LIGHTS is a very enjoyable debut from a talented guitarist.

Naxos Prophone Records

Alf Carlsson – Electric guitar, acoustic guitar; Samuel Lofdahl – Double bass; Anton Dromberg – Piano; Hannes Sigfridsson – Drums

Alf Carlsson has been playing the guitar since he was ten. Metallica posters used to cover his bedroom walls so it’s probably safe to say his taste in music’s changed. His parents helped as well when they took him to his first Swedish folk music festival. They may have been tired of hearing heavy metal music in the house. Regardless, the music made an impression and Alf’s gone back to that same festival every year.

The debut album, LIGHTS, is an amalgam of jazz, folk, and rock. Carlsson’s joined by Samuel Lofdahl on bass, Anton Dromberg on piano, and Hannes Sigfridsson on drums.

Swedish guitarist Carlsson has become one of the most sought after musicians in his home country. He’s won many awards. He’s been touring as part of the Alf Carlsson-Jiri Kotaca Quartet since 2017. There are some very good videos of the group on YouTube.

Of the eight tunes on LIGHTS six were written by Carlsson. The quartet gives us their version of two Swedish folk songs. “Gråtlåten” ‘The Crying Tune’, and “Brudpolska från Rättvik” ‘Wedding song from Rättvik’. ‘The Crying Tune ’is uptempo; it was more than likely a dance tune.

‘The Wedding Song ’is relaxed, more contemplative. Both songs are beautiful. They were both probably played with fiddles originally. The combination of guitar and piano make them sound very contemporary.

Anton Dromberg’s piano sounds like he’s playing a classical piece with ‘Chinook ’and then Carlsson’s electric guitar comes in playing as bluesy as could be. I like the way these two complement one another. It can sound like they’re coming from different directions and then they mesh beautifully. All four members sound like they’ve been playing together for years.

Hannes Sigfridsson’s somber drums introduce ‘The Epiphany.’ The other members keep adding layers until it becomes rock operatic. Samuel Lofdahl doesn’t have many bass solos on LIGHTS but what he does on ‘The Epiphany ’couldn’t be prettier.

There’s a YouTube video for ‘Where’s The Party.’ We get another great bass solo from Lofdahl. Carlsson sounds like a cross between the two Pats… Metheny and Martino. That’s guitar bliss to my ears. Drums and piano comp gloriously throughout. Fun song.

LIGHTS is a very enjoyable debut from a talented guitarist. He reminds me of Pat Metheny and that’s not a bad thing at all. I’m looking forward to hearing what he comes up with next.