Featured Artist: Swear and Shake
Swear and Shake — whose founding members Adam McHeffey (banjo, vocals) and Poughkeepsie native Kari Spieler (guitar, vocals) met at SUNY Purchase just a few years ago — may only have one full album (Maple Ridge, 2012) under their figurative belts, but to call them newbies would be a mistake.
Based in Brooklyn with an indie-folk sound, the band is surprisingly accomplished considering its infancy: it’s shared the stage with Weezer, Delta Rae, G. Love & Special Sauce, and fellow Mountain Jammers Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and The Lumineers; performed at this year’s Rock Boat XIII and SXSW music festivals; raised an impressive $5,250 in Kickstarter funds for its debut album; and was even named “Band of the Month” by Georgia-based indie music authority The Blue Indian this past December.
But enough about that. How’s the sound? The Blue Indian blogger Sean Pritchard writes of Swear and Shake’s performance at a Cincinnati pub:
I’ve only seen a few artists bring a room to a hush, only to have their audience hooping and hollering moments later… By the end of the first song, we were out of our seats and upfront. Strangers instantly became neighbors as the entire venue was swept up in the action.
McHeffey and Spieler’s harmonies are sweet and soulful (and sometimes goofy; listen to “Marbles” and you’ll see what we mean). You’ll easily get caught up in the spirited banjo-and-guitar romance, upbeat drumming, and inquisitive bass lines. Even the saddest songs make you want to smile and sway. Bassist Shaun Savage and Ben Goldstein, who produced Maple Ridge (and who replaces former member Tom Elefante behind the kit), round up the foursome.
Swear and Shake’s tune “These White Walls” end with the lyric “You said you’d never love me, and I know you never will.” We swear, guys, we love you. Always. (We’ll even shake on it.)
Watch “These White Walls”: