Robyn Hitchcock is one of England's most enduring contemporary singer/songwriters and live performers. A surrealist poet, talented guitarist, cult artist and musician's musician, Hitchcock is among alternative rock's father figures and is the closest thing the genre has to a Bob Dylan (not coincidentally his biggest musical inspiration).
Since founding the art-rock band The Soft Boys in 1976, Robyn has recorded more than 20 albums as well as starred in 'Storefront Hitchcock' an in concert film recorded in New York and directed by Jonathan Demme.
Blending folk and psychedelia with a wry British nihilism, Robyn describes his songs as 'paintings you can listen to'. His most recent album THE MAN UPSTAIRS is a bittersweet love letter to a vanishing world. Produced by legendary folk-rock svengali Joe Boyd (Pink Floyd, Nick Drake) the album was critically acclaimed by MOJO, UNCUT and THE QUIETUS.
"A gifted melodist, Hitchcock nests engaging lyrics in some of the most bracing, rainbow-hued pop this side of Revolver. He wrests inspiration not from ordinary life but from extraordinary imaginingsâ€¦" â€“ Rolling Stone
"As a performer, he's as much a wandering bard as a rock star." â€“ The Believer
Flaxen of hair, soul-tough and pretty as a diamond, with a tear in her voice filtered through '70s mariachi static, Emma Swift's music hearkens back to the golden age of music when singers sang your life back to you. It is a voice of pure heartbreak, delivering songs that are equal parts heart-worn and careworn, modern, insouciant, witty and feminist.
A lonesome-voiced singer and award-winning radio broadcaster in her hometown of Sydney, it was a move away from Australia to Nashville, Tennessee that inspired Emma to write and record her solo debut.
"I left Australia with two suitcases, three pairs of cowboy boots and enough vinyl to make sure the first piece of furniture I bought when I arrived in Tennessee was a record player. I went in search of songs, in search of kindred spirits, in search of mythical honky-tonks and late-night picking parties. I went with a dream no bigger than to find a place where music might matter as much to the town as it does to me," says Swift.
One of Australia's finest sad-song-singers, Emma's voice has always required the kind of backing that would do it justice, and thanks to Nashville-based Australian expat Anne McCue and a cast of A-team Nashville session pickers, Swift's songs have been wrought from (pedal) steel and amber, turquoise and honey.
The debut mini-album features Bryan Owings (Buddy Miller, Emmylou Harris, Iris Dement, Patty Griffin) on drums, Russ Pahl (John Hiatt, The Secret Sisters, Elton John) on pedal steel, James Haggerty (The Autumn Defense, Ruby Boots) on bass.
Opener 'Bittersweet' is of the type that once sold albums and singles by the millions, a heartbreaker to make one yearn for whiskey, a jukebox and a handful of dollar coins.
'King of America' sees Swift leaning hard, unashamedly even on the bluesy turn in her throat, with enough grit and power to have Loretta Lynn raising an eyebrow.
Swift wraps her golden voice around 'James', a true sad song of the kind that â€“ like waltzes â€“ once had Willie Nelson wondering if there was any reason to keep writing them. Of course, her treatment of the lyric leaves the listener in no doubt that she's hurting.
'Seasons', a staple of Swift's live set for years sounds like it belongs on a beat up AM radio some summer long ago.
The songs are imbued with an easy smile, vulnerability and toughness calling to mind artists like Lucinda Williams, Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt, Tammy Wynette, Hope Sandoval of Mazzy Star, or Margo Timmins of the Cowboy Junkies.
"Emma Swift possesses one of those voices that draws you in with its ache and emotional pull, characteristics that are essential to the creation and performance of authentic country music. She's one of those songwriters that can write and deliver songs that will have you crying alcohol stained tears, swaying along to stories of love won and lost." â€“ Chris Familton, No Depression
"A smoky voiced songbird brought up on a steady diet of Elvis Costello and Linda Ronstadt. Tune your dial to Emma Swift's sounds." â€“ Vinny Ramone, The Outpost â€“ 2SER
Robyn Hitchcock w/ Emma Swift