Lazy Afternoon – Just As Poor As Before

This Gotland, Sweden conglomeration of first-class musicians performs pure Americana & gets off to an invigorating start with Jorgen Ahlquist (accordions/melodeons) & the absolutely satiny vocals of Cristina Safsten (acoustic guitar/vocal) on “Who Am I To Say.” Miraculously charged with melody, warmth & loads of competency. Lovely.

Cristina shines as well on the title cut & “My Harbour Home” — a somewhat folky style like Australia’s The Seekers’ great vocalist Judith Durham. Cristina is that good.

On the 2nd song “Annelie,” the band hovers close to the quality of the classic Canadian-American ensemble The Band with the accordion sweetening the performance, crisp drums, and incisive vocals glorious among the instrumentation. The showcase made me play it twice in a row.

The 7-piece knows its way around this music better than most. Each cut has its own distinct melody line & the arrangements bristle with brightness throughout. “Over the Mountains,” sounds like a song that could’ve been written a 100-years ago. The traditional tint in the sound is a bold stroke.

It’s a gratifying set of masterful songs. Lazy Afternoon’s 47-minute 13-track CD Just As Poor As Before (Drops May 15-Artache-Paraply Records) is an excellent follow-up to their marvelous 12-cut set from 2019 — “Almost There.”


The band plays as smooth as hot fudge poured over a big scoop of vanilla ice cream. Their hot rhythmic style modernizes many traditional type approaches that are infectious to the ears. They boast 3 lead singers (just like The Band).

Bo Ahlbertz (bouzouki/banjo & vocal), Elvira Hall (fiddle, washboard & vocal), Pontus Nordborg (Telecaster guitar/dobro & vocal), Stefan Magnusson (drums & vocal) with Mary Nordseth (harmonies on “My Harbour Home” “The Dream of My Life” & “I’ll Be Going Home”), & Robin Larsson (banjo – “Who Am I To Say?”).

This is satisfying. Many musical tendrils & a wild strain of poignancy in nearly every song. These are first-class musicians that would certainly get people of the country-folk-roots & Americana States dancing with smiles pasted on their Republican & Democrat faces. Maybe that’s what we need – more music like this & less talk.

Just As Poor As Before is indeed one of the best of 2022. Americana is universal. Here’s the proof along with Norway’s fine group Silver Lining. All a pleasant surprise. Latino rock proliferates (Los Lobos), Italians provide classic progressive with PFM, Greeks gave us Vangelis, reggae from Jamaica with Bob Marley, South Africa’s Johnny Clegg’s Julukka & the recent success of the Danish Symphony Orchestra (YouTube) with Ennio Morricone’s music. Amazing.

“The Dream of My Life,” features hot fiddle work that would make a country fiddler clap his hands & a rollicking great dance tune that belongs at a barn dance – anywhere in the world. Tex-Mex arrives with brilliance on “Wild,” that even the Texas Tornadoes & the late Doug Sahm would embrace.

Fold-out insert with lyrics included. Lazy Afternoon photo by Emma Wulkan. CD @
Americana Highway

Abbiamo scritto dei Lazy Afternoon nel 2019 quando è uscito Almost Home, il loro secondo album dopo l’esordio di Whatever del 2016. Gruppo svedese di Gotland fedele alla tradizione americana roots tra country speziato di Tex-Mex, un pizzico di Irish folk, cajun e rock and roll, è formato da musicisti esperti tra i quali Jorgen Ahlqvist (fisarmonica e melodeons) e Bo Ahlbertz (voce solista, bouzouki, banjo e principale compositore) con Cristina Safsten (voce solista e chitarra acustica), Stefan Magnusson (batteria e voce), Lars Johansson (basso), Pontus Nordborg (chitarra, dobro e voce) e Elvira Hall (violino, washboard e voce)
Anche nel nuovo album lo stile non cambia, semmai incrementa le influenze folk, conferma la puntualità delle armonie vocali, uno dei punti di forza della band, la bellezza della voce folk di Cristina (la migliore tra le tre voci soliste) e la centralità della fisarmonica, mentre si accentua negativamente la scelta di melodie faciline e un po’ scontate in qualche brano esile che passa senza lasciare traccia come Choose To Believe, Summer Wind e I’ll Be Going Home. Non sono canzoni brutte, ma poco significative ed efficaci, da ascoltare in una festa di piazza.
Dall’altra la title track venata di influenze irlandesi, l’apertura di Who I Am To Say, Annelie condotta dalla fisarmonica con qualche lontana somiglianza con il suono di The Band e la ritmata Why Don’t You Stay For Tonight dimostrano che il gruppo ha delle discrete potenzialità, solo parzialmente sfruttate.

