Sometimes the great thing about this gig is that I come across artists I never would’ve come across, and I get to hear music I wouldn’t otherwise be exposed to. H.B. Neilsen is one of those. He comes with a fascinating backstory, too. A Swede, he came to the US to play hockey, but he gave that up and instead picked up a guitar and then, a few years later, he was supposed to start an MFA programme, but he gave that up and picked up a tattooists’ needle, currently working in Gotheberg, at All Gold Tattoo. He’s a modern troubadour, washing up in NYC in 2017 at the end of a long-term relationship, buying a truck and heading out around the country, earning his keep as a guest artist at his friends’ tattoo parlours around the US. And this led to his début album, Grand Opening, which came out in January.
‘Heavy Bloom’ is the first single from his new ep, It’s Today Again, which will be out in February. And damned if I can’t stop pressing play. It’s a pretty little track, centred around a guitar riff and Neilsen’s slightly tremulous voice. It’s a song about the coming of winter, and the anticipation of the spring before we even get to winter. An odd place for a Swede to find himself, I’m sure. I say that as a Canadian.
I suppose you could call him a singer/songwriter, though somehow I think that sells him short. But he comes with this Americana sound, kind of like a plugged in Josh Ritter, or perhaps even reminiscent of Liverpool’s Michael Head. Whatever, this is a nifty little track. And I’m excited to have his back catalogue at hand and the forthcoming ep, too.