!”
2015 – “Back Into The River”
2021 – “Doing It Right”
In 2017-2018 Fried Okra won the Danish Blues Challenge and reached 2.place in the European Blues Challenge. 2018 also saw the release of the live album Fried Alive.
Doing It Right
In the fall of 2020 Fried Okra released the album “Doing It Right”. Music magazines and regular blues magazines in- and outside Denmark has received “Doing It Right” well. The reviews mentions the sound and lyrics of the album and the bluestone of “Doing It Right” without the album being a straight blues album:
“..They are playing tight – playing together – and with that almost magical mutual understanding, which all the time secures that nothing is forced or delayed on the way to the goal, which – I guess – has been to create the bluest album of the year WITHOUT it being type casted as a blues album.” (Mads Kornum for Side33)
“Unhesitatingly recommended to all who like beautifully crafted, lyrically rich, blues songs, slide, rather than rock, heavy, Fried Okra have delivered a delicious spicy offering straight out the pan they’re certainly Doing It Right” (Graham Munn for Blues in Britain)
“Doing It Right” has gotten airplay on several independent blues radio stations after the release of the record in September, including La Hora Del Blues(ES) The Blues Show 544 by Gary Grainger(GB), Bluestimen(NO).
Fried Okra has played many of the Danish blues clubs and blues clubs and venues in different European countries. The band has also appeared on national and international festivals the open-air festival, Blues fest Eutin in Germany, being one of them. Helsinki, Finland has become Fried Okra’s home away from home, and the band last toured Finland in the spring of 2019.
The main venue for Fried Okra though has been Mojo Blues Bar in central Copenhagen, a small club with a lot of atmosphere that serves as the hub of the Copenhagen blues environment as well as for international blues artists. It’s a must-go-to-venue for Scandinavian music travelers.