Paolo Baiotti/ Late for the Sky

We wrote about Lazy Afternoon in 2019 when Almost Home was released, their second album after the debut of Whatever in 2016. Swedish group from Gotland faithful to the American roots tradition between spicy Tex-Mex country, a pinch of Irish folk, cajun and rock and roll, is made up of expert musicians including Jorgen Ahlqvist (accordion and melodeons) and Bo Ahlbertz (lead vocal, bouzouki, banjo and main composer) with Cristina Safsten (lead vocal and acoustic guitar), Stefan Magnusson (drums and vocals), Lars Johansson (bass), Pontus Nordborg (guitar, dobro and vocals) and Elvira Hall (violin, washboard and vocals)
Even in the new album the style does not change, if anything it increases the folk influences, confirms the punctuality of the vocal harmonies, one of the strengths of the band, the beauty of Cristina’s folk voice (the best of the three solo voices) and the centrality of accordion, while the choice of easy and somewhat obvious melodies is negatively accentuated in some slender pieces that pass without a trace such as Choose To Believe, Summer Wind and I’ll Be Going Home. They are not bad songs, but not very meaningful and effective, to be listened to in a street party.
On the other hand, the title track tinged with Irish influences, the opening of Who I Am To Say, Annelie conducted by the accordion with some distant resemblance to the sound of The Band and the rhythmic Why Don’t You Stay For Tonight demonstrate that the group it has some potential, only partially exploited.

Paolo Baiotti/ Late for the Sky

Zweden is een land waar veel leuke Americana artiesten wonen. Bo Ahlbertz is een oude country-rocker met een stem à la Willem Duyn, aka Big Mouth van Mouth and MacNeal. Bo haakt meer dan ons vrolijke duo aan bij de countrymuziek. De man is al bijna 40 jaar actief in de muziek, begon in 1975 in Stockholm, maar verkaste spoedig met de folkband Patrask (Zweedse pop-folk met Ierse invloeden) naar Gotland, een Zweeds eiland in de Oostzee. Nadat Patrask aan het vervagen was kwam er ruimte voor solo-projecten, waaronder het aangename ‘Lazy afternoon’, onder eigen naam, uit 2013. ‘Lazy Afternoon’ werd de naam voor een band onder zijn leiding, zeven heerlijke musici uit het ruim opgezette Zweden.

Na het vrolijke ‘Almost Home’ uit 2019 komt nu de opvolger ‘Just As Poor as Before’’. Of die titel slaat op het povere bestaan van een musicus weet ik niet, maar feit is dat deze nieuwe CD weer vol staat met heerlijke vrolijke muziek. De accordeon speelt een hoofdrol naast de obligate Americana-instrumenten als fiddle, banjo en dobro. Gitaren, drums, bas, washboard zorgen voor de ritmische ondersteuning. Lazy Afternoon brengt een aanstekelijk mengsel van country, folk, rock, blues, cajun en pop, een soort fosfaatvrije muziek, waarbij het aangenaam wegdeinen is. Ik bespeur qua sfeer een verwantschap met onze George Baker. Lekkere melodietjes, begrijpelijke teksten, zoals in “Summer Wind’: ‘When I walk down the harbour lane, not a cloud there is in the sky. Summer wind dancing salsa with me and I’m feeling so free. Sitting down at the coffee shop watching people pass by’. Heerlijk ongedwongen toch. Bo speelt soms weer op zijn bouzouki (10-stringed Irish bouzouki om precies te zijn), de andere exoot in de begeleiding is de melodieën.

