With a musical palette stretching from the jazzy bossa-nova of “Again” and the velvet bluesy “Don’t Ever”, over 80′s westcoast flavoured “Katie” to bombastic progressive rock-inspired “Falling is Never”, and a lot of stuff in between, this album should have at least something to offer, almost regardless of your musical preferences.
As has become almost tradition, I had great help making this album from Janne Hedlund, who played all of the drums on the album, and also offered encouragement and feedback. With the total writing, recording and production time confined to the 28 days of February, it’s essential to receive the occasional outside perspective on the progress of the songs. The participation of keyboard genius Robert Wirensjö has also become a tradition that I hope will last for a long time. Robert came around on a Saturday afternoon and set up his gear in the Bastudio, and a mere five hours later we had all of the keyboard parts for the album cut. That’s pretty damn amazing! I’d like to think that over the years of playing together, we have developed a pretty good sense for each other’s stuff. Robert knows my songwriting like few others and has developed an intuitive sense for what kind of playing and what sounds will be most effective on each song.
For the first time on a Strummindude album, I had the privilege to work with one of my daughters, Amanda. One of the tracks, a funky tune called “Take Me Dancing”, was shouting out for some good lead female lead vocals, and I asked her if she’d like to have a go at it. She agreed to try, and delivered a kickass lead part, easily the best vocal performance on the album. She’s got a tremendous voice, and I’m proud to be able to feature it in a Strummindude song.
In the last weekend of the challenge, I was needing something extra for a couple of songs, and I had the great fortune to receive a phonecall from Hasse “Hank” Johnzon, offering up his amazing talents. I sent him a couple of songs to play around with, and he delivered in a way that exceeded my very high hopes. There are some soaring pedal steel parts from his able hands that really lend a shine to the songs, taking them to a new level. And also a last second virtuoso jazz sologuitar that is an awsome addition to “Again”.
During the making of this album, I was fortunate and delighted to make a new friend. Will Gough also took part in the RPM Challenge 2011. He made his own album and another album with his son, and still found the time and the energy to help me with the lyrics to Kaleidoscope. No less than five of the songs on the album bears lyrics credits to his name.
It started with him sending me some verses of his for me to possibly use, and one of them became the song “Again”. After this, our cooperation became more structured, and Will was working very hard with the task of putting words to some of my already completed melodies. And he did a great job making sense of my sometimes whimsical directions, freeing up my own time to deal with the music production. His contributions has lifted the album to a higher lyrical level than any of the previous albums, and hopefully our collaborations will continue, with more songs to come.