Biography

“Bordering on genius”, one critic wrote when Tom Roger Aadland released his album Rapport frå eit grensehotell in 2015. On the extensive launch tour audiences found that Aadland has taken new steps as an artist and a songwriter. It is hardly a secret that he’s one of Norway’s finest lyricists, and when Norwegian favourite rock band Hellbillies release their new studio album in October, Tom Roger Aadland has written the lyrics for eight of the album’s twelve songs. The single “Søvnlaus” has been warmly received by critics and audiences alike.

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“Bordering on genius”, one critic wrote when Tom Roger Aadland released his album Rapport frå eit grensehotell in 2015. On the extensive launch tour audiences found that Aadland has taken new steps as an artist and a songwriter. It is hardly a secret that he’s one of Norway’s finest lyricists, and when Norwegian favourite rock band Hellbillies release their new studio album in October, Tom Roger Aadland has written the lyrics for eight of the album’s twelve songs. The single “Søvnlaus” has been warmly received by critics and audiences alike.

May 24th, on Bob Dylan’s 75 year birthday, Aadland released the single Eg må ha deg, an energetic version of Dylan’s I Want You. The response was overwhelming. The music blog The Wilhelmsens categorised Aadland’s interpretation of Dylan as a “bull’s eye” and gave six stars out of six. Artists colleagues were equally impressed. “Bravo!!”, remarked acclaimed rock singer Sivert Høyem on Facebook. Aslag Haugen of Hellbilles commented, “Everybody who deals with songwriting knows that this is an extreme height to fall from…Tom Roger does this masterfully!”

All very promising as Aadland is about to share the results of what must be the definite test for someone who writes and translates rock lyrics. September 16th Tom Roger Aadland releases Bob Dylan’s fifty year old masterpiece Blonde on Blonde in Norwegian. Songs such as Visions of Johanna and Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands have been translated, and lines such as “Shakespeare he’s in the alley” and “The Persian drunkard he follows me” have been set in a Norwegian context.

Tom Roger Aadland and producer Lars Voldsdal (Madrugada, Hellbillies) brought in top musicians Erland Dahlen (Madrugada), Tor Egil Kreken(Shining) and Kjetil Steensnæs (Bjørn Eidsvåg) to infuse Dylan’s legendary songs with new life. All participated on Aadland’s critically acclaimed Rapport frå eit grensehotell album. As a secret weapon they invited internationally renowned Sigbjørn Apeland on harmonium and Hammond organ to join the sessions. The album has been recorded and mixed at ABC Studio, Etne by Kjetil Ulland (Vamp).

Rapport frå eit grensehotell received outstanding reviews when the album was released in 2015. “Like Dylan, Aadland can with some simple, suggestive phrases take a moment and fill it with something that makes it feel crucial ”, Dag og Tid wrote. The album dealt with human loneliness and longing for love, and the reviewers agreed that it contained Aadland’s finest collection of songs so far. The single Like til mi dør went straight into top rotation on Norwegian national radio. Lars Voldsdal produced and mixed the album, that was mastered by legendary Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound, New York.

The autumn of 2015 saw Tom Roger Aadland having success as a translator for the spectacular theatre concert 27 – The Club, a show inspired by the fate of six legendary artists who burned their candles in both ends and who died at the age of 27. Aadland wrote the Norwegian versions of the lyrics to some forty songs, made immortal by Amy Winehouse, Kurt Cobain, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Brian Jones. “Tom Roger Aadland has done a great piece of work translating these songs” the paper Klassekampen wrote.

When Tom Roger Aadland’s album Fløyel og stål was released in 2012, the single Min beste ven på ein dårleg dag swiftly was playlisted by Norwegian national radio, and the album got great reviews. “Top class songwriter and performer” and “one of the best albums this autumn” were among the album’s characterisations. National TV showed excerpts of the documentary Fløyel og stål that depicted the process behind the album – written in South Africa, recorded in Oslo and mixed in Los Angeles by renowned engineer David Bianco (Bob Dylan, Tom Petty). Fløyel og stål was an album with a strong melodic leaning and a tapestry of acoustic and electric string instruments.

