Americaba UK

Old Lost John “Seers and Weathermen”


Old Lost John’s albums have regularly gained favour on this site. His latest offering is not about to change that, in fact, it is arguably his best yet. If the name is new to you, then you’ve been missing out. Swedish troubadour, Tomas Thurnberg, AKA Old Lost John, recorded ‘Seers and Weathermen’ during the latter months of last year, in his flat in Malmo and at his parents’ house in the Swedish countryside. He also produced, mixed and mastered it himself. Thurnberg has decided to release it only via download and streaming “to save a little CO2”. Whilst this might be very laudable, his judgement might be questioned from a commercial point of view. However, that debate is for another day.


Old Lost John’s sparse, acoustic sound is founded on guitar and voice, subtlety supported by a sprinkling of mandolin, harmonica, melodeon and whistles. This minimal instrumentation, coupled with his lived in, weary and at times strained voice, blend together to produce subtle flavours, much greater than the sum of their basic ingredients. Add in some stark, dark and occasionally grim, introspective songs and we are dining on something very special.


From the opening track, ‘Fine Like This’, each song engages the listener in subtly differing ways. ‘Sycamore Tree’ is eerily haunting whilst ‘Rainmaker’ has a more bluesy feel. The apocalyptic ‘Made of Mud’ is the longest, and strongest, song in the set at just four and a half minutes. Most songs are only three to four minutes long. This brevity gives them a well-focused leanness with no need for padding. Their economy leaves not a word, nor a note wasted.


In the world of Americana, there are those that are suspicious, or even dismissive, of artists from outside the American continent. In truth, there are plenty of examples that could be cited in support of that assessment. However, it is a myopic view. Old Lost John is one of the best examples of how such short-sightedness can restrict access to genuinely authentic and engaging artists. ‘Seers and Weathermen’ presents a very strong case for the view that Americana is as much a style and an attitude, as it is a geographical reference. The album is not an easy or a comfortable listen. It has a roughness, tension and edge that set it apart from the sanitised and homogeneous sound of many artists that are placed under the Americana banner. Those qualities will make ‘Seers and Weathermen’ instantly appeal to fans of Greg Brown, Malcolm Holcombe or Tom Ovans.


"Something of a personal pleasure, the music of Old Lost John is melancholic, soft and timeless with a downbeat ambience. After two album he now returns with “Caving In” a beautiful six-track EP which strips his sound down to the bare bones, sparse arrangements and few overdubs. To me, these qualities makes the songs stronger and even more poignant, to be heard sat at the kitchen table bottle half empty and glass in hand. Basically the work of Tomas Thunberg, each song is a small gem, his rich deep voice perfectly suited to the tunes, the delicate guitar adding sweetness the whole collection like a treasure box lost for many years then newly found. With quality so high, there are no favourites here, the EP itself is a favourite, but special mention must go to the ethereal voice of Agnes Wastfelt  which adds a ghostly presence to “One Man Band”. Another quality release from a man who goes quietly about his business."

Americana UK

"Another jewel from Sweden's beardy songwriter mines.


Swedish singer-songwriters and guitarists are like London buses: you wait months and then two come along all at once! Hot on the heels of Benjamin Folke Thomas’ excellent ‘Too Close To Here’, Tomas Thunberg alias Old Lost John returns with this gloriously earthy six-track EP.


Unlike his London-based countryman, this former horsekeeper and woodsman from Malmo eschews the band format, keeping arrangements to a minimum. Just a delicately-picked acoustic guitar, a breezy freight-train harmonica and, on the dark yet delightfully spooky ‘One Man Band (In A One Horse Town)’, ghostly operatic backing vocals from Agnes Westfalt, accompanied by some atmospheric insect noises. Finally, on the tender closing song ‘Cool About You’, a reticent accordion calls to mind the wintry folksy beauty of King Creosote.


