|You can still buy
SWAG's 2001 CD Catch-all
from Amazon.com [$8.59], Amazon.co.uk
(or download it from Amazon or iTunes - $0.89 per track) (soundclips available)
Many fabulous reviews of Catch-all are further down the page - click here or scroll down
Also see Press page.
Note: Due to problems with ads, you may need to right-click links and Open in New Window
Robert Reynolds' new EP "Good Night, Rock&Roll" digital version now available, July 12, 2017.
Physical CD release by Aug 1, 2017.
Email Robert to order
(Art shown is for digital version - actual CD will have different art)
If you have difficulties due to the display on this page being askew because of the ads, contact us
We're trying to resolve the issue.
Good Night, Rock&Roll:
Sink or Swim
You Turned the Music up in My Head
Good Night, Rock&Roll
"One thing I love about Reynolds’ music is that he is not one to pigeon-hole himself in to one style of music, he has a love of different genres of music and whilst in one song he can be exploring his liking for rock music, in the next he can be delving in to his country-bluegrass roots."Robert's Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/
ES, Maverick magazine (UK)~~~~~~~
Jul 10, 2017: Now reissued and available - Audrey in a Dream (2003)
Email Robert to order
See lower down the page for tracklisting and musicians on this EP.
Scroll down the page for Robert's previous solo music:
Also available to purchase online:
Robert Reynolds' CD Audrey In A Dream - email Robert to order (read review here)
Jerry Dale McFadden's two albums, Stand and Cast A Shadow and This Girl from Amazon.com & Amazon.co.uk
(see below for further information)
and Scotty Huff's Assorted from Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk - available also as an Amazon mp3 download.
You'll find even more information on SWAG and the individual artists and their music on Australian website Trampoline.
Watch SWAG play "I'll Get By" on the Conan O'Brien Show, 2001.
SWAG contributed Early Morning, Cold Taxi to
Who tribute CD, The New Sell Out. Finally,
on May 28, 2012, this tribute CD was released as
a $7 download by Futureman
Records. There are 26 tracks, though
5 are listed as 'commercial break".
You can, however, find the SWAG track, Early Morning, Cold Taxi, on YouTube.
Click here to listen to it.
Robert Reynolds, Jerry Dale McFadden, Doug Powell & Ken Coomer are the musicians. Producer is Brad Jones.
|Robert Reynolds is on
Listen to some of Robert Reynolds' unreleased tracks on his
Digital Rodeo page.
Or listen to each track separately by clicking these links:
(read review here)
Musicians: Robert Reynolds, Steve Allen, Al Perkins, Jerry Dale McFadden, Courtland Joyce, Paul Deakin, Matt Slocum, Jennifer Nicely.
|Left: Audrey In A
Dream, 2003 (reissued July 10, 2017)
She Brings The Rain
Waiting On A Train
Audrey In A Dream
NEW Jul 10, 2017: Buy Audrey in a Dream from Robert - send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org
See our News Archive for the stories behind the songs on Audrey In A Dream.
* * * * *
Right: The Wintersky Works, 2005
Did Someone Say Goodbye?
Sweet On Me
Lonely Feels Like You
God as a Gun
Pretty Like You
(read review here)
Musicians: Robert Reynolds, Mike McAdam, Paul Deakin, Al Perkins, Jerry Dale McFadden, Scotty Huff and Penny Jones.
Produced by Steve Allen and Robert Reynolds.
Cover photo: Deone Jahnke
|SWAG contributed Don't Bring Me
Down to the 2002 Jeff
Lynne Tribute CD Lynne Me Your
left. Details and tracklisting in the News archive.
photos from the recording session can be found here.
The 2-CD set is still available from Amazon.com ($8.99) and Amazon.co.uk (£7.49) as a download.
Listen to Don't Bring me Down on YouTube.
Left: 7" vinyl (Diesel Records, 8/99)
Sweet Lucinda (Reynolds, McFadden) Jerry Dale McFadden - vocals.
