Swift Silver is likely a new name to many of our readers, but quite a few of you will the know the two musicians at it’s core. Anna Kline and John Looney, formerly known as Grits and Soul, have joined forces once again to bring you music that has been 10 years in the making.
The first time that I experienced the powerful duo perform together was at the very first Sweet Thing Jamboree back in early 2019. Anna’s vocal control was, is, and likely will be one of the best around. She was captivating. Plain and simple.
So given the chance to share this new project with y’all, ya know I jumped at the opportunity. As usual, I’ll hit some highlights, but I want you to dig deeper. I’ll open the door, but you gotta step through if ya like what ya here. Fair enough? Cool!
The self-titled debut is set to release on June 4th, but there’s a CD release show happening on May 28th in Mt. Sterling if ya wanna jump to the front of that line.
They’ll be joined by some of the best talent Kentucky has to offer in The Local Honeys, Short & Company, and Chelsea Nolan. You’ll definitely want to go hungry, and early, as the Hillbilly Hibachi food truck will be on-site. They ALWAYS sell out of food because it’s just that dang delicious.
Swift Silver chose Fat Baby Studios in Whitesburg, Kentucky to record this one. Kenny Miles handled the engineering, he also mixed and mastered the album. While Anna, John and Kenny all co-produced the project.
Now allow Anna and John to introduce themselves. I think this video is pretty important to understanding the depth of the music that lies within this record.
The first few notes you hear, as well as the underlying music, in the video above are the first notes of the album. Those live within “Blackbird’s Refrain” and it’s the first single. It’s a great introduction to what to expect from Swift Silver. What you find is abundant in spades. There’s Soul. There’s Gospel. There’s heart. There’s musicianship. There’s great harmonies and there’s the aforementioned vocal control right there, front and center. It’s the PERFECT introduction as to what to expect from Swift Silver.
I definitely want to shine a little light on the diversity of the music included on this album. So let’s talk a bit about the track, “Belleville Blues.” Anna is originally from Mississippi, so there’s a lot church in her voice. That’s a huge compliment if you aren’t aware.
See Mississippi is the birthplace of the Blues, and just like bluegrass here in the Commonwealth, those musical qualities are just ingrained in your DNA. Anna’s Blues roots are showcased prominently alongside some killer slide work on the guitar by John. I mean, what more do you really need? A definite favorite for me.
John Looney takes on lead vocal duties on only one song, that song is “The Fields Have Turned Brown.” This one caught me off guard upon first listen, as it felt like an old familiar friend, but more on that in a bit. I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself.
The song begins by building into an atmospheric swampiness, but vocally you’re presented with a wonderful example of the “High Lonesome Sound” that is the foundation of Bluegrass. Which, when you think about it, it’s a PERFECT example of blending Mississippi and Kentucky music together.
Well, it turns out, I was onto something, this song IS an old familiar friend. A song that I’ve heard many times in Church. It’s an old Stanley Brothers tune. DUH!! A song that I’m ashamed to say took a minute to ignite its’ memory. Especially since Dr. Stanley used to call and order songbooks from my Step Grandfather. I’ll hang my head in shame here and hopefully you’ll forgive me as we move on.
Now let’s talk about the second single off the self-titled album. This is one is called “Come On Home To Yourself.” A churning Southern Blues track that features vocals as hot as a firecracker, a powerful rhythm section, a little Billy Gibbons guitar tone, and all the attitude needed to pull it of.
Who has two thumbs and is raising them up for “Come On Home Yourself?” This guy!
The next song, is my absolute favorite cut. “We All Get Our Turn” is timeless. It’s simply flawless. It’s one of those songs that I will listen to for the rest of my life. The emotions, the calmness, the moaning and bellowing guitar, the sadness, is just beautiful.
If you want a starting point and a leg up on knowing the who, what and why of Swift Silver, “We All Get Our Turn” is the be all, end all. Haunting verses met with beautiful harmonies and a lonesome guitar elevate this song to the top of the ‘Swift Silver’ summit. “We All Get Out Turn” is their magnum opus.
There are very few things in music that excite me more than a song that uses dynamics to punctuate the lyrics. “Looking Back” is exactly what I’m talking back. Put your mind in the realm of The Beatles “Don’t Let Me Down.” The very first bar of music in, and I’m not only hooked, but I know immediately what the song is all about. “Looking Back” is not only dynamic, but it’s the perfect riverbed for Anna’s voice to flow easily and mightily, much like the Mighty Mississippi.
I hope this article serves you well in your quest for new music. Swift Silver has put together an album that showcases who Anna and John are individually, as well as collectively. That’s not an easy task.
‘Swift Silver’ will be available everywhere on June 6th.