Ik heb een zwak voor de ongedwongen muziek van Bo en zijn Lazy Afternoon. Compliment voor de mooie verpakking met een uitvouwbaar vel met info en teksten. Vrolijkheid troef! (Independent, Paraply Records)
Real Roots Café

Sverige är ett land där många stora Americana-artister bor. Bo Ahlbertz är en gammal countryrockare med röst à la Willem Duyn, aka Big Mouth of Mouth och MacNeal. Bo hakar mer än vår glada duo på countrymusik. Mannen har varit verksam inom musiken i snart 40 år, startade 1975 i Stockholm, men flyttade snart med folkbandet Patrask (svensk pop-folk med irländska influenser) till Gotland, en svensk ö i Östersjön. Efter att Patrask bleknat fanns det plats för soloprojekt, bland annat den trevliga ‘Lazy afternoon’, under eget namn, från 2013. ‘Lazy Afternoon’ blev namnet på ett band under hans ledning, sju förtjusande musiker från det rymliga Sverige.

Efter den muntra ‘Almost Home’ från 2019 kommer nu efterföljaren ‘Just As Poor as Before’. Om den titeln syftar på en musikers fattiga existens vet jag inte, men faktum är att denna nya CD återigen är full av underbart glad musik. Dragspelet spelar en ledande roll vid sidan av de obligatoriska americana-instrumenten som fiol, banjo och dobro. Gitarrer, trummor, bas, tvättbräda ger det rytmiska stödet. Lazy Afternoon ger en smittande blandning av country, folk, rock, blues, cajun och pop, en sorts fosfatfri musik, där det är behagligt att svaja. När det gäller atmosfären känner jag ett släktskap med vår George Baker. Fina melodier, förståeliga texter, som i ”Sommarvind”: ”När jag går nerför hamnbanan finns inte ett moln på himlen. Sommarvindsdansar salsa med mig och jag känner mig så fri. Sitter på kaféet och tittar på folk som går förbi’. Underbart avslappnad. Bo spelar ibland sin bouzouki igen (10-strängad irländsk bouzouki för att vara exakt), det andra exotiska i ackompanjemanget är melodierna.

Jag har en svaghet för den avslappnade musiken av Bo och hans Lazy Afternoon. Komplimanger för den vackra förpackningen med ett utvikbart ark med information och texter. Gladlynt trumf! (Independent, Paraply Records)
Real Roots Café

Le téléscopage offert par LAZY AFTERNOON peut surprendre : une musique avec des parfums entêtants de tex-mex et de cajun, produite par un groupe suédois

! Ce combo mélange avec tact ces influences et d’autres (Christina Säfsten, la chanteuse, avoue une certaine obsession pour Dolly Parton) et Bo Ahlbertz sait écrire -en vétéran de la scène folk et jazz de Scandinavie- des titres dignes de ses maîtres. Les harmonies vocales sont soignées (Every Time) et la production légère convient à leur répertoire. Mais ce qui donne la couleur, et le contraste nécessaire, à ces 12 titres, c’est sans doute l’accordéon de Jörgen Ahlqvist. Comme si Flaco Jimenez se promenait entre les mille lacs de ce pays. Dépaysement assuré.
Le Cri du Coyote

Teleskopet som erbjuds av LAZY AFTERNOON kan överraska: musik
med berusande tex-mex-smaker
och Cajun, producerad av en svensk grupp

! Den här kombinationen blandar dessa på ett taktfullt sätt influenser och andra (Christina Säfsten, sångaren, medger en viss besatthet för Dolly Parton) och Bo Ahlbertz vet hur man skriver – som en veteran från den skandinaviska folk- och jazzscenen – titlar värdiga hans mästare. Vokalharmonierna är snygga (Every Time) och ljusproduktion är lämplig till deras repertoar. Men vad ger färgen, och kontrasten nödvändigt, till dessa 12 titlar är det utan tvekan dragspelet av Jörgen Ahlqvist. Som att Flaco Jimenez går omkring mellan de tusen sjöarna i detta land. Byte av landskap garanteras.
Le Cri du Coyote

Ett lyft med Cristina Säfsten!

