While waiting for dinner to get ready

We had some really nice days when singer Sonja Hewer (from the German band Sonic Season) visited us last week and recorded vocals for the upcoming second album.

On Tuesday evening we set up a little band dinner when Ulla Wrethagen stopped by. While I was preparing food, Ulla and Sonja was jamming their favorite songs. I put up the cam recorder on the kitchen counter and just let it roll.

Their version of Melissa Etheridge’s You Can Sleep While I Drive came out very well. No problems cooking with this as entertainment.



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A place where songs are born

I’m one of those lucky with access to a summer house. A place far away from the city, with a slower beat, hidden in the woods close to the sea. I get at least a couple of weeks there every year with the family. The kids run more or less unsupervised and I get to do some songwriting.

I set up my little song writing studio in our little guest house. I’ve got this very cheap keyboard with a sort of passable piano sound (with a bit of imagination). There is an old battered acoustic guitar (built and sounding like a tank), together with an electric I brought from home together with a microphone. And my iPad as a recorder (a late upgrade from the old sort-of-semi-modern porta).

It’s not about the sound, it’s about having the time to feel and hearing yourself think. It’s about the trees, the wind and the sea. About how to easily get that flow of music recorded and remembered. Details and refinements can come later.
Many of my songs has been born here, and with a bit of luck (and some labour of love) a few more will be too this summer.


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My new baby

The previous one was stolen and of course nothing can replace her but my new baby and I are getting along fine so far. Frindship that might grow into love? Who knows. Time will tell


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I’m having a tractor dream

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Bus Stop Dreams, Chick Churchill and Ten Years After

As you are well aware of by now, we are very fond of collaborating with various singers, musicians and songwriters. In fact you can say that Bus Stop Dreams is a collaboration project with a lot of members besides Lasse and myself. One of the newest part-time members is Chick Churchill from legendary Ten Years After, who has supplied us with a song that we are working on right now.

It came about when our wonderful singer Sonja Hewer, who knows Chick from before, asked if we wanted to take a listen some of his songs he had written, songs that he haven’t found a home for yet. We did and found some precious tunes that we felt would fit into Bus Stop Dreams’ repertoire.

Currently, Lasse is working with a song called “Put All Your Faith In Me”, which Sonja will add some beautiful vocals to later on. It’s a little early to show you a sample right now, so you will have to have some patience. But why not take a listen to a classic song from Ten Years After?

Ten Years After was blues rock legends even when I grew up in the seventies. The band started out in the sixties, and Chick Churchill is the keyboard player of the band since then. Between 1968 and 1973 they scored eight top 40 albums on the UK charts! They are still going strong, but sadly the former front man Alvin Lee passed away earlier this month as you may have heard. Here they are performing “Love Like a Man” which was their biggest hit back then, while not being really a hit band. /Pär

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Chords, lyrics and singback – “As Long as I Don’t Cry”

Poetry of the MusicNow we’ve added the song “As Long as I Don’t Cry” to our chord page. As before you’ll find a singback version (without lead vocals), the lyrics and the chords. So, grab your guitar, sit down by the piano or just sing a long with the music. Check it out.

Here’s the original song:

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Linnea Strid – an amazing artist and a bus stop dreamer

The painting on our album cover was created by the artist Linnea Strid. She calls it “The Drowning Artist”, and it wasn’t created for the album, even if we think it was a perfect fit; it was Lasse who discovered it on the Internet and asked Linnea if we could use it on our album.

We’ve gotten many reactions on the cover from our listeners. It does seem to stir emotions and cause reactions, like it’s impossible to be neutral to the painting. It’s also interesting how different we react; some get an eerie feeling from it, while other praise the beauty and the details, and some get mixed emotions. There’s a story here as well, that raises some curiosity about what has happened, and/or what is going to happen, and which plays with our minds. Add to that the title, which gives the experience of the painting a new twist.

A certain taste of life - © Linnea Strid

A certain taste of life – © Linnea Strid

If you look through Linnea’s art catalogue, you can see that these features goes through all her art, like if she was one of those fantastic photographers I admire, that can catch the moment in just the right second and from the right angle, when the ordinary turns into something more than just the ordinary.

Often she uses water in some way in her paintings: running water, still water, drops, sweat, tears, and I come to think about a parallel with those 20 words for snow that the eskimos is said to use; maybe we should have 20 words for water?

