Exclusive Music Premiere: Karen Haglof “Ode To Bon Jovi” from upcoming EP ‘Palomino Steady Rocking’

Photo by Isaac Haglof
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Palomino Steady Rocking is the third release for the singer/songwriter/guitarist Karen Haglof after many years away from the recording studio, during which she earned her medical de­gree and joined the hematology/ oncology department of New York University Hospital. “Ode To Bon Jovi” (referring to a beloved horse, not the veteran Jersey rocker!) is the first song she’s debuting from the four-song EP. which comes out September 7 to be followed by the full-length album Tobiano later in the year.

Like its predecessors, Palomino Steady Rocking revolves around Haglof’s hard-hitting yet spry, stripped-down blues-inflected playing and writing, ably supported by longtime musical ally Steve Almaas on bass and CP Roth on drums. The album is a fully–realized showcase for her master­ful fretwork, spirited singing, and impossibly catchy riffing, and finds her continuing her development as a complete creative artist in her own right – after years performing primarily as a supporting musician.

Prior to her career in medicine, Karen had been an active participant in the much-vaunted Minneapolis indie rock scene that gave the world the Replacements, Soul Asylum and Bob Mould’s Husker Du among many others. Eventually, she left the MidWest for Manhattan and joined renowned avant-garde composer Rhys Chatham’s Ensemble, one of the city’s seminal guitar orchestras, leaving to join the Band of Susans with other veterans of Chatham’s crew. After serving a stint as kitchen staff at the early years of East Village institution, the Great Jones Café (and creating its legendary brunch menu), she entered medical school and didn’t seriously pick up a guitar for decades.

The impetus for making music again came from two directions. The first was the un­timely passing of Karen’s friend and mentor Jeff Hill, an old friend in Minneapolis “he was encour­aging about playing and also picking up old interests beyond a workaholic medical career. His death was a huge blow.” Later that same year, Karen caught the music documentary It Might Get Loud at an East Village theater. “The old Jimmy Page and The Edge footage brought back all the early excitement about playing.” Karen says: “I [now] work in a field where very often I have to deliver bad news to people who thought they had more time to do all they’d planned. If you think you want to do something, you’d better do it now.”


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