Richard Swift

Collection Vol. 1 (Secretly Canadian)

SXSW Records

Richard Swift

The Collection Vol. 1 (Secretly Canadian)

"I am New York, tired and weak. I try to write a book each time I speak." A master of easement, Richard Swift waltzes between measures and words. "Trying so hard to craft a rhyme with nickels and dimes," Swift's craftmanship is simple, tactful, lenitive. His first release on Secretly Canadian, The Collection Vol. 1, is the indie songwriter's first two albums on a 2-CD set. The Novelist is a dusty artifact of musical ebullience. Mandolins, clarinets, and guitar bring together the roaring Twenties with barbershop quartets, morphing Swift with Django Reinhardt. It's the early 20th century in 20 minutes flat. "Lovely Night" exudes Tom Waits, while closing lethargic showtune "Looking Back, I Should Have Been Home More" segues into modern times on horseback. Walking Without Effort is more mature, dabbling in Ron Sexsmith territory. Replacing the whimsical instrumentation is a rich bridge of Seventies horns and a full band. "Half Lit" touts Swift's warmth and vulnerability, but the double tracking of "Losing Sleep" empowers Swift with an intention usually reserved for elder stalwart songwriters. Held together by dynamic closer "Beautifulheart," Walking Without Effort is just another rung of Swift's ladder. (Saturday, March 18, 9:15pm @ Emo's Annex)

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