A small but perfectly-formed collection of gentle Euro-Americana, this is well worth checking out. Let’s hope he returns with another full album before too long." (Rating: 8/10)



"Under the musical alias of Old Lost John, Malmo (Sweden)- based singer-songwriter (and former woodsman and horse-keeper) Tomas Thunberg has thus far released two acclaimed folk-noir albums that have (sadly) escaped my radar, but if they’re as good as this new EP then I’ll be backtracking for them pronto. Its six tracks are sparsely-arranged gems that keep each element on a tight grain (ok!): gravelly, world-weary vocal and rippling, gently busy guitar with occasional lonesome harmonica fills. The only slightly grating false note is the falsetto vocal echo that leaps out of the right-hand speaker during the last half of the opening track Once We Get To The Edge Of Town.


In spite of the overall dark undercurrent that permeates Tomas’s intriguing, vaguely philosophical self-penned songs, this proves a really attractive set, from the wistful growl of the waltzer Love Is Not For Me through to the traditional-sounding Run With The Flow and the wonderfully eerie cricket-infused One Man Band (In A One Horse Town), the latter complete with “operatic” vocal embellishments from Agnes Wästfelt. Though it’s impossible not to hear shades of Tom Waits (among other, more subliminal inspirations), Tomas proves himself to be a strongly individual talent; impressive even at first encounter, his music nevertheless grows increasingly satisfying with each successive playthrough."



"Given a deep and world-weary vocal delivery, Tomas Thunberg's songs are earthy and hypnotic, the lyrics hinting of sad tales and nostalgia. Working under the Old Lost John name, with a handful of guests, this is his second album after the excellent “Faceless” and treads the same rocky paths, the way soothed by the occasional hope of love or a calm place to sit.


With chiming banjo, violin and some lovely backing vocals, “Satan's Got you Down” opens proceedings with a touch of old-time religious zeal, you almost feel compelled to clap your hands, although this feeling is soon gone as “Elude Me” hovers like a dark and beautiful cloud, the line “What I do Best, I do alone” summing the song up perfectly. On the wonderful “Scarecrow”, a pulsing percussion takes the song down dark roads, the riff full of tension, matched by the lyrical threads that weave a strange tale.


With a hint of John Martyn about it, “Sparkle and Rain” has a lighter tone, whilst “Gallows Hill” is another melancholic tale of lost love and regret, beautifully sung, a lonely reed organ (possibly), adding layers of emotion to the tune. The same instrument comes to the fore on “Into the Bone”, the droning chords the perfect foil for the voice and words.


Finally, the wistful sigh of “From an Airborne” completes a truly haunting and beautiful collection; sadness never sounded so good."

American Roots


"Tomas Thunberg is Old Lost Johns alter ego and is based in Malmo, Sweden. What does that matter, you may ask? Doesn’t matter at all really! On the very first listen you realise that this music, sometimes referred to as Americana is not from America but more likely from a cold darkly eerie place. And so it is, and yet there are strong links to that ‘old weird America’ of legend where love driven murder was common and there was more actual losing of love than finding it! Maybe Tomas is responsible for inventing a new genre, ‘Scandinavian Americana’ perhaps? His breathy smoothly rasping vocals are not a million miles from some of the edgier ‘Americana’ musicians such as Will Oldham, yet whilst there is a cold, darkness to most of the songs there is something strangely comforting in his voice. Maybe it’s the strongest most stable sound on these sparsely instrumented songs of love, murder, lost love, sin and unrequited love! It’s the haunting instrumentation and huge icy spaces in the sound that evokes Scandinavia and yet most of the instrumentation such as acoustic guitar, mandolin, banjo, violin and even accordion are pretty much staples of ‘American folk music’. There are several songs made even eerier by haunting trombone samplings that seem to draw other songs into that echoing foggy coldness and give a feeling of a concept album where one doesn’t exist!

Although the overall sound of the album is one of a slow moody mellowness the subject matter is anything but, with the tales that are built around murder and the generally less positive aspects of love all contributing to this excellent album’s lonely haunted feel. The opening track Satan’s got you down sets the scene for what is to follow with it’s banjo, fiddle and Val Aviv’s excellent harmony vocals giving this quite dark song an eerie old time feel in a story  that warns a girl against sinning. Tomas and Val’s eerie harmonies are beautifully supported by hauntingly atmospheric trombone tones on Smooth lover, a story about the search for true love. Gallow’s Hill is a gorgeously atmospheric murder ballad that really should become a standard of the genre with it’s beautifully mournful accordion underpinning the evocative sound whilst From an airborne is another atmospheric murder ballad that tells of the flight after the crime but with thunder storm added to successfully enhance the dark atmosphere!