Every Little Truth (Reynolds, McFadden) Robert Reynolds - vocals.
Musicians: Robert Reynolds, Paul Deakin, Jerry Dale McFadden, Tom Petersson, Rick Nielsen and Richard McLaurin (Farmer Not So John)
Right: Different Girls
2. Different Girl
3. When She Awoke
Released March 13, 2001
Photos from the recording session can be found here.
Robert Reynolds - guitar, vocals, kitchen sink.* See photos
Jerry Dale McFadden - keyboards, vocals
Scotty Huff - guitar, horns, vocals
Doug Powell - guitar, vocals
Ken Coomer - drums, percussion, vocals
Tom Petersson - bass
Still available to purchase from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk and available to download from Amazon or iTunes.
Producer: Brad Jones
Catch-all reviews below:
1. Lone (Reynolds, McFadden, Huff)
2. I'll Get By (Powell, Lloyd)
3. Near Perfect Smile (Reynolds, McFadden, Powell)
4. Please Don't Tell (Reynolds, McFadden, Powell, Coomer, Huff)
5. When She Awoke (Powell, Petersson)
6. Louise (Reynolds, McFadden, Huff)
7. Different Girl (Reynolds, McFadden, Huff)
8. You (Reynolds, McFadden, Coomer, Petersson, Lewis, Lancio)
9. Eight (Coomer, Powell)
10. Trixie (Reynolds, McFadden, Powell, Petersson, Coomer, Jones)
11. Ride (Reynolds, McFadden, Powell, Coomer, Huff)
12. She's Deceiving (Reynolds, McFadden, Powell, Coomer, Huff)
(a) Let It Go (Reynolds, McFadden)
(b) Your New One (Reynolds, McFadden)
1. Robert Reynolds - lead vocals.
2. Doug Powell - vocals, Bill Lloyd - guitar and background vocals.
3. Robert Reynolds - vocals; Jim Hoke - harmonica.
4. Jerry Dale McFadden & Robert Reynolds - vocals.
5. Doug Powell - vocals; Robert Reynolds - kitchen sink.
6. Jerry Dale McFadden - vocals; Chris Carmichael - strings.
7. Scotty Huff - guest vocals
8. Jerry Dale McFadden & Robert Reynolds - vocals; Tom Petersson - bass.
9. Ken Coomer - vocals; Doug Powell - guitar.
10. Jerry Dale McFadden - vocals; Doug Powell - harmonium.
11. Jerry Dale McFadden - vocals; Kenny Vaughn - lead guitar.
12. Robert Reynolds - vocals; Kenny Vaughn - lead guitar.
(a) Jerry Dale McFadden - vocals
(b) Robert Reynolds - vocals
Jon Anderson - composer
Jerry Cantrell - composer
Steve Howe - composer
Russ 'Russwell' Long - producer, engineer
Rick "Soldier" Will - producer, engineer
Robin Eaton - producer, assistant engineer
F Reid Shippen - assistant engineer
Jim DeMain - mastering
Mark Tucker - photography
Jim Herrington - photography
Brad Talbott - design
Jerry Dale McFadden
(available on iTunes)
1. This Girl (Jerry Dale McFadden/Christopher Wyant)
2. Let It Go (Jerry Dale McFadden/Robert Reynolds)
3. Catch Yourself (Jerry Dale McFadden/Gore)
4. The Remembering (Jerry Dale McFadden/Gore)
5. Hope For The Best (Jerry Dale McFadden)
6. Stand, Whisper, Fall (Jerry Dale McFadden/Robert Reynolds/Leaver)
7. Man In The Box (Jerry Dale McFadden/Christopher Wyant)
8. Waking Moments (Jerry Dale McFadden/Christopher Wyant)
9. If Lovin' Is A Sin (Jerry Dale McFadden)
10. Almost Home (Jerry Dale McFadden/Gore)
11. Call For Love (Jerry Dale McFadden)
Jerry Dale McFadden - guitar, piano, piano (electric), keyboards, wurlitzer, vocals
Robert Reynolds - guitar (acoustic), vocals (background), guitar
Tammy Rogers - violin
Ben Folds - drums
David Jacques - fretless bass, bass (upright)
Matt Slocum - guitar, cello, guitar (electric)
Eric Elliot - guitar (acoustic)
Rob DeHart - bass
