World renowned musician Oliver Swain is returning to Powell River to launch his new CD ‘Never More Together‘ on Saturday, November 28th starting at 7:30 pm.
He will be pulling out all the stops, bringing two banjos, bass and guitar, some drone instruments and doing some light looping, says local musician and music promoter, Pat Buckna.
This album was recorded and mixed by Adrian Dolan at the stunning Risque Disque Studio in Yellow Point, Vancouver Island. And, according to Oliver,”I can’t convey the gratitude I feel for the amazing contributions made by my talented friends on this album, Adam Dobres, Emily Braden, Matthew Pease, Danuel Tate, James Whittle, Ben Sollee and of course, Adrian. Also of note was the contribution of Mr. Ridley Ben who co-wrote ‘No Strange Thing’ with me in his Winnipeg home last fall.”
Most of the songs for this album came into this world at the site of what was once the village of Opinaht, Maquinna Park, Clayoquot Sound. “The wild geography and lush wilderness of this place combined with the rich first nation history was the perfect environment for my wildest album to date,” Oliver said. “In the title track Never More Together, I explore my spirituality in this post deity worship era, in Maggie Molly and Raul I tell the story of two estranged lovers and their journey to togetherness. Apple Suckin Tree is an improvisation on sensuality and Old Dreams is an homage to those who cannot stand in the face of injustice and destruction. These songs are all so dear to me and more so now having been blessed with the incredible colleagues I worked with on this project.
Hailing from Victoria, BC, Oliver Swain is Canada’s quintessential folk and traditional musician. He eats, sleeps and breathes music and his prolific career evidences this in many ways. With his pure, finely tuned vocals that have an astonishing range, and his undeniable skill behind a banjo or upright bass, Oliver grabs the attention of all who hear him, and holds it with his enormous sound and stature. From the most vulnerable and innocent sounding banjo ditties to the brave and imposing bowed bass, Oliver delivers his own brand of alternative folk and traditional music to the masses with a smile and a twinkle in his eye.
Oliver has spent the last 15 years honing his craft, and this effort has taken him on a remarkable musical journey. He’s always been a bit of a music geek, collecting old wax cylinder records as a teenager, and being the only kid in school who claimed Robert Johnson as his favourite musician, in a time when grunge rock was on top.
Oliver joined The Bills when they were then known as the Bill Hilly Band in Victoria, and played with them until he decided to split town for the musical splendour of Winnipeg, Canada’s music export city. There he joined Scruj MacDuhk and with them released The Road to Canso prior to the band continuing on as The Duhks.
Winnipeg also introduced Oliver to fiddler Jeremy Penner and singer Ruth Moody, and the three went on to form Moody, Penner and Swain, releasing Southbound and kicking off a series of pilgrimages south of the Canadian border to the heart of the Appalachians. It was on this journey Oliver solidified his love for traditional southern folk music, and he later moved to Louisiana to perform with the well known Red Stick Ramblers for a year’s tenure. Swain then decided to bring the music back home to Victoria, where he helped form popular folk group Outlaw Social releasing two critically acclaimed albums, and touring extensively for several years.
Since Outlaw Social’s demise, Oliver has invested the last several years in playing solo shows across Canada, building an enormous fan base, and finally releasing his solo debut, In a Big Machine. Oliver still enjoys life in Victoria, keeping busy as a respected session player, playing shows and planning his next jaunt across the country. He’s also recently toured internationally as a sideman with Juno Award winner Toni Childs, and lends his time to being Artistic Director with the Lower Island FolkFest Society, creating the up and coming Victoria music festival; Folk West.
Oliver’s career on the stage has seen him tour through much of North America, Australia and Europe, highlighted by appearances at Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary and Winnipeg Folk Festivals, Mountain View Music Fest and the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, and sharing stages with the likes of Ridley Bent, Dustin Bengal, and Marc Savoy, among others. He’s a two time Prairie Music Award recipient (The Bills) and shared a 2008 WCMA nomination for Outstanding Roots Group with Outlaw Social.
Help fill Cranberry Community Hall this Saturday and enjoy Oliver Swain’s music; tickets are available at Rockit Music and Breakwater Books, $18 advance and $20 at the door.