Were Tomas from the Appalachians we would probably be talking about him as throwback to the early folk singers from the ‘hillbilly’ days, although it’s most unlikely that anyone from that area or era  would be able to come up with anything as atmospherically blended as this ‘Scandinavian Americana!’ A tremendous and genuinely unusual album." (Rating: 4/5)          

Americana UK

"Once again Sweden connects with the new world in old ways.

Tomas Thurnberg, the prime mover behind Old Lost John gained rave reviews for his 2009 release “Faceless”, hailed as a “folk noire” masterpiece. Two years on he presents us with this follow up which is as fine a set of wintry bare boned tales as we’ve heard in a long time.

With his gravelled voice, guitar and mandolin, Thurnberg is supported by a skeletal crew playing banjo, violin, ronroco (a Peruvian lute) and occasional trombone. There are backing vocals on three of the songs but the overall sound is sparse and pared with atmospheric sound effects at times including thunder and wooden creaking. There are elements of dark Appalachian ballads here but at times one is reminded of English folk of the sixties from the likes of Bert Jansch while the wheezy Into The Bone could have come from the pen of Tom Waits.

Opening song Satan’s Got You Down is misleading. With its banjo and fiddle playing it’s the most American sounding song here and despite the lyrical warnings about the temptations of the devil it trots along at a fair pace. After this the record delves into darker spaces at a crawl. There are chilling pieces such as Smooth Lover with its running away theme and Scarecrow where the singer appears to crave peace and solitude. Bruised love appears time and again on the album be it the Jansch like Sparkle and rain, the folky death ballad of Gallow’s Hill or the rippling Make It Last. Overall the album has an air of mystery compounded by the opaque lyrics and atmospheric music. It deserves full attention and grows and envelops one like mildew in a dark and abandoned house." (Reviewers rating: 9/10)

Americana UK

FACELESS (album)


Swedish folk noir that manages to sound fresh and new

Swedish, moody, and wrapped up in that American folk-noir vibe seemingly de rigueur in his homeland, Tomas Thunberg AKA Old Lost John however has an altogether wider sphere of influence on which he draws for his work. Alongside the obvious nods to the roots tradition there are elements of the carnival-esque roguishness of Waits mixed with winsome orchestrated, down-played grandness of, say, a stripped down Willard Grant Conspiracy. It all adds up to an excellent album of strong, absorbing songwriting and simplistic yet novel musical accompaniment.

Introspective tales of love lost, gone but not forgotten, is the order of the day here all supported tellingly by intermittent bursts of accompaniment from lone horns, waifish harmonies, or dark, distant mandolins. It makes for a wonderful un-hurried listen that gets even more appealing with repeated plays. Fellow ertwhistle Swede Thomas Denver Jonsson is on hand to keep stoking that lo-fi fire which, in these parts, is always most welcome. A noticeably different take on the traditional singer-songwriter approach so common place these days, Faceless is an altogether more intriguing proposition and a record well worth searching out.

Reviewers rating: 8/10

Malmo, Sweden is where we find our fearless troubadour Old Lost John, the moniker under which Tomas Thunberg resides. His new full length release titled Faceless is rife with the creepiness found in old photographs and campfire, Canterbury style folk tales. With a wispy, Bonnie “Prince” Billy rasp one must lay back and prepare for these 10 tracks.

This new breath of archaic wonderment that is Faceless begins with “Broken”.  Finger picking abounds next to trombone and female vocal accompaniment. “Broken” is part dark mid-night woods saga as well as something you’re comfortable playing in the midst of a friendly gathering. Track two, “Fairies And Fools”, with it’s underlying attempt to bring upon a dance, snaps it’s way through your ears and, dare I say, is lightly brushed with an Irving style Sleepy Hollow promenade. I feel the guests of this party are all spying at each other out of the corners of their eyes, plotting each others demise. Moving on through harsh territories, we’re met with the shining sun of the upbeat “Come Saturday”. This is true love is blind as Thumberg states. A meeting of two people and one must wait for those precious words of reassurance that yes, I felt it too. It’s a struggle maybe we have all been through in wanting something so badly as the love of another. By the end of this three minute jaunt, the listener is not given an answer as to what Saturday had in store for our poor protagonist, but Saturday could possibly be a larger representation of want, need, loss and hope.

