February 21, 2011
JON SEYMOUR: HÅVARD PEDERSEN – NEVER FELT SO GOOD
Håvard Pedersen is a guitarist/singer and songwriter from Norway. He plies his trade in rock bands Cinematic World and The Norwegian Beatles, and this solo album was released in November 2010. Håvard is from a musical family, as his cousins are John and Tone Norum. For those of you that don’t know, Tone Norum is a Norwegian singer andJohn Norumis better known for playing guitar in hard rock band Europe as well as releasing several solo albums, and spending some time in rock band Dokken.
I’d not heard of Håvard until this album dropped through my letterbox the other day, having been asked by a friend of mine in Italy if I’d be interested in giving it a listen. I’m always up for trying new things, and I find I like most things guitar orientated, so naturally the answer was yes. You know what? I’m bloody glad I did, as this album is full of great stuff. If I’m honest, it’s not the sort of stuff I would have gone out and actively looked for, but that’s testament to my ignorance and reflects nothing on the quality of the music, which is of a very high standard.
The album contains 14 tracks, 11 of which are original songs, and there are 3 absolutely brilliant cover versions. The first is “Just a Little Teardrop” by Norwegian 60′s band The Pussycats,then we have a version of Thin Lizzy’s “Still In Love With You” featuring John Norum on guitar and lead vocals, and in light of recent events, I can think of nothing else I’ve heard to be a more heartfelt tribute to the late, great Gary Moore. John Norum’s sound and vocal tone are suited perfectly to the song, and it was goosebump inducing. The third cover is yet another interpretation of George Harrison penned Beatles classic “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and again, being totally honest, this is one of the finest versions I’ve heard of the song anywhere, and I’ve heard many versions.
The original material is really varied, touching on a lot of Håvard’s influences, including blues, rockabilly, pop/punk and a whole heap more. This makes for an album that is hugely diverse, and you could listen to it a lot without ever getting bored of it.
There are also a lot of different musicians appearing on the record, including Ronni Le Tekrø from the hard rock band TNT and Aleksander Stenerud from Norwegian band Zuma. There are also many guest vocalists, in fact too many to mention. All of this of course just adds to the diversity of the record, and gives it a wholly different feel.
I don’t know who was involved in choosing which vocalists should sing which songs, but I wouldn’t argue at all with any of them. The vocal styling of each singer works in perfect harmony with the chosen song, and the album just flows so easily from one track to another. The sound is just so natural, nothing ever sounds forced, and that enhances the listening experience. The music tends to envelope you, and then carry you away, as though you’re drifting with some invisible current. Eddying this way and that, like a leaf on the river, until the journey’s end, where you’re left wanting to go back and do it all again.
In light of all of this “Never Felt So Good” is the perfect title of the album. It reflects the whole mood of the guys when they recorded it. You can tell they had so much fun with it, which is what gives the record a relaxed feel. It’s not a lazy album by any means, as it’ll really make you get down and shake your tail feather at every opportunity. This is ‘feel good’ music of the highest order. There are some great songwriting skills too. Lyrically, it’s again a lot of fun, with catchy choruses, and songs that you could find yourself singing along to before you know it. Musically, I really can’t say anything bad about it at all. The songs are well structured, and the whole thing just leaves you with an incredible sense of well being.
This then is the record to listen to if you’re feeling a little under the weather, or on a dark gloomy day in February much like today, or to break out at a party to get your guests in the mood. More to the point of course, it was exactly what I needed to listen to on a Monday morning back at work. This record could well have set me up for the rest of the week. Yes it’s THAT damned good.
Check out Håvard’s official website at www.havardpedersen.com where you can listen to album clips and find out where to purchase it. Go and have a poke around, and then buy this album, it’s frickin awesome!
Source: EXIT MUSIC