CountrySide – How Many Times and Need a Change

by | Feb 3, 2021 | Song of the Day

Laugh at the world’s foolishness, you will regret it; weep over it, you will regret that too; laugh at the world’s foolishness or weep over it, you will regret both. — Søren Kierkegaard, Either/Or

Jerry: If every instinct you have is wrong, then the opposite would have to be right.  George: Yes, I will do the opposite. I used to sit here and do nothing, and regret it for the rest of the day, so now I will do the opposite, and I will do something! — Seinfeld, The Opposite

A popular theory in the US maintains that the COVID vaccine contains a Microsoft-designed mind control chip. It turns out that, based on the chip’s schematic diagram, we are actually being injected with distortion pedals. I assume that the distortion pedal is in the vaccine’s second dose, and that the first injection contains a compressor.

I hope that the rumors are true and that I really will receive a mind control chip. Thinking for myself has rarely worked out for me. I sometimes feel that, like George Costanza, I should make a decision and then do the opposite. And if the mind control chip is embedded with instructions on how to make a bulleted list in MS Word, then all the better. Note to my wife and daughter: If you see the blue screen of death, try re-booting me in Safe Mode.

CountrySide’s ‘How Many Times’ and ‘Need a Change’ explore the decisions, including those unmade, that are captured in the box of slides marked Carnival. Sometimes the images end at the beginning, our quest for constant change spurring us to repeatedly hurl our soul from a bobbing carousel pony and into the nearest empty saddle on the same revolving roundabout. Sometimes the box contains a single shot of a hopeful young man grasping a ride ticket, as we stood in the sawdust waiting for the perfect plastic pony to come careening ‘round the circle only to hear the calliope wheeze into silence.

‘How Many Times’ opens with a beautiful harmonica. Imagine a track from Harvest Moon, Neil Young’s stately 4/4 replaced by a melancholy 6/8, the accompaniment carried by a wonderfully wandering piano.

‘Need a Change’ is a great country sing-along, the sound of old friends at the pub sharing a final round before leaving for home and making room for the 2AM closing time crazies who are still looking for whoever stares back from the mirror behind the bar.

Based in Finland, CountrySide comprises Helge Hölttä (lead vocals, acoustic guitar, songwriting), Pekka Jaakola (acoustic guitar, harmonica, vocals), Hande Lehto (electric guitar), Tapsa Latvateikari (bass, vocals), Mika Välimäki (drums, percussion), and Matias Källi (piano). Today’s tracks appear on their new album, Välissä Kahden Virran (or Between Two Rivers). The band has been around since the early 90’s when a group of musicians were drawn together by a common love of Neil Young. Välissä Kahden Virran is (I think) their debut album.

CountrySide’s music is available on Bandcamp, Spotify, and YouTube. Be sure to visit CountrySide’s website to learn more about the band, and follow Heikki (Helge) Hölttä on Instagram and Twitter.

Since 2013, Reverb Raccoon has featured the best music from unknown and independent musicians. His interests include eating leftovers from the neighbor’s garbage can and watching The Royal Tenenbaums.  Email:

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