An almost haunting cattle call brings us in to track four titled “In From the Cold”. Listening, wide-eyed at the oddity of the blaring horn beneath this lovely, almost silk in its smoothness, question filled number. A paradox perhaps between the boldness of the subject, pairing with the shuttering sound of a shouting horn, one would be quite obtuse as to not notice it’s obviousness. “Tremble” opens with a brief death march accordion. Breathing out in a sad sigh as Thumberg gasps through the words, “I tremble every time I hear your name”. It is a feeling of being overcome with sheer sadness as rustic creaks coast and intertwine their way through this desolate song. Start your head nodding and your foot to tapping as you roll on into track six, “She Won’t Listen”. We find another contradictory tale here, one being the subject matter coupled with the “swinging” musical styling of OLJ. The first words immediately bring you to the depths, “desire is like a loaded gun”. She’s gone so far from falling out of love that she doesn’t even like him anymore. I shake my head and stretch out my welcoming arms to you oh tragic soul, for straying into a world that will only bring you unending sorrow.

“Railway Car” is song I’ve heard countless times on Old Lost John’s myspace page and have patiently awaited it’s release. A chugger, this cool, country laced track moves along just like the title suggests. A send off, “Railway Car” is filled with one man questioning his own integrity. Are things better left unsaid? Would being misunderstood suit the situation any better? Regardless, this is the point where asking yourself these questions become moot, he is saying goodbye, and that is what is deemed to be of utmost importance. “Once I rode an Elephant in to a China shop, I just couldn’t help myself, I just couldn’t stop”. We’re privy to these explosive lines within track eight, “Nothing Good”. OLJ spends the next four minutes taking ownership for all that he is, of course one wonders if the autobiographical connotations are if fact based on truth. The revelation we find in “Nothing Good” is nothing short of the ability for a human being to step back and look outside the situation and recognize their faults.

“And She Looked Down” is shrouded in mystery and one listens with skepticism as you imagine three steady knocks upon the door. Again, an aura of wonder surrounds this track. What was the note that made her shiver?  Who was the man at her door with a blackbird on his shoulder, two foxes at his feet?. Like another of OLJ’s tales we’re left to wonder how it ends and in this case are left with only howling rain. The final track on Faceless leaves us as we began, to wonder. In “Dagger Dagger” the only thing we know is the fall of the dagger. A murderous tone illuminates the track as well as a surprising mid-song tonal switch that reminds me of the shock I felt in hearing the John Phillips song “Mississippi”.  The track ends with a final shuffle and bang, like the closing of a casket. What a wonderful image to encapsulate the overall feeling of this record.

I’m left in utter awe at the ten tracks on Faceless. Old Lost John has really embraced the overall rustic, cabin-esque, backwoods feel that any hauntingly beautiful folk record should be happen to posses. With a low, grainy vocal styling, OLJ soothes the listener and at the same time haunts and bewilders. At no time during Faceless was I not enthralled and completely entranced with every note, as well as every tale. Faceless is ten tracks that amaze, and Sweden has a gift, that we all need to notice and embrace.


Having released a handful of CD-R’s, Tomas Thunberg now graces our ears with his first official CD album, the beautiful and delicate “Faceless”, a collection of songs that are filled with a sadness and acceptance, not depressing but awash with wistfulness and wisdom. Opening track “Broken” finds the spirits of Townes Van Zandt and Leonard Cohen, walking across a desolate coastline, a mournful trombone adding gravity to the picked guitar phrases. On “Fairies and Fools”, a bowed saw and delicate backing vocals from Frida Astrand, create the perfect sonic landscape for the inherent sadness, some fine guitar fills completing the songs beauty.