Kevin Hornback - bass
Tom Petersson - bass
Ken Lewis - percussion, drum loop, drums
Tom Lewis - drums
Jay Bennett - guitar
Ken Coomer - drums
Wade Jaynes - bass
Brad Jones - guitar (acoustic), bass, vocals, engineer, drum programming, producer, guitar
Doug Lancio - dobro, guitar
Cast a Shadow, 1986
Jerry Dale McFadden
(available on iTunes)
1. Stand And Cast A Shadow (Jerry Dale McFadden)
2. Waitin' in Your Welfare Line (Owens/Rich/Stuckey)
3. Into the Fire (Gibson/McQueary)
4. B-I-Bickey-Bi, Bo-Bo-Go (Carter/Nalls/Rhodes)
5. Sunset Died When the Whores Went Away (Greg/Mann/Jerry Dale McFadden)
6. In the Morning (Jerry Dale McFadden)
7. Country Beats the Hell Outa Me (Jerry Dale McFadden)
8. Mother May I (Jerry Dale McFadden)
9. This Train Is Calling My Name (Jerry Dale McFadden)
10. Flames (True)
11. Eileen (Jerry Dale McFadden)
Jerry Dale McFadden - piano, accordion
|REVIEWS - Catch-all
In a dozen tunes, the all-star cast of SWAG (including Wilco's Ken Coomer, the Mavericks' Jerry Dale McFadden and Robert Reynolds, and Cheap Trick's Tom Petersson) offers a figurative catch-all of smart pop/rock.
When an album starts out chiming the hook "doodle-ly doo doo, dwee diddle doo doo" you can safely assume the band has a yen for unabashed pop, but what makes the flavor of even the most bubblegum moments of Catch-all last is the group's astonishing craft, sophistication and energy.
Revolver-inspired nuggets (Lone) to tender
ballads (Near Perfect Smile) that might make
Elliott Smith quiver in envy, to raw rockers (Eight
and Ride) that hint at the band's live
thrust, Catch-all isn't supposed to be
subtle. The fingerprints of Ronnie Lane, Brian
Wilson, Paul McCartney and the Zombies are all over
this thing, but it never stoops to kitsch.
Finally, someone put the super back in supergroup.
The drawer on the cover of SWAG's Catch-all contains enough pop-culture flotsam to keep eBay busy for a week - those glasses belong to Wilco drummer Ken Coomer, and there's a Cheap Trick guitar pick, a Yellow Submarine pin, a Spiro Agnew watch. The album title and its cover signify the intent of this side project for members of Wilco, Cheap Trick, and the Mavericks - it catches the music not covered by their day jobs.
"This was the antithesis of other experiences that we were all having", says Robert Reynolds - better known as bassist for the Mavericks - who formed SWAG with Coomer, Cheap Trick's Tom Petersson, Nashville singer-songwriter Doug Powell, and Jerry Dale McFadden, who's backed the Mavs and Sixpence None the Richer. "I have always been very pleased to do the Maverick thing - still feel that way. But it comes with a price. You end up taking on certain roles in those groups. That gets cemented in, and that's it."
SWAG began a few years ago on the Mavericks tour bus as Reynolds and McFadden looked for an additional outlet for their music. "Like anything", Reynolds says, "too much of one thing has you wanting more of another thing, has you wanting something else." Membership stayed fluid - Mavericks drummer Paul Deakin came and went early on, and the occasional Nashville live date has featured Bill Lloyd and producer Brad Jones - solidifying only when North Carolina label Yep Roc asked to release a SWAG album. "You get together, and it is the most family atmosphere I've had in a long, long time from any situation", Coomer says.
