Europeans do weird things with American folk music. Sometimes they do horrible things, like the 1994 techno rendition of traditional country song “Cotton-Eyed Joe” by a Swedish act who called themselves “Rednex” and who dressed up like cartoonish hillbillies in a parody only slightly less offensive than their music. In the video above, we have three continents colliding for another Scandinavian appropriation of Appalachian tropes, by way of a cover of “Thunderstruck” by Aussies AC/DC. The Finnish bluegrass band Steve ‘N’ Seagulls has achieved viral notoriety with their most recent release, which features banjo, mandolin, upright bass, accordion, a drummer who plays the spoons, and an anvil. Oh, and of course a wardrobe of overalls and suspenders without shirts. And the accordion player arrives on the scene on a riding mower.
Offensive? I don’t know—where Rednex was clearly minstrelsy, this has the feel of a fond tribute to a culture whose musical traditions Steve ‘N’ Seagulls clearly adores, though their wearing of Native headdress (below) would not sit well with certain music festival organizers.
As for their take on AC/DC; I almost prefer it to the original, though one Metafilter user pointed out that being able to hear the lyrics with such clarity does confirm one’s suspicion that they’re completely inane. And lest you think Steve ‘N’ Seagulls is some one-cover-hit wonder, check out their covers of Iron Maiden’s “The Trooper” above and Dio’s “Holy Diver” below.