More upbeat, “Come Saturday” has a sparkling guitar motif, simple and effective, the trombone again adding atmosphere, the lyrics not as cheerful as the bright tune would suggest. As with the rest of the tunes, the instrumentation on this song is pitched perfectly, allowing the listener to get lost within the small sketches and sad tales. After the graceful “In from the Cold”, complete with mandolin fills, things are slowed down for the droning “Tremble”, a pump organ and the sound of wine glasses used to devastating effect, an atmospheric delight that sounds better every time.

Consistent in its sound yet varied enough to hold the attention, this album maintains the quality throughout, with “Railway Car” reminding me of Iron and Wine with its hypnotic rhythm, whilst the bleakness of “Nothing Good” is an icy breath of surrender, lost love and memories, the line containing the word “Elephant” bringing a surreal smile to your lips!

To close the album, the wyrdness of “Dagger Dagger” will make you listen, as memorable a song as I have heard this year, the eerie atmosphere drawing a veil of mist around your ears, sounding like Kevin Ayers at his most atmospheric.

Low-key and personal, this is fast becoming one of this year’s favourites, try it and see for yourself.

La "credibilità" di un folk-writer al giorno d'oggi si misura in centimetri di barba, e in effetti nell'ideale collettivo questo "ornamento" che incornicia il volto sembra essere diventato il simbolo per eccellenza del songwriter moderno. Il cantautore svedese Tomas Thunberg, in arte Old Lost John, non fa eccezione, come dimostra piuttosto emblematicamente la cover "barbuta" del suo primo vero release, "Faceless", un lavoro che ben si colloca nel solco della tradizione cantautorale d'oltreoceano.

Preceduto da una serie di cd-r, tutti sold-out, "Faceless" è un album caratterizzato da una scrittura nitida e ben definita, con melodie semplici ma efficaci e una orchestrazione d'insieme volta a intensificare il mood crepuscolare che aleggia sui brani. A composizioni leggere e aggraziate, seppure piuttosto corpose, Thunberg abbina cupe atmosfere di desolazione e dolorosi scenari di solitudine, confezionando ballate dense di espressività. Tutto concorre a rafforzare il pathos a tinte scure dei brani: dai solenni lamenti di trombone in "Broken" al tagliente gelo della bowed saw in "Fairies And Fools", dal funereo incedere dell'organo a pompa in "Tremble" agli inquietanti rumorismi che popolano "Dagger Dagger".

Il folk noir di "Faceless" non si abbandona mai, tuttavia, allo sconforto disperato e totale, e così fremiti appassionati di mandolino e morbide carezze d'armonica accompagnano i ricami chitarristici del songwriter svedese, donando ai brani una fioca dolcezza ("Come Saturday", "She Won't Listen", "And She Looked Down"). Un altro elemento che caratterizza la musica di Thunberg è l'evocatività paesaggistica dei suoni: la cupa armonica nell'incipit di "In From The Cold" risuona come la sirena di una grande nave che solca i mari del Nord, gli svariati effetti sonori disseminati in "Railway Train" intensificano la sensazione di trovarsi in una stazione sperduta e polverosa del Far West, mentre le atmosfere da film horror che si respirano in "Dagger Dagger" raggiungono un climax nello spaventoso rumore "ligneo" sul finale, che sembra quasi provenire dal talamo di Nosferatu.

La voce maestosa e vagamente roca di Thunberg si posa con grazia sulla trama strumentale e narra storie di passioni e di vendetta, di viaggiatori dal passato misterioso e di amori burrascosi, mantenendosi sempre perfettamente allineata all'andamento umorale dei brani. Creature fatate accompagnano talora Thunberg nei suoi racconti, donando a questi ultimi un delicato candore, e i backing vocals di Frida Åstrand, in particolare, regalano a "Fairies And Fools" un sapore quasi fiabesco.

