Patrick Sweany likes the spaces in between.
On a given night (or on a given album) he’ll swing through blues, folk, soul, bluegrass, maybe some classic 50s rock, or a punk speedball. He’s a musical omnivore, devouring every popular music sound of the last 70 years, and mixing ’em all together seamlessly into his own stew. Yet, the one thing that most people notice about Patrick isn’t his ability to copy – it’s his authenticity. Like his heroes, folks like Bobby “Blue” Bland, Eddie Hinton, Doug Sahm, Joe Tex, Patrick somehow manages to blend all of these influences into something all his own.
It’s no wonder that as a kid he immersed himself in his dad’s extensive record collection: 60s folk, vintage country, soul, and, of course, blues. Patrick spent hours teaching himself to fingerpick along to Leadbelly, Lightnin’ Hopkins, and other folk-blues giants.
In his late teens, Patrick began playing the clubs and coffeehouses around Kent, OH. He quickly gained a reputation for the intricate country blues style he was developing: part Piedmont picking, part Delta slide – with an equally impressive deep, smooth vocal style.
It wasn’t long before Pat drew the attention of other notables like Jimmy Thackery who was impressed enough to bring Pat on the road, and Roy Book Binder, who, after hearing Patrick’s self-released debut CD I Wanna Tell You, arranged his first appearance at Merlefest in 2002. Book Binder also turned his longtime friend Jorma Kaukonen on to Patrick’s music, landing Pat a perennial slot at the legendary Fur Peace Ranch alongside guitarists like GE Smith, Marjorie Thompson, Bill Kirchen and Bob Margolin.
But Pat wouldn’t stay in the acoustic world for long. His love of 50s era soul and rock fused with the adrenaline-soaked garage punk revival happening throughout the Rust Belt pushed Pat to form a band.
After 3 critically acclaimed CDs (the last two produced by longtime collaborator Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys), Patrick has expanded his touring radius to 49 states and the UK. He’s played premiere festivals all over the U.S., and supported national acts such as The Black Keys, The Gourds, The Wood Brothers, Sonny Landreth, Hot Tuna, and Paul Thorn on tour.
His latest record, That Old Southern Drag, hit the streets February 15, 2011. It was recorded to 2″ tape in Nashville, TN (Patrick’s new home) and features contributions from Joe McMahan (Allison Moorer, Webb Wilder, Mike Farris), Scott McEwan (Tarbox Ramblers), Tim Marks (Will Kimbrough, Taylor Swift), and Chris West (The Dynamites), among others. Southern Drag expands Patrick’s roots music palette without losing his signature Deep Blues sound.