The music's pure power-pop, from the Beach Boys harmonies on When She Awoke to the Zombies-like chord progression of Please Don't Tell. SWAG hooks listeners in with ultra-catchy melodies that echo Badfinger and early Todd Rundgren. Cheap Trick gets name-checked, appropriately, on Ride. And, true to power-pop form, three of the album's songs bear the names of girls - Louise, Trixie, and Lone.
Back to that album cover: If you look carefully near the top right corner, you'll see a small band of gold - Reynolds' wedding ring from his former marriage to country singer Trisha Yearwood.
"I did that with a sense of humor and certainly, with my really awesome relationship with Trisha, I can do it with a little more confidence than if it was ugly", he says. "I thought it was kind of appropriate, because a catch-all drawer catches things that are not being used. They've just kind of collected there. Obviously, I wouldn't throw away my wedding band - I just wouldn't wear it anymore."
Catch-all (Yep Roc)
Take members from Wilco, the Mavericks, Sixpence None The Richer, and Cheap Trick, hole them up in Nashville, and you get something approaching a pop-rock masterpiece.
Sound unlikely? Listen to Trick's Tom Petersson howl through I'll Get By or the massed harmonies on the hard-rocking Please Don't Tell and you'll know SWAG has some wondrously eclectic, Merseybeat-meets-the- Flamin'-Groovies mojo working.
If all the kids who bought the Beatles' 1 bought this, too, guitar-powered pop would be in great shape.
Rating: AReviewed by Ken Tucker
Entertainment Weekly Magazine
March 23, 2001 issue
SWAG is a sort-of super-group, a “pick-up” band whose members serve primarily as side-men in their day jobs with Wilco, Cheap Trick, The Mavericks, and Sixpence None the Richer (plus solo artist Doug Powell). Catch-all, their debut full-length CD, is an enormously good-natured, very catchy batch of songs. A collection of work recorded over the course of several years, the CD’s 12 power-pop tunes comprise a consistent album that holds together remarkably well.
The band’s name is self-effacing - the word “swag” implies that there’s no thought behind the music, that it’s all the product of some “simple wild-ass guess”. But if that describes the band’s origins and free spirit, it says nothing of the high quality of music contained on the CD. At just over 35 minutes, the CD speeds by, one Beatle-esque gem after another. The songs are well crafted and arranged - they are immediately grabbing, and many of them are memorable. The vocal harmonies are gorgeous (especially on the terrific, McCartney-esque Different Girl, one of the CD’s few ballads), and the musicianship is (of course) superb.
The songs are so consistent that it’s hard to choose a few highlights, and since they are written in collaboration, singling out a leader doesn’t really fit with the overall vibe of the project. My favorite songs tend to be those sung by The Mavericks’ Robert Reynolds, whose voice is surprisingly good. And Wilco’s Ken Coomer turns in a Chris Mars-like effort with the joyously earnest Eight, which features a fun, fat baritone guitar solo.
Think of SWAG as the '60s pop answer to Golden Smog. No mere novelty act, Catch-all is the sound of seasoned vets playing music that they love for the fun of it. Highly recommended for fans of The Beatles 'sound', with hints of Cheap Trick and The Replacements here and there.Reviewed by: Lee Zukor
|SWAG: Something From
What happens when members of Wilco, Cheap Trick and the Mavericks get together on their days off in Nashville to make a little "out of the box" music?
Absolute pop magic. Catch-all (Yep Roc Records), the debut album by the off-duty band playfully named SWAG (it means "promotional freebies" in the music industry), deliberately and audaciously flaunts its pop influences, practically daring the listener to identify its origins. And yet the disc is wholly original and wildly successful at recapturing the pure passion of power pop.
