The Early Years
(independent, 2006)

The Canadian band SwingBridge offers what it calls "an eclectic mix of roots music," which is true enough, since they cover composers as diverse as Hoagy Carmichael, Ernest Tubb and Django Reinhardt, and music as diverse as Celtic, country, blues, swing jazz, Cajun, pop and even the rock instrumental "Walk Don't Run."

That might be a bit much for an EP. But what ties these eight tracks together is the laidback feel. The only professional-sounding vocalist is Eileen Blake, who sings on two songs. However, they all have a feel for what they sing (and don't make the mistake of trying too hard).

The beat is kept by rhythm guitar, bass and ukulele, while there are various guitar, fiddle and clarinet leads. No matter what style the band plays, it swings with deft syncopation. Most of the cuts have an old-time feel, whether it is rural like "Diggy Diggy Lo" or the modified Tin Pan Alley of "Sunny Side of the Street."

It's the kind of easy listening you can visit over and over.

[ visit the artist's website ]

review by
Dave Howell

30 June 2007

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