|Emma Swift — Emma Swift|
Emma Swift — Emma Swift (1 August, 2014)
•» Emma Swift is just one of the twangy titans changing the music scene in this here town. Emma Swift is a radio broadcaster and songwriter who splits her time between Sydney, Australia and Nashville, Tennessee. A fan of minor chords, heartworn highways, scuffed–up boots, gin and endless pedal steel, she likes to play vulnerable music. Her heroes, in no particular order are: Emmylou Harris, Gram Parsons, Bill Callahan, Anais Nin, Lucinda Williams and whoever invented dry shampoo.
•» Winner of the Zelda Fitzgerald Emotional Maturity Award.
•» Describe Nashville in three words? Effervescent, inspiring and fun.
Location: Wagga Wagga ~~ Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Album release: 1 August, 2014
Record Label: Self
1. Bittersweet 4:15
2. Woodland Street 5:00
3. King of America 8:26
4. Seasons 3:10
5. James 4:03
6. Total Control 6:18
••• Produced by Anne McCue
••• Mastered by Patrick Granado
••• Engineered by Brian ‘Brain’ Harrison
••• All songs recorded at The Rendering Plant, Nashville, Tennessee
••• All songs: Emma Swift (ORiGiN Music Publishing)
••• Emma Swift: Vocals
••• Anne McCue: Acoustic guitar, electric guitar on ‘Woodland Street’, baritone guitar on ‘King of America’
••• Chris Pickering: Wurlitzer, electric guitar on ‘Bittersweet’, acoustic guitar on ‘King of America’, ‘Seasons’ and ‘James’
••• Russ Pahl: Pedal steel, electric guitar on ‘Woodland Street’, acoustic guitar on ‘Total Control’
••• James Haggerty: Bass
••• Bryan Owings: Drums, percussion Description:
•» If you want further proof that the soul of country music has gravitated east across the Cumberland River then listen no further than this debut release from Aussie songstress Emma Swift. Her roots and current base may be Antipodean but East Nashville has been a past point of settlement, hopefully a future place of residence and always her true spiritual home. This 6 track collection of divine entrancing pure country gold will have you drooling for the half hour it takes to infiltrate your senses. She may have gone to Nashville to learn but this release can cross the divide and teach others how to make a record and label it ‘country’.
•» Of course in this media driven age, Emma Swift is going to be labelled alt country or Americana suggesting she is doing something different.
•» However an alternative view is that she has her pulse on the real thing as this pedal steel driven batch of sad songs, drizzled with soul and sung at a luring pace, oozes with golden class from start to finish.
•» Recorded in Nashville and including a cast of quality Music City session players, this self–titled mini album yearns for your attention right from the gorgeous opening track ‘Bitter Sweet’ which sets the tone and groove of the record. With visions of lazy days and the feel of an aching heart, this song earmarked for promotion is a worthy candidate for stand out track and Emma, in her other role as music broadcaster, knows well the nuances and value of airplay to target audiences. It is a credit to the release that all five other numbers push this stand out song to the limit starting with the heart breaking second track ‘James’ which continues the sad theme.
•» The substance of this mini album, made for vinyl and designed for that late night bar, sees Emma generally steer clear of short songs as epitomised by the 8:32 long ‘King of America’ where she gets the balance right and lets the fine musicians take you on a trance–like journey. ‘Seasons’ is a song of Emma’s that has been around for a while and gets the retro drenched treatment to tap into the mood of the album. Emma is currently back in Australia hosting a specialist alt–country/Americana radio show on a new digital station and if the quality of her playlist matches that of the final two tracks ‘Total Control’ and ‘Woodland Street’ then the listeners are in for a treat. Both are meaty efforts laced with plenty of steel and carry you into the darker hours awash with a blissful sound.
•» With a chink of late night empty glasses and the creation of a mood for pondering and self–reflection, the music of Emma Swift shows how effective a single gear sound can be as long as it’s beautifully sung, exquisitely crafted and built on heartfelt honesty. The intention is for Emma to return to Nashville to complete that elusive full length album but in the meantime this record is far more than just a tantalising teaser and can make its mark alongside trademark albums from more established artists.
•» Flaxen of hair, soul–tough and pretty as a diamond, with a tear in her voice filtered through ’70s mariachi static, Emma Swift’s music hearkens back to the golden age of music when singers sang your life back to you. It is a voice of pure heartbreak, delivering songs that are equal parts heart–worn and careworn, modern, insouciant, witty and feminist.
•» A lonesome–voiced singer and award–winning radio broadcaster in her hometown of Sydney, it was a move away from Australia to Nashville, Tennessee that inspired Emma to write and record her solo debut.
•» “I left Australia with two suitcases, three pairs of cowboy boots and enough vinyl to make sure the first piece of furniture I bought when I arrived in Tennessee was a record player. I went in search of songs, in search of kindred spirits, in search of mythical honky–tonks and late–night picking parties. I went with a dream no bigger than to find a place where music might matter as much to the town as it does to me,” says Swift.
•» One of Australia’s finest sad–song–singers, Emma’s voice has always required the kind of backing that would do it justice, and thanks to Nashville–based Australian expat Anne McCue and a cast of A–team Nashville session pickers, Swift’s songs have been wrought from (pedal) steel and amber, turquoise and honey.
•» The debut mini–album features Bryan Owings (Buddy Miller, Emmylou Harris, Iris Dement, Patty Griffin) on drums, Russ Pahl (John Hiatt, The Secret Sisters, Elton John) on pedal steel, James Haggerty (The Autumn Defense, Ruby Boots) on bass.
•» Opener ‘Bittersweet’ is of the type that once sold albums and singles by the millions, a heartbreaker to make one yearn for whiskey, a jukebox and a handful of dollar coins.
•» ‘King of America’ sees Swift leaning hard, unashamedly even on the bluesy turn in her throat, with enough grit and power to have Loretta Lynn raising an eyebrow.
•» Swift wraps her golden voice around ‘James’, a true sad song of the kind that — like waltzes — once had Willie Nelson wondering if there was any reason to keep writing them. Of course, her treatment of the lyric leaves the listener in no doubt that she’s hurting.
•» ‘Seasons’, a staple of Swift’s live set for years sounds like it belongs on a beat up AM radio some summer long ago.
•» The songs are imbued with an easy smile, vulnerability and toughness calling to mind artists like Lucinda Williams, Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt, Tammy Wynette, Hope Sandoval of Mazzy Star, or Margo Timmins of the Cowboy Junkies.
•» “Emma Swift possesses one of those voices that draws you in with its ache and emotional pull, characteristics that are essential to the creation and performance of authentic country music. She’s one of those songwriters that can write and deliver songs that will have you crying alcohol stained tears, swaying along to stories of love won and lost.” — Chris Familton, No Depression
•» “A smoky voiced songbird brought up on a steady diet of Elvis Costello and Linda Ronstadt. Tune your dial to Emma Swift’s sounds.” — Vinny Ramone, The Outpost — 2SER
Interview 1: http://billabout.com/a-swift-lesson-in-all-things-nashville-2/
Interview 2: http://www.au.timeout.com/sydney/music/features/13737/sydneys-country-revolution-emma-swift
|Emma Swift — Emma Swift|