I took the opportunity to ask Linnea some questions:

Bus Stop Dreams: How does it feel to have you art exposed on an album cover?

Linnea: It feels great! I believe I’ve had my paintings on album covers at least five times before, and it’s always an awesome feeling when a band appreciates my art to the extent that they want it to “represent” their music. It’s one of the greatest form of flattery!

Tear me apart - © Linnea Strid

Tear me apart – © Linnea Strid

BSD: Can you relate to anything in the music with your painting?

Linnea: For me, art (both images and music) is something highly personal that everyone could and should adopt and make into stuff that means something just for them. When I make art, my paintings has a very special significance to me, but I want them to have that effect to other people observing them as well. I don’t like to pin point out exactly what to feel and think about my pieces. That’s really up to everyone to decide for themselves. That’s what’s so wonderful about art! With that said, I can’t say that I can completely identify my painting with the music, since I made the piece first and had very personal stuff in mind for that. But there are elements in the album that I can defenitely relate to. It’s an awesome album that everyone should get a hold of!

BSD: Thanks a lot Linnea. I’m so happy you like it! About how the music and your art came together; the story about how Lasse found you and your art is maybe something that is an everyday experience on the Internet, but still fantastic to me: A woman from Ukraine on Google+ shared the image of “The Drowning Artist” there, uncredited. Lasse asked her where she found it which led to a Ukrainian appliance company (which was obviously using it to illustrate their business), and after an image search he found your site and discovered that you live in the same town (Stockholm). Surely the world of art, as much as the music world, must be affected in many ways by Internet. What has Internet meant for you as an artist?

Linnea: Haha, yeah that’s a very funny story. The Internet’s ways are inscrutable.. It has meant a great deal for me and has opened so many doors since I started to work as an artist full-time in 2009. I usually say that I feel truly lucky to have been born as an artist in this century. If I hadn’t started posting my art on flickr and sending pics to art magazines online I had never been able to show my art all over the world and selling my art through my website to collectors in the US and Canada and all over Europe. That’s mainly how I manage to survive because it’s really hard to make a living as an artist in Sweden only, after all, it’s a small country with limited possibilities.

Kiss (homage to Terry Richardson) - © Linnea Strid

Kiss (homage to Terry Richardson) – © Linnea Strid

BSD: What is the best moments for you, when you create your art?

Linnea: I love the starting up phase, where I have just begun with the painting and things are starting to fall into place, when I know it’s going to be a good painting that I can be proud of (at least for a year or so, then I grow tired of it, haha). I also enjoy the moment when the painting is just finished and I can sit back and study all the brush strokes, look for flaws and details that I’m particularly happy with.

BSD: What is the best moments when you show your art to people?

Linnea: When someone decides to buy a painting. That’s the ultimate proof for me that I should continue doing what I’m doing. I still think it’s kind of a surreal, strange feeling when people actually want to pay me to have my art in their homes, hanging on their wall. It’s really cool and I appreciate it so much. If no one bought my paintings and drawings I had to get a normal job and that’s something that I’m afraid I’ll have to do one day if my paintings don’t sell.

BSD: Thank you so much Linnea. Best of luck in the future.

Check out Linnea Strid’s site and Facebook page.


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Snow sledding, sandwiches and generosity

Bread and cheeseYesterday my 9-year-old daughter came home from school, went directly to the kitchen and immediately started making a lot of sandwiches.

– “That’s a lot of sandwiches”, I said to her.

– “Yep, we’re eight friends who are going to the hill and have fun snow sledding, and we need to have something to eat”, she replied.

– “But aren’t the others going to bring something too?”, I asked.

– No, some of the girls forgot their keys home, so I said I’d do it”, she stated, and started making some warm chocolate also, soon pouring the warm liquid into a thermos.

Today, the story repeated itself, although this time she didn’t make as many sandwiches.

– “Well, I’m meeting up with a couple of friends at the hill, and I’m going to bring some sandwiches and hot chocolate.”

Seeing our supply of bread, chocolate, milk, cheese and ham disappearing in an unusually high rate, considering also that she often does like this, I told her:

– “You can’t do like this every day, you know, you have to talk to your friends so they can help too. You understand that, don’t you?”, and I went on in that manner.

– Sure dad, I understand. I’ll think about that the next time.

