Swift Silver’s self-titled debut marks a meaningful milestone for Southern songwriters Anna Kline and John Looney as a 180° (re)turn to their musical roots: the drawling tremolo of rhythm and blues, the redemptive strains of Southern gospel, and the twang of the rural soul. From the moment the listener presses play; from the mid-tempo album opener, the vocally empowering Belleville Blues, to the last track, a reflective ballad Ain’t Wrecked Yet, Swift Silver celebrates the tenets of Southern sound. This is a collection of songs cultivated in the dim lights of listening rooms and local jams, regional festivals and side street bars, as well as alone in the woodshed or crafted as an ensemble.
Kline’s vocal performances — on both lead and harmony — display an astonishing range of versatility and skill, her voice flows as smooth as a rippling river current. Looney gives a masterful performance on lead guitar, not only displaying his expertise as an integral sideman but also as a talented arranger, showcasing a finely-tuned ear for nuance and groove. Together, they drive the contagious electric surge of sound that is Swift Silver.
“This album speaks to the path we tread,” says Kline. It is lyrically insightful, eloquent — and timely when examined through the lens of current events. “These songs help us navigate lingering questions we daily seek to answer, they pulsate with discovery, and melodically confess the hunger to right a few wrongs.”
Anna and John’s collaboration spans 10 years of exploring the great expanse of the American songbook — touring, conspiring, songwriting — fused together by the Mississippi heat, molded in the mountain air of Western North Carolina, and flung free in the hills of Kentucky bluegrass. Swift Silver have an unmistakable sound conjured from an intense musical intimacy and this new album embodies a new era of Southern rock and soul.
Swift Silver was recorded at Fat Baby Studios in the mountains of eastern Kentucky, enlisting the help of brothers Kenny Miles and Hayden Miles. Kenny and Hayden not only comprised the album band — adding bass lines, keys and organ fills, as well as a few harmonies — Kenny was also at the helm as engineer and co-producer. The album includes eight original songs and an alluring cover of Carter Stanley’s The Fields Have Turned Brown, a purposeful nod to their lives as bluegrass musicians with some mighty powerful harmonies.
For the majority of their band life, Anna and John were known as the bluegrass duo Grits & Soul. With a history of major festivals and appearances under their belt, the time came where they felt led to explore new (and old) musical space. Thus, Swift Silver was born. “As collaborators and a couple, it’s all we’ve ever known. 2021 marks 10 years playing music and songwriting together,” Anna says. “We wrote our first few songs together and the course of our lives changed forever.
“As songwriters, we have that compulsion to write and play the music that we want to hear, to reflect our experiences and point of view, and to try and understand the human experience. There’s that inner whisper, that push in the gut to make music, to play, learn and collaborate with others, to develop our ideas and our musicianship, to explore song structure, and see what comes of opening up and channeling those influences. We appreciate being given the insight and ability to express ourselves in a musical way, to give voice to questions and longings that connect with each other and to share that with audiences.”