There was room for falling and failing when Tom Roger Aadland released the follow-up to the critical and audience favourite Blod på spora. But the album Det du aldri sa (2011) was greatly received, and many were impressed that Tom Roger Aadland the songwriter was on the same level as the translator. “Norwegian pearls…impressive songs…dedicated and real” – praises were many for the album, which contained a collection of strong songs with a musical foot in the roots tradition. The lyrics for the closing track Postkort i oktober was published in the anthology SamtidslyrikkEN.

Blod på spora, a Norwegian version of Bob Dylan’s masterpiece Blood On The Tracks was released in 2009 to brilliant reviews. Particularly the album was praised for the translations of Dylan’s lyrics. Fredrik Wandrup in Dagbladet called Aadland’s version of the album “beautiful and touching”, while Aftenposten wrote that Blod på spora was an “impressive Norwegian classic”. The song Vikla inn i blått (Tangled Up in Blue) was later voted as one of the most successful Norwegian cover versions by streaming service TIDAL. The response to the album lead to extensive touring all over Norway, and when Dylan became a university subject, Tom Roger had the honour of holding the opening lecture at Oslo University.

He has been described as a “great lyricist” and an “exceptional tunesmith”, but Tom Roger Aadland is also a solid and energetic performer with a unique ability to convey the content of a song. He has sung Dylan in Norwegian and performed his own, critically praised songs on countless concerts all over Norway the last years, and has a reputation for always delivering on stage; whether he appears solo or with full band. He is as much at ease at a sweaty rock joint in Oslo downtown as he is at an arts centre somewhere along the Norwegian coast. Norway’s favourite rock band Hellbillies chose him as their support when they did their anniversary tour, and a couple of years earlier he performed the winning entry in a Dylan translation competition arranged by Dagbladet. He has also premiered translations by awarded author Kjartan Fløgstad.

Before taking on Dylan, Tom Roger Aadland collaborated with legendary Irish rock photographer Fin Costello about the exciting multimedia tour Pictures In Rock. Together, they visited art galleries and concert halls and presented an exhibition of Costello’s iconic rock photos in combination with a concert with Aadland and the Irish top musicians who participated on the debut album Obviously Embraced. “A great night for rock”, was one journalist’s summary of the event.

After travelling and giving concerts all over Ireland, recording his debut album Obviously Embraced in Dublin with Irish musicians felt natural to Tom Roger Aadland. Pianist and producer Brian Connor (Van Morrison, Riverdance) brought in some of Ireland’s finest rock musicians to the session; people having played with artists such as Van Morisson and Sinead O’Connor. After hearing the recordings, Alastair McMillan (U2, Rolling Stones) offered to mix the album, which was then mastered by legendary Greg Calbi (Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen) at Sterling Sound, New York.

«We suspect that his lovely blend of melody and commentary will earn him loads of fans», Ireland’s premiere rock magazine Hotpress wrote when Obviously Embraced was released the spring of 2007. Half a year later the album was released in Norway, and also here the reviews were positive. Many mentioned the strong melodies and the storytelling lyrics that permeated the album – some suggested that Ireland’s mythic rock landscape had had a releasing effect on Tom Roger Aadland as a singer and songwriter.

Before going to Ireland, Aadland had done recordings in Zimbabwe with local musicians and visited festivals and concert stages in South Africa with his music. “It comes as no surprise that Aadland writes good songs” Cape Argus wrote when he played in Cape Town, and referred to his broad musical background. He has studied classical guitar with some of the best guitarists in the world, and has written music for everything from rock band to symphony orchestra.

Tom Roger Aadland is still on his way – and still on the road. After having made his mark with three strong albums with original songs, he has decided to once again turn his attention to Bob Dylan’s exceptional universe. This autumn Aadland will visit arts centres, concert halls and libraries with his Norwegian versions of Dylan’s unique songs about restlessness, loneliness and the search for the great love.