Critical Writings

Interviews: MUSIC

Richard Swift

When I enquire of Oregon-based singer-songwriter Richard Swift (Crawdaddy, March 13th), how he feels about his newly released third album, Dressed Up For The Let Down, he describes himself as, “Over it. I mean, I finished it a year ago, and am in the middle of recording the next one now.” Sounding sleepily like he’s just fallen out of bed, but affable nonetheless, Swift declares himself “indifferent” to the weighty comparisons with Van Dyke Parks and Harry Nilsson. “I mean, it’s nice to be mentioned in the same breath as such reputable names, but the truth is I’ve never actually heard a Parks’ record. What I listen to mostly is old blues, people like John Lee Hooker and Mississippi John Hurt, and the pioneers of electronica.” “But you don’t sound like a blues guy yourself,” I counter. “Maybe not, but there is a tone of genuine sadness in my stuff, which I think comes from the blues. A song like ‘Sadsong Street’ from The Novelist is a blues song, although I didn’t realise it at the time.” Any recollections of his previous visits to Ireland? “Well, we’ve been there three times. When we played Crawdaddy and The Electric Picnic, we were only there for 17 hours each time. But when we supported Josh Ritter we were there for longer. What I will say about Ireland is that you guys don’t fuck around about drinking. I was well looked after. I mean, I’d usually only break out every second or third night on a tour, but there there’s no escaping the drink. It’s nice to know that in the morning everyone else feels just as fuzzy as you do.” He says he likes the intimacy of Crawdaddy, and so too will you.


First published in Magill, March 2007

 

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