Lazy Afternoon
Almost home
Artache Paraply Records/Border
“Är visserligen svag för ljusa kvinnliga röster och övriga i Lazy Afternoon från Gotland må ursäkta men nog har införlivandet av sångerskan Cristina
Säfsten i bandet efter debutalbumet (Whatever 2016) inneburit ett lyft.

Hennes stämma påminner om skönsångerskan Jenny Schaub i West of Eden vilket i sammanhanget passar som hand i handsken i sällskap med bandledaren Bo Ahlbertz irländska bouzouki.


Cristina Säfstens duetter förstärker intrycket och dessutom har bandet fått en till låtskrivare, hennes inledande Make love real är ett av de bästa spåren.
Never meant to be me är en annan höjdare, på ett omväxlande album med stänk av såväl cajun, country,
irländskt och tex mex med Jörgen Ahlqvists dragspelande, som extra krydda.”
Hans Bloom/DalaDemokraten 29 maj 2019

It is not expected that country, folk, Americana, Cajun and Tex-Mex music will be performed by a Swedish group of musicians. Yet this is the trademark of the band ‘Lazy Afternoon’ from singer-songwriter Bo Ahlbertz from Visby, Gotland with Cristina Säfsten (lead vocals and backing vocals), Jörgen Ahlqvist (accordion and melodeons), Lars Johansson (bass guitar), Maria Nordseth ( percussion and backing vocals), Pontus Nordborg (electric and acoustic guitar) and Stefan Magnusson (drums) as other band members. Their first album with songs in such music styles appeared in the summer of 2016 under the title “Whatever!” Two years earlier, Bo Ahlbertz had already released an album with similar music via an album that was then entitled “Lazy Afternoon”. Both records could count on a lot of windfall and positive comments here at “Rootstime”. That is why we were happy to be able to review their second album “Almost Home”.

 Cristina Säfsten kicked off this time with the song “Make Love Real” composed by herself. The majority of the twelve songs on this album, however, were again provided with lyrics and music by Bo Ahlbertz. The accordion played by Jörgen Ahlqvist and the ten-string Irish bouzouki used by Bo Ahlbertz are prominent in almost all the songs on “Almost Home”. That is the case with the album title track, country rock song “Rocking Chair”, the songs “Every Time” and “All This” sung by Cristina Säfsten and with the “Don’t Worry” and “Never Meant To Be”. The typical New Orleans Cajun atmosphere is radiated in “Water” and in the live song “The World Is Her Home”. Dancing is therefore absolutely recommended when hearing songs such as “Locked”, the “Sunshine” brought to a sunny reggae tune and the waltz “These Words Are True” beautifully closed in “Ry Cooder meets Flaco Jimenez” style. “Almost Home” is another top album of this Swedish seven in “Lazy Afternoon”, their second album but certainly not their last. Rootstime, Belgium magazine/website

“Lazy Afternoon” is a Swedish Country-Americana with a pinch of Tex-Mex and was founded by Bo Ahlbertz. In 2016 they released the album “Whatever!” (album report). The band experienced some staff changes and so Cristina Säfsten joined the group and released the single “Every Time-Water” (album report). A single that was to be the harbinger of a new album, and with this “Almost Home” this is now a fact. An introduction to this “new” Lazy Afternoon will delight every music lover. The name of, the group also relates to the uninhibited way of bringing their pleasant Folk Country music. The accordion of Jörgen Ahlqvist belongs to Folk, Country and Tex-Mex, but the sound of Cristina Säfsten lends itself entirely to Folk.

Nine of the 12 songs were written by frontman Bo Ahlbertz, with or without the co-writing of others. For the credits of opening number “Make Love Real” we must refer to Cristina Säfsten. Rocking Chair is one of K. Donner’s and the final “These Words Are True” is attributed to  L. Dahlberg. This “Almost Home” is a freshly colored album with pleasant tunes that vary from beautiful Folk over Americana to the Tex-Mex input devoid of accordion. Nice listening songs that are already central to the opening of the spring. An album with all tracks that never get bored but give you a sunny feeling. Musical Sweden at its best. _ Belgium

Lazy Afternoon – Almost Home ¤¤¤¤

Det är lördag och den lata helgen infinner sig för de flesta, ja nästan de flesta..

