Americana UK ~ Dave Clarke
Thomas Nordlund captures a guitar sound for the future
This is Nordlund's debut release. He is a young Minneapolis guitarist, here playing and extolling the virtues of the electric baritone guitar. Purely an instrumental record (a rarity these days), the eight tracks describe a road trip through Mexico where Thomas traveled with the bassist on the album, Andrew Foreman, moving from Tijuana to Bahia de Los Angeles, meeting, in Thomas’ own words, “some of the most kind and gracious people” and also being mesmerised by the land. Again, in Thomas’ own words, they traveled “through mountains, cities and small towns, vast plains, and forests full of cacti and giant boulders.” All the songs are written by Thomas and he is accompanied by Ben Abrahamson - 12-String Steel Baritone Guitar, 6-String Steel/Nylon Guitars, Jake Baldwin- Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Kevin Gastonguay - Wurlitzer, Rhodes, Piano, Maryam Yusefzadeh – background Vocals, Andrew Foreman - Acoustic/Electric Bass and Lars-Erik Larson – Drums. What is offered here is musicianship of the highest order.
The baritone guitar nowadays is sadly under appreciated. But, Thomas' playing does not reiterate Spaghetti Westerns or even the theme to “Twin Peaks.” Rather, it is a young musician playing this type of guitar in a different and interesting way. Each track is a carefully considered musical exploration, that demands careful consideration and improves considerably after subsequent listening. After a while, you realise you don't need the lyrics, but relish instead the opportunity to hear and understand the music in its own right as it conveys mood, synthesis and relativity. There is not one poor track on the album which develops as a symphonic piece. Tracks to listen to again and again could be “Whispering Son” with Thomas’ skill in playing, signifying meaning and inter relating with Jake Baldwin’s trumpet. Watch the YouTube video. And listen to "Rilke in the Rain” which evokes “the chill of uncertain sunlight.” It all shows how thoughtful the music is, and what a prospect Thomas Nordlund is as well.