Lonnie Holley - National Freedom LPJagjaguwar Records
This 5-song collaboration between artist Lonnie Holley and the late visionary producer Richard Swift is a tribute to urgent, raw, American art - from Howlin' Wolf to Captain Beefheart, from Cecil Taylor to Bo Diddley. The songs pulse with anger, hope, energy and a bit of swagger. You can hear sweat and tears through the speaker. Swift left us two years ago today, but his spirit buzzes through these songs. During a West Coast tour with Deerhunter in late summer 2013, Holley was put in touch with Swift by a friend who suggested using a day off on tour to record at Swift's National Freedom Studio in Cottage Grove, Oregon. Now rather legendary, Swift was in a breakout moment as a producer having recently worked with artists like The Shins, Foxygen and Damien Jurado. Holley's essential debut album, Just Before Music, had come out the year prior. The cosmic connection between Holley and Swift was immediate. They put down five songs in their day together: all conjured in the studio and one-of-a-kind. At the end of that day in 2013, Swift - always up until the wee hours - made a late night call to the friend who had set up the session. He was effusive about the experience - thrilled to have found a kindred spirit in Lonnie Holley and thankful to spend a day crafting unclassifiable, extemporaneous and soulful music.