By Krystal Lynn Mutschler
Western Sun associate editor
Walking down the sidewalk, the sound of a distorted harp and a voice with such soul that it would make B.B. King proud, echoes off of the buildings. Entering 4th Street Vine, a bar in Long Beach, listeners learn this voice belongs to none other than Thor Jensen, a New York native, who is starting to captivate locals for very good reasons.
Jensen appears completely calm, eyes closed, body moving to the rhythm, despite the fact that he is a one man band, performing under the name ‘Thor.’ Using an old cigar box for a snare, a suitcase for a bass drum, and a looping station, Jensen is able to fill the intimate room with such power and preciseness that one would think the rest of his band is hiding somewhere.
Jensen uses a “slap” style, usually done with a bass, as he swiftly bounces back to fast strumming and plucking. “Although he plays blues, there are some other elements involved. He just plays what he likes, and it comes out as sounding original,” says Vaughan Risher, who quickly became a fan.
An honest genre of music, blues lets out those feelings of being down and out of luck. Being broke led Jensen to take his solo music out to the streets, and the crowd followed.
“We were drawn in by this music, it’s fantastic,” says Patrick West, the City Manager of Long Beach. After initially heading for a coffee shop, West and his wife Madelyn made a change of plans, claiming, “His sound drew us in here.”