Gruppnamnet får mig att tänka på Barbra Streisands album med samma titel eller som Ray Davies skrev i Kinks-sången ” Lazing on a sunny afternoon “.

Nåväl nog med tankar kring gruppnamnet. Bo Ahlbertz som gjort en helt annan musikalisk resa genom irländska folkmusiken via cajun och texmex. Nu förenas alla dessa ingredienser med americana.

Då har vi nya albumet som på ett sätt vandrar i den bästa mixen av Texas Tornados och Dubliners tecken.

Men bandet förenar på nya albumet genom skivans alla låtar just den här resan genom de bästa av musikaliska känslor. 12 briljanta låtar som jag tycker väldigt mycket om.

En stilsäker skiva som visar varför Sverige som land verkligen lyckats förvalta de bästa av amerikanska folkmusikaliska rötter och modern americana.

Lazy Afternoon – Everytime / Water – Single – Independent

A single (2-song) effort out of Sweden opens with accordion and a female vocalist Cristina Safsten that is so folk-enriched you’d think she’s from the family of some backwoods Appalachian singing family. She has a Joan Baez tone but also has the beauty of Joan’s younger singer the late Mimi Farina and a pinch of Susan Osborne (Paul Winter Consort – “Lay Down Your Burden”).

This is a beautifully performed track and Cristina’s voice is the kind you never tire of listening to. Attractive. Strong. The backup is full choir on “Everytime,” and it’s vibrant. Fairport Convention, Steeleye Span, Joy of Cooking, Fotheringay, — all in the past but they all come to mind. Engaging stuff and the musicians are all exceptional.

Bo Ahlbertz sings “Water,” and then Cristina joins him. While Bo’s vocal is more middle-of-the-road pop (think: Billy Vera), the contrast between Bo and Cristina is well executed. Pontus Nordborg takes a clean lead guitar solo followed by a fiery Jorgen Ahlqvist on accordion. But it’s Cristina who continues to shine among these fine musicians.

I am suspect – I think this band can produce some interesting, diversified, creative and original songs so an EP at only eight short minutes is more like a tease. It does leave you wanting more. And that’s a good thing.
by John Apice
October 16, 2018



Thirteen track debut from Swedish Roots band Lazy Afternoon. It’s an uncomplicated, fun all the way listen by a group of accomplished musicians. Tex-Mex in style generally – with The Mavericks stamp on much of the material.
Founding member Bo Ahlbertz toured in the 80’s and 90’s with Westerness and Patrask, both bands playing Irish and Scottish inspired folk music. He formed Lazy Afternoon in 2013 and wrote the majority of songs on the album together with undertaking the production duties. The album was recorded by Anders Nordh on the island of Gotland and released by the Artache label.
Standout tracks are the driving powerhouse Goodbye and Sunday Afternoon. It’s dance music all the way, particularly enhanced by the accordion playing of Jorgen Ahlqvist, by a band that one expects would excel live and brighten up any lazy afternoon.

Lazy Afternoon sind ein schwedisches Septett um den professionellen Songschreiber und Bouzoukispieler Bo Ahlbertz, der findet, dass die Songschreiberei häufig interessanter ist als der fertig produzierte Titel. BeiWhatever! ist das sicher nicht der Fall. Akkordeon, Gitarre und Schlagzeug – Lazy Afternoon klingen wie eine Tex-Mex-Kapelle mit Countryflair aus Louisiana.

“It’s an uncomplicated, fun all the way listen by a group of accomplished musicians.(…) Standout tracks are the driving powerhouse Goodbye and Sunday Afternoon. It’s dance music all the way, particularly enhanced by the accordion playing of Jorgen Ahlqvist, by a band that one expects would excel live and brighten up any lazy afternoon.”

“(…) Mit den 13 vorwiegend Gute-Laune-Songs hat jeder sofort ein Lächeln im Gesicht. Sie gehen unter die Haut und machen gute Stimmung. Genau richtig für faule Nachmittage.”