A dirla tutta, "Faceless" è un album che, sotto la coltre di cenere del suo folk a tinte scure, cela anche alcuni insospettabili "elementi di disturbo". Infatti, il cantautore svedese si diverte a lasciare sui suoi passi piccoli indizi "fuori contesto", come a volersi un po' burlare della sua stessa cupa attitudine alla scrittura o di un approccio eccessivamente serio all'ascolto dei suoi brani. Così, nel bel mezzo delle tristi riflessioni di "Nothing Good", sul livido incedere dell'organo a pompa, Thunberg esordisce con un "Once I rode an elephant in a Chinese shop", che affiancato alla mestizia del momento non può non suscitare, in un ascoltatore attento, una certa ilarità. E lo si potrebbe quasi scorgere che se la ride sotto i baffi immaginando l'inquietudine sul volto degli ascoltatori al sopraggiungere dello scricchiolio sinistro che conclude l'album, mentre a tal proposito nel booklet, parlando dell'ultimo brano, egli stesso svela: "E l'ultimissima cosa che sentite non è il rumore di una bara, ma sono io che chiudo il coperchio dell'organo a pompa". E, chi lo sa, forse sotto la mano che copre il suo volto sulla front-cover di "Faceless", Thunberg sta ancora segretamente sorridendo di noi.


Wat moet je denken als je een cd in handen krijgt van Old Lost John met een titel als “Faceless”. Op de voorkant van de hoes bedekt hij zijn gezicht. Het is allemaal niet zo mysterieus als je denkt. Verderop lezen we op het hoesje dat we niet met één of andere bebaarde oudere John te maken hebben maar met Tomas Thunberg, die inmiddels een aantal ep’s en cdr’s heeft uitgebracht. “Faceless” is thunberg’s officiële folky debuut cd die kenmerkt door de eenvoudige, doch karaktervolle toonzetting van het geheel. Met een mysterieuze, stripped sfeer die de gehele cd uitademt kom je in de buurt van Willard Grant Conspiracy en Leonard Cohen. Ontdaan van alle opsmuk laat tomas op “Faceless” een uitermate broeierig en bloedstollend geheel horen. Zoals Tomas al zingt op Railway Carmake myself misunderstood“, of in Nothing Good (don’t get any closer), door zijn gevoel van spanningsopbouw creëert hij zijn eigen mystieke wereld, gecombineerd met de pomporgel, mandoline en akoestische gitaar. Tien nummers lang met incidentele bijdragen van o.a. Frida Eklund en Thomas Denver Jonsson houdt Tomas Thunberg met zijn Dark Folk op “Faceless” de luisteraar in zijn greep. Een cd zonder enig teken van verveling, waarvan ik geen moment naar het einde snakte. Éen opmerking wil ik wel plaatsen: deze verhalenverteller uit Zweden vertolkt zijn songs op een eigen welbespraakte manier, die op toekomstige releases minder spannend zou kunnen worden als Tomas zijn liedjes op dezelfde manier dan benaderd als op “Faceless”.

Je kan je afvragen of het gebrek aan zonlicht in de Scandinavische landen een hormonale invloed heeft, maar het landschap aldaar lijkt toch een zekere mistroostigheid uit te stralen. Toch als je de tien songs van de Zweed Old Lost John beluistert, in het echte leven Tomas Thunberg. Als bevlogen artiest roept deze songsmid in zijn folk noir een melancholie op die je onmogelijk onberoerd kan laten. Instrumenten als zingende zaag, trombone en mandola en de vrouwelijke backing zang benadrukken de droefgeestigheid van de lyrische songteksten die Old Lost John allemaal zelf schreef. Hij producete ook dit album en bracht het uit op zijn eigen ‘Tight Grain’ label.
Daarnaast is hij multi-instrumentalist, een fijngevoelig gitarist die met klanken en gevoelssferen speelt. Met zijn geëmotioneerde wijze van zingen beroert Old Lost John elke gevoelssnaar, alsof je mist en neerslag als tranen een voor een van de boomschors ziet glijden. Old Lost John doet je denken aan een boswachter die zich in de natuur schuil houdt om daar zijn eigen zielenleed te laten helen. Als je het bloedmooie ‘She Won’t Listen’ hoort dan tovert zijn hese stem en mandoline dergelijk beeld voor je geestesoog. Maar ook ‘Come Saturday’ en ‘In From The Cold’ grijpen je aan als de ondefinieerbare schittering van het noorderlicht. Bij ‘Nothing Good’ zou je dan weer de songsmid uit Malmo willen behoeden voor een teveel aan schrijnende emoties.
Op ‘And She Looked Down’ krijgt hij troost van Olof Jennfors’ mandoline en zingt Thomas Denver Jonsson mee, een bevriend songwriter. De ijle vrouwelijke backing hier en daar, o.m. van Frida Ekerlund en Frida Astrand, en John’s pomporgel en melodeon evoceren dezelfde sfeer als deze bij ‘The Low Anthem’. Je waant je verdwaald in een bevreemdend landschap waar existentiële pijn schuil gaat in de ogen van vogels en dieren. Old Lost John zelf neemt de gedaante aan van een pelgrim die van het eigen leed alleen de schoonheid meeneemt. Hij verpakt die in een quasi oud vertelselboek met onsterfelijke songs die hij aanbiedt aan elke luisteraar die er open voor staat, 35 minuten lang.

