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Oliver Swain

Oliver Swain

Other Victoria, BC, CA  CA


  • 2014

    May 15

    Calgary, AB, CA | 8:00pm

    The musical collaboration of Oliver Swain and Glenna Garramone. We perform a creative tribute to Leonard Cohen, which includes original songs, as well as selections from every era of Cohen's epic career. Featuring a rotating cast of guest artists. Biography Produced by Garramone for the first time in June of 2011 at Vancouver’s Media Club, Tower of Song gave Swain and Garramone the chance to collaborate on Cohen’s rich material, and the chemistry was obvious -- to them and to the packed house at the Media Club. In the spring of 2012 they teamed up again for a sold out show at Victoria’s Hermann’s Jazz Club, with production duties and the artistic direction being shared as collaboration between the two artists. They frequently collaborate with special guest artists to showcase the broad range of Cohen’s writing. Previous guests include Leah Abramson (The Abramson Singers), Spoken word poet Shayne Avec I Grec (Two Dope Boys in a Cadillac), Anne Schaefer, Richard Moody, Melisa Devost, and Kent McAlister. Oliver Swain is a worker in song. After a dozen years in some of North America’s most loved roots bands (Outlaw Social, The Duhks, The Bills) Oliver released 'In a BIG MACHINE' in 2011 to rave reviews. “Oliver Swain's brilliant vocals and genre-agnostic style make 'In a BIG MACHINE’ one of the most exciting new releases on the Canadian folk scene in some time” - Lucinda Chodan, Edmonton Journal. ‘In a BIG MACHINE' Charted in the top 40 in 2011 on Canadian Folk DJ charts and peaked at #1 in Alberta and #3 in BC. A naturalist musician who was drawn to Louisiana and Appalachia several times to discover the roots of American music for himself, Oliver now resides in Victoria where frequent solo journeys into the rugged BC wilderness fuel his original take on songwriting and traditional playing and singing styles. Performing on Banjo and String Bass, Oliver's live show has attracted a lot of attention over the last year including that of Tamara Kater, Executive Director of Folk Music Canada: “Since I first discovered him in 2008, Oliver Swain has been one of my very favorite artists – especially in a live setting. His performances are a musical journey that takes you from haunting old-time melodies to soaring new songs... sweeping vocal stylings, dazzling and dramatic skills as an instrumentalist, an evening spent with Oliver Swain will leave you breathless and joyful.” Visit http://www.oliverswainmusic.com/ for more info. Glenna Garramone’s music is a reflection of her fascination with the edge. Inspired by the geography and spirit of the places she has lived, from Nunavut to Hawaii, she harmonizes the experimental with the classical, and the unexpected with the organic. What happens when you meld a classically trained pianist and vocalist, a bi-lingual songwriter, a guitarist, and a dancer into one person on stage? You might witness an approximation of Glenna Garramone's live show. Glenna Garramone crafts “raw, emotional, and utterly captivating” songs (John Threlfall, Monday Magazine), using anything from piano to her tap shoes, or a shaker made from lentils in a film canister. And that voice. Somewhere between Keith Jarrett and Joni Mitchell, Glenna Garramone’s unique approach to songwriting was recognized when she earned the Grand prize in the 2010 Artswells Songwriting Contest. Garramone also holds a BFA in Writing from the University of Victoria, with a major in Poetry. Recorded in a solar powered yurt on Molokai’i, Hawaii, her newest album, Thank You Half Moon will be officially released in late 2013. When she’s not traveling, Glenna resides in Victoria. Having spent 8 years producing music events in Victoria (including Wimmin in Music and The Solstice Series), Glenna is thrilled to be expanding the Tower of Song to stages across Canada, collaborating with other artists, and co-creating a tribute to one of her musical heroes, the great Leonard Cohen. Visit http://glennagarramone.com/ for more info. Description Tower of Song is a creative tribute to the music of Leonard Cohen, presented by two celebrated BC singers and songwriters: Oliver Swain and Glenna Garramone. In their live show, expect a night of rare and classic selections from the Leonard Cohen cannon fearlessly interpreted by these artists, with a few original compositions and readings, rounding out an evening that celebrates Canada's greatest songwirter.

  • 2014

    Apr 24

    Port Alberni, BC, CA | 7:00pm

    Doors open 7pm Concert starts 8pm

  • 2014

    Mar 3

    Calgary, AB, CA | 8:00pm

    Hailing from Victoria, BC, nearly the farthest west (or left) one can be, Oliver Swain is Canada’s quintessential folk and traditional musician. He eats, sleeps and breathes music, and his prolific career evidences this in many ways. With his pure, finely tuned vocals that have an astonishing range, and his undeniable skill behind a banjo or upright bass, Oliver grabs the attention of all who hear him, and holds it with his enormous sound and stature. From the most vulnerable and innocent sounding banjo ditties to the brave and imposing bowed bass, Oliver delivers his own brand of alternative folk and traditional music to the masses with a smile and a twinkle in his eye. Oliver Swain has spent the last fifteen plus years honing in his craft, and this effort has taken him on a remarkable musical journey. 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. Oliver joined The Bills back when they were known as the Bill Hilly Band in Victoria, and played with them until he decided to split town for the musical splendor of Winnipeg, Canada’s musical export city. There he joined Scruj MacDuhk and with them released “The Road To Canso” prior to the band continuing on as The Duhks. Winnipeg also introduced Oliver to fiddler Jeremy Penner, and singer Ruth Moody, and the three went on to form Moody, Penner and Swain, releasing “Southbound” and kicking off a series of pilgrimages south of the Canadian border to the heart of the Appalachians. It was on this journey Oliver solidified his love for traditional southern folk music, and he later moved to Louisiana to perform with the well known Red Stick Ramblers for a years tenure. Swain then decided to bring the music back home to Victoria, where he helped form popular folk group Outlaw Social, releasing two critically acclaimed albums, and touring extensively for several years. Since Outlaw Social’s demise, Oliver has invested the last several years in playing solo shows across Canada, building an enormous fan base, and finally releasing his solo debut, “In A Big Machine”. 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. Swain’s career on the stage has seen him tour through much of North America, Australia and Europe, highlighted by appearances at Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary and Winnipeg Folk Festivals, Mountain View Music Fest, and the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, and sharing stages with the likes of Ridley Bent, Dustin Bentall, and Marc Savoy, among others. He’s a two time Prairie Music Award recipient (The Bills) and shared a 2008 WCMA nomination for Outstanding Roots Group with Outlaw Social.

  • 2013

    Nov 9

    Saint louis, MO, US | 9:00pm
  • 2013

    Oct 4

    Port Alberni, BC, CA | 7:00pm

    Doors open 7pm Show starts 8pm Tower of Song, Leonard Cohen tribute




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