Hill Country Live Presents
30 W. 26th St.
New York, NY, 10010
Music should not simply be heard, it should be experienced. This is the ideal that inspires the eclectic, high-energy art of the Lafayette, LA based band Vagabond Swing. With musical roots that span a startling spectrum of genres, the uninhibited, wildly creative blending of styles and idioms is the driving force behind the band’s unique sound. The result is psycho-Gypsy-jazz-punk-Vaudeville-fusion with a surprisingly smooth and melodic core wrapped in a progressive, experimental circus-vibe that threatens to explode on impact.
Described by one inebriated fan as “Gogol Bordello’s bayou cousin”, Vagabond Swing’s constant touring has seen them share stages with a variety of colorful characters, a list as diverse as the band’s own influences that includes the likes of Snarky Puppy, Beats Antique, Ghostland Observatory, GIVERS, Anders Osborne, Pork Dukes, Soul Rebels Brass Band, Dead Kenny G.’s, Robert Glasper, Fishtank Ensemble, Vermont Joy Parade, Honky, Caspian Hat Dance, The Iguanas, Danny Barnes, Scott Birum, Mike Dillon Band, Garage A Trois and so many others. Always lending an unexpected and appreciated new flavor to festival line-ups, Vagabond Swing has performed at jam band fests like Wakarusa and Bear Creek Music Festival (and many smaller events of this nature), as well as at cultural gatherings like Festival International de Louisiane, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, UNO Film Festival, Foburg Fest, The French Quarter Festival, Gulf Brew Beer Festival, Geronimo Festival and numerous others.
Vagabond Swing’s debut recording, Soundtrack to an Untimely Death (2011), was recorded with Grammy Award winning engineer Tony Daigle (BB King, Dr. John, Derek Trucks, Anders Osborne, Joan Osborne, Hunter Haynes and more) and dabbled with poignant themes in the context of a five-chapter story. Their follow-up, Cour Des Miracles (2013) was also recorded with Daigle. The record picks up where Soundtrack to an Untimely Death left off, despite some line-up and instrumentation changes. Although a Vagabond Swing show doesn’t feel in any way dark or brooding, the band certainly addresses the dark side of the human psyche lyrically, but it does so in a manner that is both thoughtful and playful. Existential themes of time and mortality are handled metaphorically through discourse on nightmares and even in a straight forward road song. Whereas the questions about the universal challenges of life are raised, Vagabond Swing responds with an empowering optimism, but it is an optimism tempered by realism and it is never ironic. There is a thread of “meet and overcome your own personal demons” that weaves throughout the fabric of the story-telling and in so revealing the dark side of the human psyche, Vagabond Swing seeks to bring some fun and light to the circus of life.