Late last Friday night, Patrick Sweany took the stage at the Adelphia with all of the soulful singing and finger-strumming of the great legends of blues. A fellow Ohioan, Sweany grew up in Massillon, teaching himself guitar while listening to the likes of Houndog Taylor and Lightnin’ Hopkins. Some call him a blues man, but his unique sound and style are not influenced by one genre or another so much as they are an artful interpretation of everything good in music from the last century. Blues, folk, soul, bluegrass, 50’s rock, maybe some punk — it is not unusual for Sweany to play any combination in one night. Pair his raw talent with his charming presence on stage, and you’ll find yourself asking everyone you know, ‘why is this the first time I’ve heard Patrick Sweany!?’
This was, of course, my first reaction when my cousin in St. Louis introduced me to Sweany’s music by describing him as having the “stage presence like that of a soul great with the wit of a Cohen Brothers character.” I was overjoyed to find that he was coming to our very own Adelphia on July 5th, and he did not disappoint. Although it was a late show, the audience remained captivated until the very last chord, which was struck sometime after 1 am. He played a little bit of everything– including a handful of songs off the new album, ‘Close to the Floor,’ set to release on July 16th. I had a feeling that this was not the first time the majority of the audience had seen Patrick play, singing along and dancing to the faster rock songs.
After the show, I had a chance to chat with Patrick and ask him a few questions about the upcoming release:
(Me) First off, welcome to Marietta! I know you have been here before.
(Patrick Sweany) I have.
Me: What keeps you coming back?
PS: Mainly, you have a great place here! It’s a great club. It’s so odd for a club of this size to host touring bands and national acts, and for a town like Marietta it’s kind of an anomaly but we’ve always had such a great audience here, it always works. I have tons of friends here, they’re like family. So we try to come back every time we do an Ohio run. I’ve been playing gigs here in Marietta since 2001, maybe? A long time, over a decade.
Me: Wow, that is a long time. Where are you headed to next?
PS: We head up to Kent, Ohio tomorrow for their Kent Fest, it’s become a tradition, we’ve been doing it for a long time.
Me: I wanted to talk to you about your new album, “Close to the Floor.” How would you describe this album compared to your last few?
PS: With the scope, and sonically, it’s a bigger sound. I also think the song writing and the singing are much better. The process from writing to finished product is really focused. I’ve developed a pretty good relationship with the producer, Joe V. McMahan, we sort of built the band and decided on instrumentation. It was a good team effort, between all of the guys in the band and Joe.
Me: He also produced your last album, right?
PS: He did, yes. We’re pretty good friends, we speak each other’s language. He’s also not afraid to hurt my feelings when he needs to, you know? He’ll tell me if it’s not going to cut it and I need to do something better. He definitely set the bar high, but hopefully it works! I guess we’ll see.
Me: Well from our preview here tonight, it sounds like it’s working to me!
PS: Thank you, yeah it’s been a lot of fun to play the new songs. It’s always fun to expose people to the new material for the first time.
Me: Is this the first tour that you’ve played songs from the new album?
PS: No, we just finished almost three weeks through the mid-west and west coast, and then we were home for a few days before we played St. Louis, Chicago and Milwaukee.
Me: Do you have a favorite song off the album, one that you enjoy playing the most?
PS: I have been having a ton of fun playing “Working for You.” We’ve been playing “Every Gun” because we tend to stretch it out a little bit and rock out more, that’s a good one. The second song we played tonight, “It’s Spiritual,” that’s a really fun one to play live because Zack’s part is really cool, parts that I don’t have to play (he laughs). I truly enjoy playing them all, you know the rockers are always fun ones to get the crowd bumping.
Me: So what’s next for you and the band?
PS: Well this weekend marks the end of the tour for this part of the summer, we’ll have another run this fall. I’ll be on the road on a solo tour coming up shortly, and we will have our release show on the 16th in store in Nashville. After that, I guess we’ll see! Hopefully it gets some attention, people seem to be responding well.
Me: I’ve only heard good things. Thank you so much!
If you haven’t already, be sure to give this guy a listen. You don’t have to be a fan of the blues, or soul, or folk, to enjoy his music– you just have to like music.