Americana Music France

Denier album de Old Lost John (Tomas Thunberg). Un peu comme d’habitude. C’est a dire, ce que je connais de lui. Americana mélangé avec Tom Waits. Des couleurs sombres, mais avec un beauté incroyable. Old Lost John est un de mes héros. Son nouvelle album Faceless est un collection de chansons rempli de tristesse et acceptation. Pas forcement dépriment, mais plus tôt le point de vue d’un sage, calme et réaliste.

Les chansons retrouvent les esprits de Townes van Zandt, tom Waits et Leonard Cohen. Des mélodies guitares simple et efficace. En ajoutent des instrument comme la trombone et une scie les chansons trouvent plus de couleur et profondeur.

Old Lost John mérite bien ce premier album officiel et l’album mérite d’etre écouter. Mais vraiment écouter.

Alt Country Folk

Wat moet je denken als je een cd in handen krijgt van Old Lost John met een titel als "Faceless". Op de voorkant van de hoes bedekt hij zijn gezicht. Het is allemaal niet zo mysterieus als je denkt. Verderop lezen we in het hoesje dat we niet met één of andere bebaarde oudere John te maken hebben maar met Tomas Thunberg, die inmiddels een aantal ep's en cdr's heeft uitgebracht.

"Faceless" is Thunberg's officiële folky debuut cd die kenmerkt door de eenvoudige, doch karaktervolle toonzetting van het geheel. Met een mysterieuze, stripped sfeer die de gehele cd uitademt kom je in de buurt van Willard Grant Conspiracy en Leonard Cohen. Ontdaan van alle opsmuk laat tomas op "Faceless" een uitermate broeierig en bloedstollend geheel horen. Zoals Tomas al zingt op Railway Car "make myself misunderstood", of in Nothing Good (don't get any closer), door zijn gevoel van spanningsopbouw creërt hij zijn eigen mystieke wereld, gecombineerd met de pomporgel, mandoline en akoestische gitaar. Tien nummers lang en incidentele bijdragen van o.a. Frida Eklund en Thomas Denver Jonsson houdt Tomas Thunberg met zijn Dark Folk op "Faceless" de luisteraar in zijn greep. Een cd zonder enig teken van verveling, waarvan ik geen moment naar het einde snakte. Éen opmerking wil ik wel plaatsen: deze verhalenverteller uit Zweden vertolkt zijn songs op een eigen welbespaakte manier, die misschien wel te herkenbaar zou worden op toekomstige releases.

Timbre Obscura

"(...) dark brooding music subtly arranged and beautifully performed. (...) We think Old Lost John is an exceptional, yet so far relatively undiscovered artist that brings great atmosphere and intensity to his music."

You Crazy Dreamers

"Thunberg has this unique ubiquity gift allowing you to fly over the mediterranean and reaching the higher plains of Montana at the same time. This guy is the meeting of two genious artists, Leonard Cohen and Knut Hamsun... Sure, many of you will ban me forever to join together such talents opposed by history. But I hope listening to the following song (She Won't Listen), Thomas recently published on his website will change your mind…"

Swedes Please

"Old Lost John has put up a beautiful new song (She Won't Listen). This is a song that J Tillman or Richard Buckner would have been thrilled to have written/performed."