Session 191: Patrick Sweany

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July 06, 2018

Patrick Sweany likes the spaces in between.

On a given night (or on a given album) he'll swing through blues, folk, soul, bluegrass, maybe some classic 50s rock, or a punk speedball. He's a musical omnivore, devouring every popular music sound of the last 70 years, and mixing 'em all together seamlessly into his own stew. Yet, the one thing that most people notice about Patrick isn't his ability to copy - it's his authenticity. Like his heroes, artists like Bobby "Blue" Bland, Doug Sahm, Joe Tex, Patrick somehow manages to blend all of these influences into something all his own. 

It's no wonder that as a kid he immersed himself in his dad's extensive record collection: 60s folk, vintage country, soul, and, of course, blues. Patrick spent hours teaching himself to fingerpick along to Leadbelly, Lightnin' Hopkins, and other folk-blues giants. 

In his late teens, Patrick began playing the clubs and coffeehouses around Kent, OH. He quickly gained a reputation for the intricate country blues style he was developing: part Piedmont picking, part Delta slide - with an equally impressive deep, smooth vocal style. 

But Patrick wouldn't stay in the acoustic world for long. His love of 50s era soul and rock fused with the adrenaline-soaked garage punk revival happening throughout the Rust Belt pushed him to form a band. 

After 7 critically acclaimed records (two produced by longtime collaborator Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys), Patrick has expanded his touring radius to 49 states and Europe. He's played premiere festivals (Newport Folk Fest, Merlefest, Montreal Jazz Fest, Telluride Blues & Brews) and supported international acts such as The Black Keys, The Tedeschi Trucks Band, The Wood Brothers, Hot Tuna, and others on tour. 

His forthcoming record, Ancient Noise, comes out in Spring 2018. It was recorded at historic Sam Phillips Recording by acclaimed producer/engineer Matt Ross-Spang (Jason Isbell, Margot Price) and features an all-star backing band: Ken Cooper on drums (ex-Wilco), Ted Pecchio on bass (Doyle Bramhall II, Susan Tedeschi), and the legendary Charles Hodges on keys (Al Green). Ancient Noise is a great amalgam of Sweanys evolving sounds, from the gritty blues of the openers Old Time Ways and Up & Down, to the piano-based ballad Country Loving. We also added a lot more funk to this record, says Sweany. Theres a definite nod to the Deep South 70s sound of Allen Toussaint productions.

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