As he’s gotten older, Norwegian singer-songwriter Thomas Dybdahl has focused more on working with people whose company he enjoys.
On the way to completing his latest album, What’s Left Is Forever, Dybdahl added a few more to his creative inner circle, starting with producer and bassist Larry Klein (whose studio credits include albums by Joni Mitchell, Shawn Colvin and Herbie Hancock).
“Our paths crossed after I had worked with photographer Jean Baptiste Mondino for the cover of [my 2006 album] Science,” Dybdahl recalls. “Mondino sent some songs to a friend who then forwarded to Larry, who loved them.”
Klein later expressed interest in signing Dybdahl as the first act to his Strange Cargo imprint.
“He flew to Oslo in Norway and came to a show to see if I was the real deal or not,” says Dybdahl, whose first solo album was released in 2002. “We really hit it off, both when talking about music and when just shooting the breeze.”
Dybdahl had a similar exchange and feeling when he was introduced to the musicians who recorded with him and Klein in Venice Beach, Calif.
As far as forming a quick bond with them, “just chatting helped quite a bit, finding the funny and cracking each other up,” Dybdahl says. “We basically met the morning of the first day in the studio, shook hands, had a coffee and got to work — nerve-wracking as hell.”
Among the musicians on What’s Left Is Forever (released this month via Strange Cargo/Manhattan Records) are guitarist Dean Parks, bassist David Pitch, keyboardist Jamie Muhoberac and drummer Jay Bellerose. Asked whether recording in Southern California, an area rich in singer-songwriter history, had any influence on the material, Dybdahl doesn’t rule it out.
“I would like to think so, and on some level, I am pretty sure it did — but not in a conscious way,” he says. “You are what you surround yourself with, I guess, so it must have had some influence.”
— By Chris M. Junior
Thomas Dybdahl itinerary (schedule subject to change):
* May 12: Brick + Mortar — San Francisco
* May 14: Hotel Café — Los Angeles
* May 15: KCRW-FM’s Morning Becomes Eclectic (acoustic performance)
* May 21 and 28: Hotel Café — Los Angeles