From rural Ontario, My Sweet Patootie is an acoustic roots group that brings twining vocal harmonies, monstrous fingerstyle guitar, sizzling fiddle, percussion and abundant charisma together in one perfect package.
Complete with tall tales and corny jokes, My Sweet Patootie delivers a modern-day Music Hall show that Driftwood Magazine describes as "two parts exemplary musicianship, one part vaudeville comedy". Terry Young, Sandra Swannell and Bradford Nowak are skilled performers using a ditzy-like-a-fox approach to their craft. Their upbeat show will take you on an emotional carnival ride; carefully placing heart-breaking ballads between good-time finger-snapping tunes.
Terry Young and Sandra Swannell started MSP in 2007 as a duo. They are both Canadian Folk Music Award winners with a classical music background and a mutual love of swing, americana and country blues. From all these influences, the idea was born for creating a group that plays fun, folk-jazz music with deadly playing.
Their vintage sound is heavily influenced by the record collections owned by their fathers. Their childhood soundtracks included the likes of Glen Miller, Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Les Paul & Mary Ford and the Andrews Sisters. Throw in a penchant for light-hearted satire and their love of artists like Patsy Cline and Hank Williams and you get a sound that Young likes to call "Green Acres for the New Millennium".
My Sweet Patootie have performed hundreds of shows including theatres and festivals in Ontario, toured the US Eastern Seaboard as far as Virginia, three Midwest US and Canadian tours in Manitoba and British Colombia, and two month-long tours of Britain. They've been featured on Rich Warren's nationally-syndicated WFMT "Folkstage" live-to-air concert in Chicago, two performances on WVBR's "Bound for Glory" in Ithaca, NY and are regular guests on BBC Radio.
In the spring of 2012, MSP became a trio with the exciting addition of percussionist-vocalist Bradford Nowak. Nowak has been a collaborating musician with Kitchener Ontario's hugely popular VOC Silent Film Harmonic, performing live improvised soundtracks to classic silent movies. His extensive background in funk and jazz made him a perfect fit for Young's bass driven guitar style and the group's driving swing.
Sandra Swannell has been playing the violin her whole life. When she was four years old she'd attend kindergarten in the morning, then in the afternoon go home, put her pyjamas on and practice violin all afternoon. She is a classically trained violinist/ violist, but her style owes much more to the influences of Joe Venuti, Stuff Smith and StephaneGrappelli. Her diverse musical background ranges from recording with Canada's legendary Stompin' Tom Connors to writing a series of musical sketches for string orchestra. Sandra was the principal violist of the Georgian Bay Symphony, and fronted the Celtic art-rock band, The Shards before joining Tanglefoot in 2005.
Terry Young was one of those little kids who liked to sing every day walking home from school when he wasn't jumping in puddles. In high school he sang in rock and blues bands, then picked up the guitar after listening to artists like Bruce Cockburn and Chet Atkins and gained an interest in roots and jazz. Young's tremendous dexterity and aggressive approach to fingerstyle guitar has been described as "virtuosic" by BBC critic James Harrox, and "jaw dropping" by the Folk & Music Exchange. He has taught intermediate and advanced fingerstyle guitar clinics and has written about his guitar technique forChicago's Plank Road Folk Music Society Magazine. During his Tanglefoot years, he gained a reputation as a talented multi-instrumentalist; performing on guitar, mandolin and banjo. Terry is also a classically trained tenor and holds a Bachelor of Music from the University of Western Ontario.
The band's name "My Sweet Patootie" is a term of endearment popular in the 1920s and 30s meaning a "hot dame" or a "sassy sweetheart". Several ragtime titles from the jazz-age reference the expression, as do the lyrics of "Everybody Loves My Baby" (1924) by Spencer Williams and Jack Palmer. More significantly for Young and Swannell is the 1928 song "Sweet Patootie Blues" by Arthur "Blind" Blake who was well known for his complex and intricate finger picking. Terry and Sandra felt the term captured the vintage flavour of their music as well as the satirical edge of much of their song writing.
Canadian gospel-blues legend Ken Whiteley produced My Sweet Patootie's debut album "Nowheresville" (2008) at his Casa Wroxton studio in Toronto Ontario. It includes Dave Young (Oscar Peterson) on upright bass, Bucky Berger (Chilliwack) on drums, and graphic design by Juno award winner Michael Wrycraft.
The group took a different approach with their second album "Patootified!"(2010). It features only Young and Swannell and was recorded at Nowheresville Studios located at the couple's home, an historic one-room school house near Meaford, Ontario.
In May of 2013 My Sweet Patootie released "Good Day" (EBR103), their first full length album as a trio. With an expanded musical palette the group chose to give the recording the "kitchen sink treatment" - 3 part harmonies, slap-happy drums and horn lines, swirling string ensembles, gorgeous guitar solos, sparkling mandolin, ukelele, banjo and fiddle. It's a collection of 13 Sunday afternoon tunes from uplifting ballads to toe-tapping quirky ragtime-come-skiffle songs and ripping fiddle tunes.
High on the Niagara Escarpment, surrounded by sheep and dairy farmers, My Sweet Patootie creates songs that celebrate the quirkiness of rural and small town life. Whether it's cheeky finger-snapping swing or moving ballads, their songs have a universal message of living a simple life with charity, thrift, humour, thankfulness, stewardship, community and a passion for one's work.