Swearengin, Watson & May
from left to right: Watson, Swearengin and May
Longterm friendships can be a rare thing into adulthood. For many of us, they gradualy devolve into run ins and Facebook likes. That is not the case for longtime friends and songwriters, Austin Swearengin, Doby Watson and Margo May. The three Kansas City natives grew up around each other, forming bonds through the fledingling music scenes of their childhood. Naturally, this eventually lead to various shared tours and collaborations between various configurations of the three before they were even old enough to drink.
But to say the three have stayed on similar paths would be far from the truth. Swearengin left Kansas City in his early 20's to study visual art (primarily sculpture) in Minneapolis; a medium at which he is equally if not more gifted in than songwriting, and now resides in New York. Watson entrenched himself in the Midwest's DIY circuit, tirelessly touring, often to the dismay of his personal life - enough so that for a time he found himself without a place to live. May, moved to Portland after college to seek out a career in underground pop music and acting, with relative success to this day.
In a way, it's a testatment to the power of friendship that 'Swearengin, Watson & May' even happened, let alone with such effortless success. Even after over a decade of following radically different paths, the three songwriters mesh together perfectly. One has to wonder if perhaps their varied experiences help each performer bring something special to this collaboration. One thing is certain, though, their connection to each other has absolutely not faded over the years.
The EP was recorded while May and Watson were on tour supporting May's last album, 'I'm Not Coming Home'. While in Minneapolis, they stayed with Swearengin, and decided to take him (and his dog, June, pictured on the cover) with them to Milwaukee. The next afternoon they met with Cory Schulz, another longtime friend and collaborator, and over the course of two days, arranged and recorded five songs together in Schulz's living room. The four created a relaxed environment, sharing beers and meals while casually recording the songs live in Schulz's home - just in time to make it to a show in Chicago the next day. But don't let the casualness of the recordings fool you - these songs are as serious and heartbreaking as they are passionate and fun. It's as if this EP serves as a reunion for the group, and it shows.
artwork by Emma C. Cook and Austin Swearengin
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