Andy Swan Ottawa

Andy Swan Ottawa
Andy Swan is a bit of a shy guy. He hid behind the moniker of Detective Kalita for a while, but that project is now known as the Michael Parks. Well, no matter the name, the consistent thing was the shocking effortlessness with which Andy Swan made little pop masterpieces. Now, flying solo under his own name for the first time, though backed up by Ottawa locals Jon Bartlett (of Rhume), Rolf Klausener (of the Acorn) and John Higney, Swan does something a little different but no less magical. If you don’t notice it with the magical pedal steel work of Higney, then you’ll get it through song titles like "You Got the Diamonds (I Got the Shaft).” Yes, there’s a country and folk inflection to the songs here but it’s just enough to keep the pop interesting and the country from being too corny. Indeed, pop perfection is near achieved on songs like "The Truth About Thieves” and "Can I Pay You With Sunshine?” Swan’s unerring ear for light and deceptively simple melody thrives no matter what the genre and, finally laying himself bare, he hopefully won’t be a secret too much longer.

Why Ottawa?
Swan: It’s not because of the content at all but there was some family engagements that sort of brought me into Ottawa and I had this idea of calling up my friends in Ottawa and seeing if they were up for trying to record an album based around these family events. It’s more of a time capsule, like capturing that moment, and it’s also called Andy Swan’s Ottawa, so it’s not really about Ottawa but the people I know here.

How did you capture such a spontaneous feel?
Most of the album was recorded live, so that simplifies things in a way if you can actually pull it off. You’re a little more lenient about imperfections and the way you grow to like them. To me, this is all part of the charm, as everything I’ve ever done in the studio was very rarely rehearsed and there just seems to be a sort of spark. Also, they’re pretty simple songs, or a lot of the songs are a couple of chords. I spent a lot of time trying to get the words. For me, that was the real focus, or the real challenge. (Kelp)