Swift Silver- Swift Silver review

Swift Silver Swift Silver www.SwiftSilverMusic

The thing about music in modern times is your new favourite is always just a click away. Even if you’ve never heard of them before.

For those of us who were raised in ‘simpler’ times, we had to read about music in magazines, be that Creem, fRoots, NME, RPM, or even—eventually—No Depression. If something sounded intriguing, we could venture with faint hope to the local record shop or travel via Greyhound to the city to the used place north of downtown, and inquire: “Do you have anything by ‘Lean Lowvich’”? And, if you were lucky, what you found changed your life.

Now, no so investment involved.

Swift Silver, “a rock ‘n soul band from Kentucky,” inspire similar excitement and wonder to those unheard artists we read about thirty, forty, and more years ago. Playing folk-infused rockin’ blues, vocalist and songwriter Anna Kline has some Janis in her approach, but it sounds ‘born-to-her’ rather than affecting, a deep, guttural voice that can purr, moan, and roar, depending on circumstance.

Previously playing as Grits & Soul, the positively electric duo of Kline (acoustic guitar and vocals) and John Looney (lead guitar and vocals) have stepped away from bluegrass roots retaining the essence of purity within their hybrid sound.

“Belleville Blues” starts us off with the legacy of “I’m standing at what you might call the crossroads,” while things go even darker on “We’ve Given Up On Us,” Kline’s phrasing and vocal emphasis taking us down to the revitalizing waters of country blues. The manner in which she twists words like ‘liquor’ and the earthy intensity of the guitar-propelled instrumentation bring back sounds of the late 60s and very early 70s. You’ll recognize and appreciate the references as you hear them.

The album flows by with declarations poetic (“Tonight, Forever Yours”) and pure (“Ain’t Wrecked Yet”) while turning the very traditional inside-out (Mr. Carter Stanley’s “The Fields Have All Turned Brown,” ably sang by Looney and presented as an Appalachian dirge) bookended by honesty and challenge (“Come On Home to Yourself” and “Blackbird’s Refrain.”)

Another highlight is “Looking Back,” a jam of considerable fortitude. Here, as she does throughout the generously-packed recording, Kline pushes her voice toward the most honest and revealing of emotional revelations, never breaking, never retreating. It is absolutely something to experience.

Swift Silver’s ‘album band’ of Kenny Miles (baritone guitar, bass, organ, harmony, engineer, co-producer with Kline and Looney) and Hayden Miles (drums and ‘toys’) are supportive and unobtrusive, revealing the magic of the duo format while providing essential aural texture and colour. Looney’s guitar playing is every bit as impressive as Kline’s singing; they are a well-balanced, complementary duo.

I don’t know if I’ve before heard anything quite like Swift Silver. I’ve been immersed in this breathtaking album for a couple months, and while I couldn’t meet a ‘release day’ deadline to save my life, trust me when I recommend this timely release: it is what we’re looking for this first day of summer, 2021.

Click and play. Oh, and buy some new music, dammit.

3 thoughts on “Swift Silver- Swift Silver review

  1. Thanks So Much for the Willie Dunn non-review. I had never heard of him, been listening to him since. Do you take recommendations? There is a super obscure song writer in Austin Texas (I think his day job is math professor), I honestly think he is as good as Townes van Zandt, I know this sounds nuts, but check out this one song — and I bet you will then listen to the whole record and agree. I heard they guy playing to an empty bar just before the pandemic.
    https://seankeel.bandcamp.com/track/corn-palace thanks Johann Tracey

    1. Sean is all kinds of interesting, based on this listen. In that Sam Baker territory (although I hate comparing that way- everyone’s got their own thing going. Yes, this is impressive. I will investigate further- thanks for the recommendation. Glad you enjoy Willie Dunn’s music. Glad you could return the favour.

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