The core of the group is guitarist Robert Reynolds (Mavericks), keyboard player and studio stalwart Jerry Dale McFadden, drummer Ken Coomer (alt-country heroes Wilco), guitarist Doug Powell and bassist Tom Petersson (Cheap Trick, John Lennon). Guests who found their way into the studio include Nashville guitar slinger Kenny Vaughn, horn player Scotty Huff (Mavericks) and Bill Lloyd (guitar and vocals).
In lesser hands, the defiantly twee melody of Lone could have been a disastrous beginning, but by the time the instruments kick in with their infectious jangle, the ear is caught in an inescapable and transcendent sonic net for exactly two minutes, and by the end of the number SWAG's contumacious statement has been made.
The fun continues with the Beatlesque Please Don't Tell, the Todd Rundgrenish When She Awoke, the World Party-like You, the love-struck, Paul McCartneyish Near Perfect Smile, the triumphantly poppy Eight featuring a killer baritone guitar solo by Powell), the brazen "hair band" spin of Ride and the delightfully playful ascending/ descending chord changes of Louise.
The only clunkers are the string-heavy ballad Different Girl and the closer, She's Deceiving, which sound like the band was trying too hard for overly sweet confections. As for the rest of SWAG's Catch-all, the songs grow better with each listen. Repeat when necessary. (To hear a free Sound Bite from this album, call Post-Haste at 202-334-9000 and press 8163.)
Yep Roc Records 4 stars
Thirty five minutes of honest-to-goodness pure power pop goodie comes courtesy of this underground supergroup. Cheap Trick's Tom Petersson, the Mavericks' Robert Reynolds, free agent Jerry Dale McFadden (once billed as ''The S&M Cowboy'' in his days as a Reptile Records solo artist, but that's another story), ex-Wilco drummer Ken Coomer and solo artist Doug Powell are SWAG's official members, but they get instrumental assists from Bill Lloyd, producer Brad Jones, Chris Carmichael, Jim Hoke and Kenny Vaughn, and a guest vocal from Scotty Huff.
The music is highly derivative, and that's not an insult. Songs will immediately remind listeners of the Beach Boys, The Hollies, The Beatles and Cheap Trick. Intricate - often poignant - melodies are here in abundance, as are vintage keyboards, ebullient harmonies, bright guitars and drumming that crashes and rolls like Ringo.
It's a sweet little album: an offering from music fans to music fans. Mostly adoration, and just enough inspiration. When She Awoke stacks layers of harmonies atop a memorable melody, starting softly and ending with a cinematic flourish, with Brad Jones' gurgling bass holding down the fort. Ride is a joyful summons to lost days and loud rock 'n' roll, and She's Deceiving is as close as we'll ever get to a brand new Beatles song.
Only one question: where can I get this on vinyl?
Yep Roc <>
Super pop group SWAG finally have a full-length CD to back up their stellar EP and 7" releases.
Comprised of Not Lame recording artist Doug Powell, Cheap Trick's Tom Petersson, ex-Maverick and BR5-49er Jerry Dale McFadden, Wilco's Ken Coomer, and Maverick Robert Reynolds, SWAG wear their Pop-tributes proudly. Beatles and Badfinger clearly there at the top. Jellyfish on the contemporary side. No faults for that. Terrific songs and production. Jangly, somber, and punchy mostly. Quite terrific! Four of the songs come from the aforementioned singles, while eight tunes are brand spanking new.
Different Girl 10"
SWAG is the all star band that includes Robert Reynolds and Jerry Dale McFadden (from the Mavericks), Tom Petersson, Ken Coomer (Wilco), Doug Powell and Scotty Huff. Not only are there four tracks on this 10" single (yep, it's vinyl) but Winston Smith did groovy retro artwork on both sides of the disc. Tracks include: Lone, Different Girl, When She Awoke and Louise.<>
Miles of Music
SWAG consists of Ken Coomer (Wilco), Jerry Dale McFadden (The Mavericks), Robert Reynolds (The Mavericks), Doug Powell (from Not Lame Records) and Tom Petersson out of Cheap Trick. You'll have seen his name on quite a few albums.