The ARTIST of the week: “Lazy Afternoon”

The debut of the Swedish band Lazy Afternoon contains 13 original songs in a mixture of Americana, with influences of country, Cajun, Tex Mex, rock and Irish folk.
“Het is vlotte, melodieuze muziek, die dansbaar is en niet zou misstaan op een cowboyfeest. ” (3½)
Patrick Van de Wiele

“To hear new ‘Tex Mex’ music from a Swedish band was in fact pretty surprising, but Bo Ahlbertz and his band ‘Lazy Afternoon’ are providing several good tunes in this style on their first record ‘Whatever!’. With ‘Texas Tornados’ clearly as influencing band, these guys have delivered an excellent album.“ –

“Lazy Afternoon’s single… Another great song… Perfect for the music lover I am… The DJ doesn’t like very much this strategy consisting in releasing a single after another… But with the talent you can be forgiven of quite everything…”
Mike Penard

Lazy Afternoon… a band that really deserves to be more known… I would have preferred an EP, rather than these singles, coming one by one, but the talent is real…

Mike the Frenchy

An interview with Bo Ahlbertz in a gotlandish net magazine

“Jag har ingen plikt att presentera svensk musik, så det kan säkert finnas en och annan som undrar varför jag alltid har en positiv attityd till densamma. Det är enkelt: Om det inte håller måttet så skriver jag inget. Punkt slut, sen missar jag säkert utgåvor med artiister som jag borde gilla.

Bo Ahlbertz och Lazy Afternoon håller måttet. För ett år sedan hade jag svårt att placera dem i ett bestämt fack, nu framstår de allt tydligare som en folkhemsvariant på The Texas Tornadoes. Tex-Mex med mycket hjärta och smärta, dragspel och en ärrad röst som har något att berätta. Mer sånt!”
/Jonas Öhman, Om Country

Hot new reviews…

Lazy Afternoon ‘Any road’ (Independent/Sweden Import)

Sadly only one song is included, but the Swedish band Lazy Afternoon offers good clean quality american westcoast ish folksy pop/rock that sounds pretty catchy.

Publicerad 27 mars 2015 kl 13:20 av

Här om året släppet Bo Ahlbertz soloplattan Lazy Afternoon. För att få till livespelningar med materialet bildades bandet med samma namn som skivan och under senare hälften av 2014 spelades åtta nya låtar in som tydligen är tänkta att släppas som åtta separata singlar under året. Först ut är Any Road som Bo skrivit tillsammans med Burton Jespersen. En skön låt där framförallt refrängen sätter sig och gärna nynnas med i.

Lazy Afternoon’ is de titel van het werkstuk dat Bo Ahlbertz vorig jaar afleverde. De Zweedse folkrockveteraan uit Gotland  heeft nu een groep samengesteld onder dezelfde naam. Met dat kwartet trok Ahlbertz  eind vorig jaar naar de Masen studio om daar acht tracks op te nemen.
Het is de bedoeling om in de loop van 2015 die nummers als afzonderlijke singles uit te brengen. Eerste in de rij is ‘Any Road’ dat Bo samen met Burt Jesperson componeerde.  Je kan muzikaal inderdaad verschillende paden bewandelen. ‘Any Road’ is zo’n met sprankelende accordeon en snerpende gitaartjes gelardeerde stukje americana dat  je meteen in opperbeste stemming brengt. Wordt dit jaar nog vervolgd.

Cis Van Looy (3½)


‘Lazy Afternoon’ is the title of the work that Bo Ahlbertz delivered last year. The Swedish folk rock veteran of Gotland now has a group with the same name. With that quartet attracted Ahlbertz late last year went to Masen studio to record eight new tracks.
The intention is to release those songs as individual singles during the year of  2015. First in line is “Any Road” A CO-write  Bo has made with Burt Jesperson. You can indeed follow different musical paths. “Any Road” is such with sparkling accordion and screeching guitars laced piece of Americana that brings you immediately in a great mood. To be continued.”
– Cis Van Looy (3½), keys and chords (Mar 13, 2015)


Mik. the dj Mike the frenchy : Radio I.S.A.:

“Lazy Afternoon single (infectious melody, wish there are more songs!)”