Review – Tomi Swick

Album: The Yukon Motel
Release Date: October 14, 2016
Genre: Rock

Hamilton, Ontario based songwriter, Tomi Swick, has released his latest full length record.  The introspective The Yukon Motel was recorded in Barn Window Studio and produced by Swick along with Dave King.  The record takes the acclaimed songwriter in a number of stylistic directions, making it nothing short of great!

The opening track, “Wake Me Up”, immediately evokes the song writing greatness of Jagger and Richards, largely due to the crisp strumming on an acoustic guitar which is then joined by a fuzzy and rhythmic electric lead line.  Swick’s voice then comes in, rough, raw, and incredibly powerful.  His voice across the entire record, in fact, steals the show.  It carries a weight of emotions, giving his music a sense of vulnerability and honesty.  This ranges from his quiet rasp as he documents his hard times on “Bad Things”, or the range stretching melodies of “Sunshine Sweet Liquor”.  Swick has solidified himself as an artist of, and for, the people, much like the influences behind the record which likely range from Bruce Springsteen to any number of blues musicians.

Musically, The Yukon Motel is a record which hopes between influences and seamlessly blends them together.  Swick does a phenomenal job in making sure that every texture and influence serves a purpose and does not sound out of place. “Travelin’ Man” is a complete blues rocker and features some incredible electric slide guitar which weaves in and out of Swick’s vocal melody and crunching rhythm guitar, while “Juliet” takes a far softer approach, almost approaching a ballad but still holding on to a certain edge, largely due to the song’s spontaneous lead guitar tracks, again, very reminiscent of The Rolling Stones.  Stepping closer to a more traditional sing-songwriter style, “I’ll Get You Out Of Here” remains exciting with the use of other instruments rather than solo acoustic guitar as often done, whereas “Lonely Ghost” takes on a folk and country influence.

The Yukon Motel is, without a doubt, one of the best Canadian independent releases I have heard.  Tomi Swick constantly demonstrates his ability to not only break the boundaries of genres and labels, but does so in such a mature and sophisticated fashion that the outcome is an excellent collection of fourteen songs which reflect and pay respect to a plethora of worthy influences while still remaining completely original and modern.  Swick is a master songwriter, and The Yukon Motel is his latest masterpiece, of which I cannot pick a favorite track as it provides such a fantastic listening experience, front to back.

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