This sounds like a 'lost' '60s album by a band who sound like an American band jumping on the Beatles bandwagon. Even the titles have a familiar ring to them, She's Deceiving, Ride, Different Girl, Please Don't Tell, When She Awoke etc. If you listen to You, you'd swear it was a great McCartney song left over from the 'White Album' or 'Let It Be'. Very strange indeed. What it all boils down to is a pastiche concept album. Lots of 'carry your books home' lyrics, innocent young love songs. The band sing more about 'summer' and 'school' so they are obviously American.
And in the end the album and band may be having fun, but they do it extremely well and it is infectious. It's also nice to hear something that's lighthearted and doesn't sound like it's a collection of someone else's problems.
The right single, the right DJ, you never know. They do sound better with every listening.cj
|Acts Playing South by
SWAG is a Nashville supergroup of sorts, though if you're looking for country, you've got the wrong band.
Composed of Ken Coomer (Wilco), Tom Petersson (Cheap Trick), Jerry Dale McFadden (Sixpence None the Richer), Robert Reynolds (Mavericks), and Doug Powell, SWAG delves into a brand of pop that borrows a lot from latter-day British invasion bands like Badfinger and the Hollies, with passing nods to the Beach Boys and (of course) Cheap Trick.
One might think that a band exploring such territory would find nothing but overwrought cliches and bad Wings imitations, yet SWAG takes sweet harmonies, sing-along melodies, tightly constructed guitar lines, and sparingly used synthesizer to construct a delightful debut.
Stylistically, it's all in the same mode, though some tracks do stand out. I'll Get By has a big beat, ringing guitars, and so many hooks it could be a long-lost Cheap Trick out-take, while the breezy Ride is a throwback to the halcyon days of Top 40 pop, and Please Don't Tell is perfectly orchestrated piece of fluff with soaring harmonies. Maybe rock isn't dead after all. (Thursday, March 15, Continental Club, 11pm)
With a lineup that includes former Wilco drummer Ken Coomer, The Mavericks' Jerry Dale McFadden and Robert Reynolds, Todd Rundgren sideman Doug Powell, and Cheap Trick bassist Tom Petersson, SWAG are a supergroup out to win hearts with unabashed pop songs.
"Doodle-ly doo doo, dwee diddle doo doo", Reynolds sings on the Hollies-like opener, Lone. It may be the most perfect two-minute burst of ringing 12-string guitar you hear all year. More importantly, it's a lot of fun. Powell takes over lead vocals on I'll Get By, which sounds somewhat like Petersson's day job band and which features Nashville pop veteran Bill Lloyd on guitar. Another Nashville pop genius, Brad Jones, produced the record and played bass when Petersson was busy with Rick, Robin, and Bun E.
On Please Don't Tell, SWAG marries a melody swiped from The Zombies to a Dave Davies freak-out guitar solo to create '60s pop nirvana. Near Perfect Smile is a sweet acoustic ballad that wouldn't sound out of place in the Elliott Smith catalog. Different Girl is a Beach Boys-like charmer, and When She Awoke is majestic pop that may remind you of other deft assimilators like Jellyfish.
While it's fun to play spot the influences, though, Catch-all never sounds like a collection of genre exercises. It's a thoroughly modern collection that stands up pretty well on its own, thanks to the combined talent and energies of the individual members.
I used to believe you could judge the quality of an album by the number of songs with girls' names in the title, and Catch-all has several (Louise, Trixie). And you've got to love a band that mentions themselves in one of their songs. On the rocker Ride, McFadden sings, "Have you ever seen Swag play live? / Did you dig the show? / I've got tickets for tomorrow night / Let's go." I didn't need the subliminal advertising to get me there.
