Track/Video: Icelandic composer/multi-instrumentalist Davidsson previews his emotional debut album with the restorative ‘On Thin Air’.

Photo: Stroud Rohde Pearce

Revered Icelandic musician Ólafur Arnalds’ new OPIA project (a part festival, part musical community, part record label kind of thing) is adding another artist to its roster to keep emerging Costa Rican pianist Sofi Paez company. They’ve just announced that Icelandic composer and musician Davidsson will release his debut solo album ‘Lifelines’ through their portal on August 8th.

Davidsson’s back story doesn’t neatly fit with any presumptions around the phrase ‘Icelandic musician’. His prime instruments are the harmonica and pedal steel, he studied music at Berklee and he’s now found a home in Nashville, Tennessee. A distinctive, multi-faceted and sought after player, he’s collaborated with blues-rock mega -band KALEO, rising alt-bluegrass starlet Sierra Ferrell plus jazz pop wave makers Laufey and Anna Gréta. So guessing where his own music might settle on ‘Lifelines’ isn’t easy.

The album’s preview track ‘On Thin Air’ signposts what to expect with its reflective, unhurried approach and tender emotional pull. Davidsson’s ringing pedal-steel swoops in with a gliding melody then takes it circling as assured piano chords and a tip-toeing bassline sustain the gentle pace. Structured like a classic instrumental cut, this song revolves around a yearning tune that’s destined to stay with you, but ‘On Thin Air’ is more than just hummable. There’s a dramatic depth here, created by the grand piano rolls, creaks of found sound and haunted wheezy organ which all hover around the tune. It’s music that takes you to some edge then pulls you back.

Supported as he is on the rest of the upcoming album by the esteemed bassist Skúli Sverrisson (whose CV includes work with Jon Hassell, Derek Bailey, Johan Johannson, Laurie Anderson and more) and soundtrack composer/pianist Davíð Þór Jónsson, ‘On Thin Air’ should inevitably guide you on towards ‘Lifelines’ full release.

Pre-order your copy of ‘Lifelines’ by Davidsson from your local record store or direct from OPIA HERE or pre-save HERE

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