Swift Creek- Magnolia review   Leave a comment


It has been a busy summer- I’ve written quite a few reviews, and done more listening than I likely should have, but I’ve done even more reading: as a result, projects around the home didn’t get accomplished. Neither did writing. (I had planned on working on my short stories/novella this summer. Hmmm…didn’t happen.)

With all the music coming my way, I haven’t found the time/energy to sit down and write about enough of it. Lazy, perhaps- I do normally try to write about 75% of what gets sent to me. (Thanks, PR folks.) I fell short this summer, so today I make the attempt to write that wrong. I’ve also been working at refining my writing, trying to write tighter; working without constraints (or an editor) I’m sometimes not as focused on ‘how’ I am writing. This weekend I decided to concentrate on the quality of my writing, taking time to be more concise in my expression.

Here we go: several reviews of roots music released over these summer months. Hopefully, something leads you to further investigation.

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Swift Creek Magnolia www.SwiftCreekMusic.com

An ambitious project that falls short, Swift Creek’s second album offers original material augmented by at least three songs with which most listeners of modern American will be familiar.

Instrumentally, the North Carolina group appears to be a competent bluegrass band, one capable of stretching out into other areas including the swampy country soul of “Rattle Them Bones.” Original material is always appreciated, and main songwriter Kevin Brown reveals that he has ability, as on the previously mentioned “Rattle Them Bones.” “Bluegrass Hurricane” is a fine little number of the music’s genesis, and “The Levee” offers an allegory of substance. The selection of Justin Townes Earle’s “Harlem River Blues” and Amanda Anne Platt’s (The Honeycutters) “Irene” are solid, and their interpretation of Fastball’s “The Way” elevates the song; it turns out there is an old-timey song to be revealed.

Unfortunately, the band’s harmonies are not quite there. Labelled a parody, “Life in the Slow Lane” falls flat, not biting, clever, nor amusing. The album’s lead song, “Wake Me Up to Drive” has the framework of a good road song and shows insight into the banality of commercialism (“The Applebee’s are Chili’s by a different name, that’s the reason why they ain’t part of our plan” is an apt line,) but suffers from dipping too often into a well of allusion. By the time a man in Winslow, Arizona makes an appearance, and the “highway is jammed with broken heroes’ sings the Boss” is sung, well…the song has faded like a late night driver. Key cuts: “Rattle Them Bones,” “Irene,” and “The Levee.”

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Posted 2016 August 28 by Donald Teplyske in Uncategorized

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