Norwegian singer and songwriter Thomas Dybdahl has a voice so sweet it almost hurts. On his latest release, Songs, his expressive, intimate vocal is surrounded by soft, almost fragile-sounding arrangements of acoustic guitar, piano and an assortment of odd percussive elements. It’s as if his studio is full of the same musical toys that Tom Waits uses, but Dybdahl instead creates music that is as delicate as it is inventive.
“Cecilia” (not the Simon & Garfunkle song, though I’m guessing he knows it) is one of the more uptempo tunes on the record and it’s quite beautiful, though Dybdahl’s intense lyrics and breathy vocal could never be called “upbeat.” Other highlights include the quiet and dark “One Day You’ll Dance for Me New York City” and the soulful ballad “Rain on Me.” In support of the new album, Dybdahl begins his first U.S. tour this month, and something tells me he’ll be quite memorable live.
Producers: Thomas Dybdahl, Øyvind Jakobsen and Morten J. Olsen. Engineers: Dybdahl, Jakobsen, Helik Hadar, Larry Klein, Jørgen Traeen. Mastering: Bernie Grundman and Scott Hull/Bernie Grundman Mastering (Hollywood).