Yep Roc Records
There's nothing quite like success to lock a band's hierarchy permanently into the status quo. As talented - yet decidedly supporting - members of such durable chart denizens as Wilco, The Mavericks and Cheap Trick, the musicians in SWAG know all about this, er, 'George Harrison Syndrome'.
SWAG's nebulous beginnings go back to 1996, when Mavericks' bassist Robert Reynolds and "A-list" session/touring keyboardist Jerry Dale McFadden discussed the need for a side project to serve as an open-ended creative outlet. Cheap Trick bassist Tom Petersson, Wilco drummer Ken Coomer and talented multi-instrumentalist Doug Powell joined the fold as time allowed, and SWAG became an intermittent reality.
Catch-all reprises four previously released (as limited-edition singles and a 10-inch picture disc EP) tracks and adds another eight gem-cut originals, which brilliantly reflect the tenor, tone and time (12 songs in a breezy 35:37) of classic Top 40 AM rock 'n' roll.
Cut loose from the well-defined roles of their 'day jobs', the SWAG-ers freely swap instruments and vocal chores, while the songs are co-written by the band in just about every permutation possible. Through it all, amazingly, there is a clear, cohesive band identity and sound.
Considerable credit for this last is due former Iowa Citian Brad Jones, whose typically stellar work as producer, engineer, mixer and occasional bassist at his Alex The Great Recording studio in Nashville, Tenn., provides spot-on flourishes and nostalgia-inducing context for the project.
Although original, the tunes on Catch-all keep a loving eye in the rear-view mirror, with the resulting disc's feeling like an extremely hip, well-picked mix tape. The first two are - to these ears - the slightest, but there truly ain't a runt in the litter.
With the exception of the giddy Ride (a joyful, name-checking salute to rockin' on wheels), the songs are all written about (or to) girls and are delivered with a cheery, poignant naivete worthy of pre-"Rubber Soul" Fabs. Speaking of whom, Near Perfect Smile and Different Girl are like long-lost, prime McCartney pillow-weepers; Please Don't Tell slaps a Cavern Club Lennon on early-Kinks raunch, and lush, Beatle-esque backing vocals pop up here, there and everywhere.
"Trixie" could slip sweetly onto The Zombies' classic "Odessey & Oracle", "You" exquisitely cops everything not nailed down on Todd Rundgren's "I Saw The Light"; Eight evokes prime, thumping Dave Clark Five, and the spunky Louise is obviously much, much more than "just a barmaid".
Elegant, pure-of-heart and thoroughly ebullient, Catch-all is as close to perfect as a pop record has been in quite awhile. SWAG recently has been forced to change its name to 'American Swag' for legal reasons, but by any name, this band of inspired second-fiddlers is strictly top drawer.
SWAG was originally conceived by Jerry Dale McFadden and Robert Reynolds while touring with The Mavericks. Over thousands of miles and countless hours, they shared their mutual love of pop music and the concept of a utopian pop-rock band.
After enlisting some of their like-minded peers, Tom Petersson (Cheap Trick), Ken Coomer (ex-Wilco) and Doug Powell, they hit the studio. The results, found on the debut full-length Catch-all, embody both the fun-loving nature of SWAG and their amazing songwriting skills.
Classic Pop meets indie rock in this mix of tunes so hummable, they're honestly addictive.
Yep Roc Records
Does the idea of a supergroup scare you? Granted, when artists from different bands come together to work on a "project", the results too often don't live up to the potential or hype. Perhaps this happens because the sessions are informal and the atmosphere is very loose, not exactly a great setting for inspiration. That said, do not be afraid of the latest supergroup, SWAG, or their CD Catch-all.
SWAG was formed when Robert Reynolds and Jerry Dale McFadden, two members from the country band, The Mavericks, decided they wanted to explore making an album of songs in the style of sixties and seventies pop-rock. Before you can say "Chris Gaines", they hooked up with like-minded artists such as Cheap Trick bassist Tom Petersson (obviously no stranger to seventies pop), singer/songwriter Doug Powell, and Ken Coomer, the drummer for the alt-country band, Wilco.