A couple of hours later, I was taking a shower after a jogging run, thinking about my generous daughter, smiling to myself when I saw the image before me of her having fun in the snow, eating sandwiches with her friends, being happy.
And it just hit me! What on earth am I doing? I have a generous daughter, who really cares about others, and I’m telling her to stop being like that?! I felt like I wanted to slap myself hard in the face.

She came back half an hour later, all wet from the snow, with cold, rosy-red cheeks and in the best of moods.

– “Did you have fun”, I asked her.

– “Yes, we had great fun, dad, but you know about the sandwiches; we didn’t eat them all ourselves”, she said in almost a guilty tone. “There were a couple of boys who didn’t have anything with them, so I invited them to have some of our sandwiches”.

– “Well, about the sandwiches”, I said, “Forget what I said about not sharing like you’re doing. That was just stupid grown-up stuff. In fact, I am enormously proud of you, that you’re so generous and caring. From now on, I’ll buy some extra bread, milk and chocolate, so you can do it your way. Maybe next time you can have some extra ones with you. I know you can think for yourself. You’re a fantastic person.”

Well, I’m off to buy some more bread and cheese. I do want to be more like my daughter, and the very least I can do is to never take this away from her. I think the marketshare of people who only think of their own gain is pretty much saturated by now.



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Chords, lyrics and singback versions

If you like to sing and play, you might be interested in a new page we added to the site today. You can find it in the menu under “Chords”, and it contains the lyrics to our songs with the chords. You’ll also find the singback versions of the songs, if you just want to sing.

First up is the song “Anything”, and in time we will add all our songs. Check it out.

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Notes on Easy

On a Winter’s day in the beginning of 2009, the good friend of mine, Fredrik Muskos sent a draft to some new lyrics, wondering if I could do something with it. It wasn’t the first time we collaborated on a song, as we also wrote ”Anything” together, but there we worked together on both music and lyrics.

I had a first go and came up with a workable idea for both the verse and the chorus. I did a recording and sent it to Fredrik. We both agreed that it was promising but for some reason things stopped there. It wasn’t that we didn’t like it; probably something else demanded our attention and we sort of forgot it. These things happen.

Writing this post I had a look back in my song archive and found the version that I send to Fredrik (click to listen). Apart from the very obvious reason why I stick to playing and don’t sing in the band  it’s interesting to compare it to the final version, if only to see which of the early ideas that made it to the final version and which did not.

A couple of years later Pär and I were listening through songs, planning the new album. We both thought ”Easy” would do as a Bus Stop Dreams song and Pär suggested Tobbe Möller as a singer. At that time I had no real idea of where to take the song, meaning how it should be arranged and produced. So rather than hold back I went with the idea, made the arrangements, and recorded vocals in January 2012. Tobbe’s performance put a new direction to the song. He added a very down to earth, dry and honest touch to it that made it much more easy to finish. Actually, until recording the vocals we were very much fumbling around in the dark. Many thanks should go to Tobbe for actually setting the song into it’s current frame.

I love the lyrics. They are very direct and upfront and work fabulous with the vocals. There is nothing hidden, just a very honest feeling of happiness and the need to tell it to the person responsible of that happiness. A kind of text I could not write myself. If I had written it myself it probably would have been about broken love or something equally depressing. The song is so much better of with Fredriks lyrics I think.

So, going from being one of the more elusive songs that we recorded for the album, a song that early on just never would behave, it has become one of my favorites. In the end it turned out, at least to me, to be one of the most focused and well produced songs on the album. A good proof that hard work yields good result if there is quality to begin with.


I liked the song the first time I heard it. It had a kind of crooner-jazzy vibe to the the melody in the verse, like it was an old song playing through the radio in the middle of the last century. And then the chorus came in, where the singer just couldn’t hold back any more, he just had to pour his heart out. A mood swing from a playful happy feeling to a this-is-serious-I-really-mean-it-I-would-do-anything! feeling.

I was very keen on asking Tobbe Möller to try out this song. He has a special kind of tone in his voice, which I had enjoyed for some time, but never in someone else’s song. He did a wonderful job and exceeded my expectations by far, from what I heard in my mind beforehand.

Mixing this song with Lasse was one of the most fun mixing adventures of the album. Lasse brought his palette of recorded tracks to the table and we set out to make the song fly. It wasn’t that the song changed in any radical manner from the post-mix Lasse had done; it was rather like a work of fine-tuning it with delicate tools, making it breathe and catch some breath before the song final. To me it’s a song that still grows each time I listen to it.


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