The chiming, descending guitar line that kicks off opening track First Of The Week isn’t just a melodic flourish; it’s a staircase leading listeners down from the heights of the tortured blues of Sweany’s last album, the death-scarred Close To The Floor, and into a place that’s calmer, more composed, but no less musically muscular.
Sweany uses elements of blues and related music – the winsome whine of a bottleneck on Tiger Pride, delicate Mississippi John Hurt fingerpicking on Long Way Down – to craft story songs that are, in the end, solidly in the realm of contemporary Americana. His lyrics paint vivid pictures, his singing is more soulfully nuanced than ever, and the arrangements are lean but mean (especially the stomping Back Home, where Sweany’s shouted vocals get an old-timey call and response from Laura Mayo and Alexis Saski). ’Rock and roll is here to stay,’ he sings. With any luck, Patrick Sweany is, too.