The Roger Tallroth and Scott Nygaard album, Rosco, is out and available in the US at CDBaby.
Many years ago, in the early ‘90s, I began discovering some of the great music being produced by the contemporary Nordic music scene. The tunes that stuck in my head usually seemed to emanate from the amazing Swedish group Vasen. Years later, after somehow acquiring a very basic understanding of the polska, I finally met Vasen’s guitarist, Roger Tallroth, who by that time had become one of my favorite guitarists. We were enlisted to play a short guitar duet to begin a festival-closing version of Roger’s iconic “Josefin’s Waltz,” and after running through “Josefin’s” and a few other tunes to get musically acquainted, we knew we’d have no trouble making music together. In fact, we both returned from that festival to our separate homes (San Francisco, California, and Uppsala, Sweden) with the same idea: we should do that again, maybe with a recording device running. We got together on Vasen’s next tour of the US, and while discovering that we shared a love of strong coffee and buttery pastries as well as strong melody, forward-moving polyrhythms, and buttery harmonies, we became fast friends.
This album is not an attempt to see how well a Swedish folk guitarist can play American bluegrass tunes or whether an American bluegrass/jazz guitarist can play internalize the nuances of the polska, but an attempt to create music that is unique to the two of us, music that combines all that we love in a way that allows us to “just play.” This is expressed not only in some unclassifiable original tunes (Roger’s Swedish/Appalachian “Roger’s Rough” and my bluegrass/polska “Exit Polska” for example), but also on a few traditional Irish and American fiddle tunes. We began with our usual roles, Roger playing some of the most inventive rhythmic beds ever created in any kind of music, and me playing melodies and occasional improvised solos. But we did manage to switch roles here and there. I provided the straighter American-sounding rhythm guitar on “Anders Eriksson” and “Morsans Vals” and Roger played lots of melody (and second melody) throughout, even pulling out a long improvised solo on the end of “True North.”
Neither Roger nor I have been particularly interested in “guitar music,” preferring to spend most of our musical lives in bands and the company of other stringed instruments and vocalists, so we enlisted the help of Swedish/English fiddler Emma Reid on a number of tunes. As you will hear, she took to this guitary multi-continental music with panache and aplomb.
—Scott Nygaard, San Francisco, California, February 2010