Catch-all is a virtual tour-de-force of classic pop. On each track, the listener gets to play the game, name that influence, starting with the faux-British Invasion opener, Lone. Granted, absolutely no new ground is broken here, but what makes Catch-all so enjoyable is the attention to detail the band gives these songs, including the most important detail of all: these songs are incredibly catchy.
Powell was certainly serious about this project. The two songs he co-wrote and sings on Catch-all sound like they could have made it to one of his solo albums. In fact, When She Awoke did appear in demo form on his CD, Curiouser. In Catch-all, producer Brad Jones fleshes out the song in all its glory, making it sound like a tender ballad that George Harrison might have written for the Beatles. The other song Powell wrote is much different. I'll Get By is a rocker that frankly I cannot trace the influence. Powell sings this one with great intensity, and it is not the type of feel-good song that dominates the CD. It has this great line: "Our love was just a play / I never paid to see / but your little tragedy / it's all Greek to me."
Catch-all alternates between ballads and rockers, for the most part very smoothly. One exception is the sweet folk-rock ballad, Near Perfect Smile, and the garage-band stomper, Please Don't Tell, which are good songs on their own, but a bit of a rough transition hearing them back to back. These two songs do show the versatility of Reynolds as a singer, considering he is not the lead singer of his own band.
McFadden, the other Maverick, has a distinctively high-pitched voice but puts it to very good use on songs like the very catchy Louise, the cute Paul McCartneyesque number, Trixie, and on the other end of the spectrum, the rocking Ride. He can also be heard singing in unison with Reynolds on the aforementioned Please Don't Tell, and on You, a bluesy pop song recalling something John Lennon might have written for the Beatles around 1968 or 1969.
By now, you've figured out that the Beatles are a huge influence on Catch-All, so much so that Coomer's one singing contribution, Eight, basically sounds like, for better or worse, the Ringo song on a Beatles album. At least, the Beatles songs they reference aren't obvious ones like "I Want To Hold Your Hand".
Other influences on Catch-all range from the Beach Boys on the pretty ballad, Different Girl to Ride, which not only sounds like In Color-era Cheap Trick, but mentions Cheap Trick in the lyrics, just in case you didn't get the reference. She's Deceiving is the closing number and with its soft and loud passages, it pretty much sums up the whole CD.
Is Catch-all a great album? Hardly. SWAG won't make anyone forget the bands or the albums that they are emulating, but if you like the artists they like, it is definitely a fun listen. Everyone sounds like they were having fun making it, but they also sound like they were serious about getting it right. So for that, you could call this an anti-supergroup album.
© 2001 George
Agnos and "The Daily Vault".
|Catch-all, SWAG (Yep Roc Records)
SWAG is a Nashville "supergroup" composed of Robert Reynolds and Jerry Dale McFadden, both of the now-defunct Mavericks, as well as former Wilco drummer Ken Coomer, Cheap Trick bass player Tom Petersson, and solo artist Doug Powell. As its title suggests, their debut album is a catch-all of such pop influences as the Beach Boys, Big Star, and the Kinks - to name just a few - and the band relies on them very heavily for direction and inspiration.
Songs like I'll Get By and Ride sound like vintage Cheap Trick, and When She Awoke contains some very Beach Boyish ba-ba-bas and lush orchestration. Both Reynolds and guest singer Scotty Huff sound eerily like White Album-era Paul McCartney on Near Perfect Smile and Different Girl, respectively.
But the band plays with such energy and obvious affection for these self-penned tunes that Catch-all becomes more than just the sum of its influences. There's a playful inventiveness here, evident in the harpsichord groove on Please Don't Tell, the smooth harmonica that graces Near Perfect Smile, and the call-and-response solo between baritone guitar and piano on Eight. Such unexpected flourishes add life to the album. This project could easily have been derivative and stiff, but Catch-all sounds spontaneous, endearing, and heartfelt.