Swift Creek, an Americana band based in Raleigh NC, is proud to release "Winner Winner Chicken Dinner," their debut CD on the Vital Records label. The album was recorded at The Rubber Room in Chapel Hill, NC and produced by Jerry Brown, highly-regarded area musician (Shady Grove Band) and record producer. The band blends original material and interesting covers for a sound that is both refreshingly new and tenderly traditional. Songwriters Kevin Brown and Chris Martin of Swift Creek wrote six of the twelve tracks, while Justin Robertson, local musician and friend of the band, contributed another two original songs. Well-chosen covers rounding out the album include a Steeldrivers tune, a honky-tonk number by Richard Julian of The Little Willies, a Decemberists' song and finally, a tribute to country icon, Wanda Jackson.
The album's title track, "Winner Winner Chicken Dinner," was recorded around a 70-year-old RCA 77 ribbon microphone and sets the tone with a story/song about how to charm the ladies with culinary skills. Double entendres abound in this Kevin Brown original, but the band's three-part harmonies are no joke. Vocalist/guitarist Chris Martin takes the lead and is joined by Swift Creek's Casey Elder, who contributes a steamy guitar solo, and guest artist, Pattie Hopkins (Kickin' Grass band), who supplies tasty licks on the fiddle. "All Your Memories" (by Justin Robertson) is driven by Martin's powerful lead vocal and a dueling mandolin/fiddle break; while"Notice" (co-written by Brown and Martin) happily shows off Swift Creek's jam-band side, with guest banjo player, Hugh Moore (Rye Mountain Boys). Swift Creek's female vocalist, Ann Searcy, lends a hand with "It's Not You It's Me" the Little Willies cover, successfully evoking all that's good about honky-tonk. The band is given an assist on the track by talented guest, Andrew Marlin (Mandolin Orange), on piano.
Dennis Hoyle, the band's bass player ably anchors every song, with some noteworthy licks on "If It Hadn't Been For Love", a Steeldrivers cover that spotlights Swift Creek's powerful harmonies to full effect. Kevin Brown's skills as a songwriter and lead vocalist are evident in "Shoes," a tune that showcases Swift Creek's bluesy side. "The Raccoon Song," another of Brown's originals, is a straight-ahead bluegrass romp featuring blistering Bill Monroe-style mandolin playing from Casey Elder. Multi-instrumentalist Elder can be heard all over the CD, contributing guitar, mandolin, dobro and lap steel to the project.
On the gentler side, a trio of original songs on the CD take listeners down that tree-lined back road Americana musicians love to travel. "Beauty Lives" (written by Justin Robertson) is letter-perfect lyrically, with it's story of unrequited love borne on a lilting melody by Elder's mandolin, Martin's harmonica and Hopkins' fiddle. "On My Way," written and sung with conviction by Martin is a swingy tune about coming home to stay. "Rock Me Grandpa," penned by Kevin Brown in 1979 and previously recorded by Glenn Yarbrough and The Limeliters, closes the album's Americana journey with a sweet, sentimental nod to the past.
Kevin Brown- Guitar, Organ, Banjo, Vocals
Casey Elder- Guitar, Dobro, Lap Steel, Mandolin
Dennis Hoyle- Bass
Chris Martin- Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals
Ann Searcy- Vocals