As is often the case with distinctive endeavours, the creative path of Thomas Dybdahl -- the 32-year-old guitarist, singer, songwriter, and native of Sandnes, Norway -- has been, for nearly a decade, all his own. "I've taken an eclectic approach," Dybdahl says. "I've sought to draw influences from the whole spectrum of music -- not only from songwriters and singers but also from contemporary and classical music. I am always trying to infuse my work with all these different influences so that I don't limit myself, or listeners, to the notion of being just another guy with a guitar." As he knows well, several of those strum around, and Dybdahl in one sense is yet another. But on 'Songs' -- his U.S. debut, released via Decca Records/Universal on Strange Cargo, an imprint overseen by the renowned musician and producer Larry Klein, whose past close musical associations include Joni Mitchell, Tracey Chapman, Madeleine Peyroux, and others -- Dybdahl distinguishes himself with fire and finesse. The tracks serve as a great introduction for American listeners to the five albums (2002's '...that great October sound'; 2003's 'Stray Dogs'; 2004's 'One Day You'll Dance for Me, New York City'; 2006's "Science'; and 2010's 'Waiting for that One Clear Moment') for which Dybdahl has received steady acclaim internationally and won two Norwegian Grammys. These are the romantic, introspective, out-going, hum-worthy, adventurous tunes of a guy who once, with characteristic honesty, cited the Mozart Requiem as his favourite piece of music but who laughs off any art-rock ideas of literally trying to reinvent the pop song from a classical music vantage point. For Dybdahl, who grew up playing guitar for hours daily and loved first Metallica and later Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix, it's all music.'Songs' is an often mesmerizing demonstration of how Thomas Dybdahl does things. It is the sound of how one gifted Norwegian connects with a million other sounds, impulses, colours, and emotions, all assembled with particular sonic poise that always grooves, never overwhelms.