When Don Donahue, the president of Rocketown Records, stepped up to the plate in 2006 to sign The Swift to Michael W. Smith’s label, he proved once again that he has a good eye for talent. In October, the band that has toured with the likes of Mercy Me, Kutless and Audio Adrenaline released their debut album for Rocketown Records.
Singing Back To You is a pop/light rock worship album featuring a blend of original compositions and covers of previous hit songs. The quartet of Mike Simons (bass/vocals), Britt Edwards (piano/vocals), Matt Wilder (guitar) and Guy Lemon (drums) provide a more than capable rendition of the Delirious? tune “Rain Down”. Covering a song by a phenomenal group such as Delirous? Is no easy task and The Swift get thumbs up.
The Matt Redman tune “Nothing But The Blood” is a good companion tune to “Rain Down”. Founding members Mike Simons (bass and vocals) and Britt Edwards, (piano and vocals) have enough of a rasp to their voices to place them firmly within a pop/light rock genre. At the same time both men seem quite comfortable within their register and it makes for easy listening. So many times male pop artists simply lack the range and it is like listening to tennis shoes squeaking across a linoleum floor.
I really enjoyed the Scott Ligertwood/Matt Crocker/Marty Sampson tune, “What The World Will Never Take”. Lemon drives this song with heavy sticks pounding out the beats. The guitar riffs are jagged and producer Matt Stanfield (Plumb, Jars of Clay) does an excellent job of ensuring the vocals stay in sync with the guitars. This song is The Swift’s best performance from Singing Back To You.
In a short time, the newest members of The Swift Wilder and Lemmon have created a great synergy with Simons’ bass and Edwards’ keys. Musically The Swift is a very competent band
that plays very good music. In the mode of bands like Starfield and Mercy Me, The Swift is respectful of sticking to good melodies backed by meaningful lyrics.
Four of the tunes from this album are original compositions: “Love Song”, “Make You Known”, “Always Been With Me” and “At The Feet Of Jesus”. It would not be fair to compare their own songwriting skills with that of more seasoned tunesmiths whose music they have covered on Singing Back To You. What I will say however though is that in order for The Swift to raise their profile above being considered just another worship band, they will have to beef up their songwriting skills and content.
Not being familiar with the band members, it is difficult to know whether or not the songwriting ability is not there or if the label exerted its influence as far as song selection is concerned. Until The Swift puts a stamp on their music that says, we wrote it, we lived it, and now we play it, they will never raise themselves above being anything but another very talented worship band. This is not intended as a criticism of the band as much as it is an item on my wish list for a group of guys who has already proved they excel musically and vocally.
Simons and Edwards have been together since 1998 when they were the founding members of what was then a worship band in North Carolina. In 2006, The Swift took another big step forward when they signed with Rocketown Records. We look forward with anticipation to their gigs in 2007.
Copyright © 2006 Joe Montague, exclusive rights reserved. This material may not be redistributed without prior written permission from Joe Montague. Joe Montague is an internationally published freelance journalist / photographer.