Oliver Swain ~
Oliver Swain is already a well known name in the North American folk music scene, and he’s always been a bit of a music geek, collecting old wax cylinder records as a teenager, and being the only kid in school who claimed Robert Johnson as his favorite musician, in a time when grunge rock was on top. With his finely tuned vocals, and skill behind a banjo or upright bass, Oliver delivers his own brand of alternative folk and traditional music to the masses with a smile and a twinkle in his eye. He’s spent the last fifteen or so years honing in his craft wiyth various bands such as the award nominated former group Outlaw Social, Scruj MacDuhk (The Duhks predecessor), The Bills, and year stint with Louisiana’s popular Red Stick Ramblers. He’s won awards, supported many well known Canadian musicians, and his solo debut, In A Big Machine was released to critical acclaim in 2011, including a Monday Magazine Music award. The live version of BIG MACHINE has wowed fans from Victoria to Memphis, Tennessee at the 2012 Folk Alliance Conference. Oliver still enjoys life in Victoria, keeping busy as a respected session player, playing shows and planning his next jaunt across the country. He’s also recently toured internationally as a sideman with Juno Award winner Toni Childs, and lends his time to being Artistic Director with the Lower Island FolkFest Society, creating the up and coming Victoria music festival; FolkWest.
“In A Big Machine” is a beautiful collection of five original tracks, a few heavy hitting traditional numbers, and Oliver’s 120 year old goat skin banjo take on Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire”. The album takes the experimental folk sound Oliver is known for, and weaves a personal and touching tone into it, showing his emotive writing and varied vocal pallet. Favorites like the gorgeous “Big Machine” and rockin’ “Mexican Dentist Song” get you moving a little faster, while “John Henry” and “Cactus Land” push the boundaries usually cast upon a bowed upright bass, using it as a second fiddle. In A Big Machine was co-produced by Adrian Dolan (The Bills, Rankin Sisters, Chieftains) and Oliver at Marlborough Studios. It boasts a slew of appearances from his contemporaries such as Jeremy Penner (The Wailin’ Jenny’s), Emma Beaton (Joy Kills Sorrow), Adam Dobres and Emily Braden to name a few. It’s a collection of music filled with miracles, beauty and tragedy, sure to touch the hearts of all who hear it.
~ In a Big Machine #32 debut on CHARTAttack, #1 debut on CJAM, CJSR & CKXU
~ Played Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg Folk Festivals (Outlaw Social)
~ 2x Prairie Music Award winner (The Bills)
~ WCMA nom. for Roots Group (Outlaw Social) 2008