ESC 2014: An In-Depth Review of The Netherlands


It has become customary for the editorial board to engage professional individuals from the music industry to assess the songs competing in the Eurovision Song Contest as presented to the European Broadcasting Union during the Heads of Delegation Meeting. Martin Isherwood, Deo Grech, Stano Simor and Matt Mercieca from the United Kingdom, Malta and the Czech Republic have been entrusted with the first semi-final, comprising of sixteen songs and set to take place on the 6th May 2014 at the B&W Hallerne in Copenhagen, Denmark. Making use of the running order and thus moving onto number #14, we catch up with The Netherlands (AVROTROS) who will be represented by The Common Linnets and the song Calm After the Storm co-written by Ilse DeLange, JB Meijers, Rob Crosby, Matthew Crosby and Jake Etheridge.

The Common Linnets is a Dutch dream team consisting of Ilse DeLange and Waylon. These two singer-songwriter stars have together found a new and exciting challenge in expressing their love for country music. Ilse and Waylon have known each other since they were teenagers, when they both played the country music circuit in Holland. Right from the beginning they shared a love for country and related genres like bluegrass, folk and Americana. But most of all they shared a passion for true, stripped-down songs that convey pure emotion. That passion led to the formation of The Common Linnets.

The “common linnet” is a songbird that breeds on the heaths in the eastern part of The Netherlands. For Ilse and Waylon, who both hail from that part of the country, this unassuming little bird with its wonderful song is the perfect symbol of what they’re aiming for with their songs. When Ilse DeLange came up with the idea for ‘The Common Linnets’ as a side project, involving different artists each time, Waylon topped the list of musicians she wanted to work with. Both of them immediately agreed upon a rootsy approach. Their mission-statement was clear: writing real country music, stripped of all unnecessary trappings, and inspired by such greats as Emmylou Harris and Johnny Cash, but also West coast stars like Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, and James Taylor.

Writing brought Ilse and Waylon to the Belgian Ardennes and to Nashville, the epicenter of country music, where both Ilse and Waylon feel very much at home. American songwriters Rob Crosby, Matthew Crosby and Jake Etheridge soon came on board, after which Dutch singer-songwriter Daniel Lohues and Dutch producer JB Meijers rounded out the team. Ilse produced the album with JB Meijers. Towards the end of last year the big story broke. During a press conference The Common Linnets announced they would represent The Netherlands for the Eurovision Song Contest in Copenhagen. 

The Netherlands, a nation which has not won the Eurovision Song Contest since 1975, when Teach-In took the victory with the popular Ding-A-Dong. Since the introduction of the semi-final system, the country has not proven to be too successful either, considering that they have only managed to qualify on two occasions, the first time being back in 2004 with the group Re-Union and their entry Without You and the second time being just last year when Dutch superstar Anouk took to the stage with the atmospheric ballad Birds. The results have been quite surprising considering that the Dutch have submit some really strong songs along the year, including from Glennis Grace, Edsilia Rombley and 3Js.

Professional Critics Voice their Opinion

Rating: 77%

Martin Isherwood: Strong hooks and melodies Lovely production. Reminds me of Robert Plant & Alison Krauss Great song.  Not sure country is really the Eurovision thing. 

Deo Grech: So the Dutch national broadcaster knew that last year’s entry singer, Anouk, had a fierce rival….and her name is Ilse deLange.  They also aim to achieve a better result than the one achieved last year. So, they asked Ilse to take part this year on their behalf.   ”Fra i due litiganti il terzo gode”(italian saying).  Clever plan indeed!  Well, here she is joined by her long-time friend to form The Common Linnets.   Country and folk seem to be this year’s theme…and I can easily guess why.   These songs were written in the same period when the European music charts were invaded by Avicii’s ‘Hey brother’, Pitbull’s ‘Timber’ and Gary Barlow’s ”Let me go” amongst others.

Stano Simor: This kind of song has a great tradition in the Dutch province of Friesland where it has managed to gain several hits. Acoustic feeling is excellent. Singing and music are perfectly in tune. The song is rather pleasant to listen in the club, such as attacking ESC stage.

Matt Mercieca: I really seem to be loving music from the Netherlands lately ( still love “Birds” from last year) , I really like this song, its super cool , and the harmonies are beautiful it’s a little country and a little Lady Antebellum! With most of the rubbish songs in this years semi final this truly stands out as a beautiful well produced song.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here