Wednesday, October 26, 2016


Thom Swift's latest, The Legend Of Roy Black, came out back in June, but he's finally able to launch the album in his old home of Fredericton this Friday.  Of course, he did play as part of Hot Toddy at this year's Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival, so he had to put some space between that group gig and this one.  A Swift show at The Playhouse is always a fun homecoming, as he started his pro career in the city, after being raised in nearby McAdam. 

Since the album was released, it's been hailed by fans and honoured by Music Nova Scotia, where it's been nominated for Solo Recording of the Year, and Americana Recording of the Year.  Those are being handed out the first week of November in Truro.  In advance of this week's show, here's my original review of the new album.

                             THOM SWIFT - THE LEGEND OF ROY BLACK

No need to check Wikipedia to find out who this Roy Black is, and what makes him a legend. You'll find no bio, he's actually a friend of Swift's who he greatly admires, but other than that, you'll get no info. You'll have to glean how he earned the legendary status from the themes explored by Swift on his latest, as usual one rich in explorations of humanity and honesty, in small but still heroic terms.

Swift's created a song cycle that doesn't have an obvious plot to it, but does explore how strength of character has great rewards. Whether its friendship, loyalty, integrity or just plain goodness, what goes around often comes around. In Swift's lyrics, keeping it simple, and being respectful lead to personal rewards, not big ones but life ones. He chooses a wise cover to end in on, the great hit for Porter Wagoner, A Satisfied Mind, the answer to the question, "Who is the richest man in the world?"

The music side continues to be a great strength of Swift's, as he put together a tight unit for the set. Joining him are his long-time partner in the band Hot Toddy, Tom Easley on acoustic bass. Asa Brosius sweetens things with pedal steel and dobro, and the great J.P. Cormier adds perfection on mandolin, violin and banjo. Swift puts his resonator to fine use throughout, including two instrumentals where the ensemble gets to shine on some rambling, woodsy music.

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