Big in Norway: Luke Elliot returns to CT

By MIKE CHAIKEN

EDITIONS EDITOR

There are many examples in history of musicians building up a sizeable audience in a land far away from their home.

So American singer-songwriter Luke Elliot is in good company these days with his top 10 success in Norway while he waits for his audience to build back up in the states.

The former Connecticut resident comes home to New Haven Friday night.

Luke, who used to gig at the area clubs in the Nutmeg States, has been finding his stride in Europe. He earned high marks from Rolling Stone in Germany. Fans are finding him in France, Turkey, Australia, Norway, and Germany. And his most recent album, “Dressed for the Occasion,” hit number 7 on the iTunes chart in Norway.

The success in Norway was rather random, explained Luke. He was in New York doing an interview with a reporter for a paper in Norway. The subsequent story lit a fire for his music in Scandinavia.

“I think the environment is more music friendly,” said Luke of Europe. Part of it is the arts and music scene receives more government support, he said. Additionally, artists in general have more respect overseas.

Elliot believes, however, the success in the European market should open the door to similar success in the states, said Elliot.

Although not originally from Connecticut, Luke moved to New Haven because his girlfriend was going to Yale University. While he was in Connecticut, he worked at Deja Brew in the West Rock Ridge neighborhood.

And he was performing. He had gigs in Manhattan. He also played New Haven venues like Café Nine, Bar, and Toad’s Place.

Plus, during his time in New Haven, Luke said, “I just started to cut my first EP.”

Luke’s sound works the singer-songwriter side of the musical street, foregoing a more pop or dance oriented flavor that might be more radio friendly.

“It was the kind of music I wanted to play,” said Luke of his singer-songwriter bent.. “It was what was coming out of me.”

In press materials, Luke is compared to classic singer songwriters like Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen. Luke said he is a definite fan of those artists, as well Bob Dylan

In terms of songwriting inspiration, Luke said, “I certainly like taking on different characters.” For his most recent album, “Dressed for the Occasion,” some of the songs follow the line of creating characters to sell a story. But also, he said some of the songs also are based on personal experiences.

“It’s a good mix,” said Luke.

For the new album, Luke worked with producer John Agnello, who comes out of the indie rock universe, having worked with Dinosaur Jr. and Sonic Youth. Given Luke’s origins in the world of singer songwriters, it would seem— at face— an odd pairing. But Luke said the duo worked quite well together.

“John was magnificent,” said Luke. “We got a chance to play with the songs and turn them into something else… unique.”

When Luke hits the stage at Café Nine on Friday night, he will be taking the stage with the same band he uses in Europe. The focus will be on songs from “Dressed for the Occasion,” which just came out in the U.S. back in August (it’s been out for a year in Europe.) He also will play some tracks from his debut EP, “Death of a Widow.” He also thinks he will offer i[ a few covers, such as Tim Hardin’s “Reason to Believe” and Warren Zevon’s “Boom Boom Mancini.”

I think it’s going to be a really energetic performance,” said Luke. “We brought a lot of production.”

And for people who saw him seven to eight years ago, he said, they should check out the latest show. They will not be seeing the same Luke Elliot, he said.

“I’m quite different,” said Luke.

Luke Elliot plays Café Nine, 250 State St., New Haven. Doors open at 9 p.m. Show begins at 9:30 p.m. Admission to the 21 and over show is $10 to $12.

Former Connecticut resident and singer songwriter Luke Elliot is coming back to the state to perform Friday night.

For more information, go to www.CafeNine.com or www.LukeElliot.com