MP3 Kurt Swinghammer - Augusta
Post Modern Folk
11 MP3 Songs
FOLK: Modern Folk, FOLK: Folk Pop
KURT SWINGHAMMER Rating: NNN
Even those who are only vaguely down with T.O.''s music scene have heard of Kurt Swinghammer. Considering he''s been a fixture here for over 15 years as a commercial and fine artist, not to mention his countless TV and film credits, it would be easy to overlook his solo music career. Pity, as his new disc shows just how much songwriting muscle he''s got. A stripped-down acoustic set recorded at the lovely Glenn Gould Studio, the album pays tribute to his long-time home in Kensington Market and paints a beautiful picture of a man''s life in the context of his surroundings. You can''t help but feel nostalgic for the past while soaking in Kurt''s striking baritone set against fine picking. BRENT RAYNOR
NOW | OCT 14 - 20, 2004 | VOL. 24 NO. 7
AUGUSTA Rating: FOUR STARS
Isn''t it about time to erect a statue of Kurt Swinghammer in Kensington Market? A solid songwriter, soulful singer and phenomenal guitarist, Swinghammer lived there for 13 years, moving out mere months ago. This acoustic solo album (recorded live at the Glenn Gould Studio) captures some songs loosely based on the neighbourhood, adding a few live favourites and reviving some ''Hammer classics. His picking is sharp and clean throughout, and he''s never written or sung better than on "Rose of Montrose" and "One More Time." But "Kensington" is the brilliant, beating heart of this album, a minute-and-a-half that references Bunchofuckingoofs, Bruce Cockburn, dollar stores, a crack house, Portuguese men lingering in a billiard hall and a hippie playing an abysmal guitar. It''s just like being there. HOWARD DRUCKMAN
Eye - 10.14.04
When producer/engineer Ron Skinner approached Kurt Swinghammer to perform acoustically in the Glenn Gould Studio for the popular CBC Radio show Bandwidth, no one foresaw the experience turning into a full album. But for Swinghammer - Toronto singer, songwriter, guitarist, and visual artist - the opportunity to record some new songs in the unique world class facility was worth exploring further.
For almost thirteen years, Swinghammer lived on Augusta Street in Toronto''s Kensington Market, where most of the songs on this album were written, and about which two of the tracks are specifically dedicated. Before moving from his Augusta house in 2004, in an homage to his beloved neighborhood, Kurt chose to record his material in a pared down setting, true to their original acoustic form. This allows Kurt''s vocals to be spotlighted more than on his previous releases, and lends a more traditional folk song air to the album than the eclectic arrangements for which Kurt has become known.
From the nostalgic and melodic "Rose of Montrose" to the story-telling feel of "Pale Green Glow," to the quirky documenting of life as Kurt saw it in "Kensington," Augusta revels in sparse presentation that starkly highlights the songs themselves. Purely live performances without punch-in''s or auto tune, Augusta exposes the strengths of Swinghammer''s writing craft and technical abilities.
Ron Sexsmith has performed The Most Beautiful Girl At The Fair, which is his favorite Swinghammer song, and the two have collaborated on numerous projects. Ani Difranco asked Kurt to perform on her To The Teeth CD, open several of her tours, and released his concept album VOSTOK 6 on Righteous babe Records.
Equally known for his bold and colourful visual art, Swinghammer has become a fixture on the Toronto landscape with his designs adorning store fronts and album covers, his music featured in film and television, and his guitar playing found on dozens of Canadian artists'' records.