The Swansons: A Band For All Seasons
The Swansons are the country rock duo of Joe and Angie Finley, based out of Southern California via the Chicago area. Their latest album Country This has been receiving a good amount of acclaim, and their endearing live shows are not to be missed. The Swansons have opened for the likes of Wayne Newton, Autograph, Missing Persons – truly a band for all seasons and Highwire Daze has an interview with Joe and Angie Finley right here….
How long has The Swansons been together?
Joe: We’ve been together for six years. We got together in the studio – started dating – I was working on a project – Angela went into the studio with me – we started a band – got married – had a baby all at one time. So six years ago we started – and four albums later, here we are.
Why do you call yourselves The Swansons as opposed to The Finleys?
Angie: It was The Joe Finley Band prior to him meeting me, so I think that’s one reason why he didn’t want to do The Finley’s – because he already did that.
Joe: What inevitably happened was we were at a Bob Seeger concert – and we were sneaking through a back door. And The Orange County Register had a big camera there – and he had asked “Is it okay if I take a picture of you guys and talk to you guys” – and I said “no” and kept walking. And Angie said “Sure!” and I thought “Oh no, what’s she gonna say?” So they asked “what’s your name” and she said “Tina Swanson.”
Angie: I looked at him and said “and he’s Bob Swanson…”
Joe: So now I’m Bob Swanson and we’re doing this interview as Bob and Tina Swanson.
Angie: We made up this whole story – and sure enough the next day they printed it front page in the Entertainment Section – “Bob and Tina Swanson Flew in from Chicago to See Bob Seeger.” So they printed that, and since then, that’s been our name.
Is there any overall story or concept behind the album title Country This?
Joe: The title track sort of has an attitude. We wanted to express an attitude that would encapsulate who we are. We’re not from Nashville even though we were recording in Nashville. We’re from a different place. We’re trying to say “here we are, so Country This!” We’re bringing a different attitude into the country world.
Select two songs from Country This and what inspired the lyrics.
Joe: I would say Road Full Of Holes – which is a ballad and something that we don’t play too often. But it’s so meaningful and so deep – it’s an inspiring song talking about life and the problems we run into and have to fix – and I use the road as sort of this analogy for our lives. Instead of going around those holes, it would be a much smoother ride if you fix the holes – and at the end of the day you got a smooth ride home. Meaning at the end of your life, you end up in heaven. It’s a really deep song and it’s one of my favorites.
Angie: The other one would be Move Forward, which is similar – a ballad inspired song where he got the lyrics from the Lord basically. When he was writing, he got stuck on this one part, and these words came to him. That one is just as meaningful as Road Full Of Holes.
What was the experience like opening for Missing Persons, and did you get to meet anyone in the band at all?
Joe: We have opened for Missing Persons five times. We have met different members but not Dale. Dale has always been busy. One time she unfortunately got sick – she had to cancel and we ended up headlining the show. And last time at The Whisky she was getting her hair and makeup done as went on. I’m sure we’ll see her soon.
The first time I saw you was at the Robert Tepper / Stan Bush show at The Whisky. You open for all kinds of different bands.
Joe: We have been booked with so many different kinds of bands – from Latino rock to Wayne Newton – soul, reggae. We’ve been able to engage with those audiences of every musical style no matter what.
Angie: If somebody throws a gig at us, we’re thinking “Are they a fit for us?” Most of the time it is. We can literally fit with anybody. We’re going to deliver the performance of a lifetime.
You mentioned Wayne Newton. What was that like opening for him?
Joe: We opened for him at The Saban Theater. He spent some time talking with us and took some pictures with us. He gave us a shout out as he was performing. It was the most incredible thing to see somebody of that stature – if he would have just turned his back and walked away, you’d be like “that’s okay. He doesn’t have time. He’s Wayne Newton.” Instead – unlike a lot of people in this business, he walks up and embraces you and appreciates you. He became sort of a role model for me in this business. This man shows so much appreciation and I will always remember that. He was so kind and so nice and went out of his way to do that with us. That was an enormous experience for us…
(Interview and Photo by Ken Morton)
The Swansons on Facebook