Emma Swift: Emma Swift

- Many of the things that Emma Swift has been involved with in the long lead-up to her self-titled EP would easily convince you of her deep and abiding commitment to country music. Most recently her radio show, Revelator, for a certain brand new, national broadcaster, but also the amount of time she’s spent getting the good stuff from the source, over in Nashville and her other musical project with Courtney Botfield, 49 Goodbyes.

Listening to 49 Goodbyes, you’ll hear the progression from a more general attachment to folky Americana, to a fulsome embrace of the roots of country music. Much as Emma herself has done, her record takes its time. Each song is slow and warm, indulging in the rich ringing of the slide guitar. The name of the EP’s first song and first single, Bittersweet, explicitly captures the emotional strings she’s pulling. It’s that slow feeling which so easily belongs to the wide and empty landscape, or the almost imperceptible passage of time, both so isolating and the cause of so much longing: all quintessentially country.

Despite the, at times nearly medicated pacing of the music, and the length of some of the tunes (King Of America clocks in at over eight minutes) it’s difficult to be bored by Emma Swift. Some of the thanks for that must go to the excellent group of musicians Swift has gathered around her, some of whom like drummer Bryan Owings have worked with A Grand Ol’ Opry’s worth of country stars, and others like pedal-steel strummer Russ Pahl working with just everyone - his contribution to this record is particularly obvious. Emma Swift isn’t KD Lang but her voice has the right balance of sweetness, sonorousness and just a hint of hard-life huskiness and she delivers classic lyrics with perfect poise.

Without reinventing the country sound and without even thinking about any of the current trends, Emma Swift has created something timelessly appealing. If it took its time getting here, it was all worth it.

- Chris Cobcroft.

Album Details

Album Title: Emma Swift
Artist: Emma Swift
Record Label: (Laughing Outlaw)