For a moment the room is silent, hanging on to a heart-wrenching ballad. Then, in just a few chords the crowd is swept back on their feet again, dancing, smiling, and getting lost in the energy emanating from this dynamic band. Kari Spieler’s voice, rich in tone and powerful in delivery, weaves through her and Adam McHeffey’s collaborative songwriting and guitar playing. Shaun Savage’s creative output on the electric bass (and often three-part harmony) makes the partnership of story and sound complete. Collectively these artists, known as Swear and Shake, bring an experience to the stage—a combination of truthful lyrics, passionate performance, and a warming narrative.
–Christina Morelli, The CEO Artist
After circulating a bedroom demo of their first song, "Johnnie," Swear and Shake began their adventures of fiercely writing songs and playing them out anywhere they could. The then Brooklyn-based band released their first LP, Maple Ridge, on their own independent label, Pots and Pans. This release quickly garnered the support of independent blogs, YouTube cover artists, and show-goers across the country. In the next few years of touring, Swear and Shake crafted a dynamic full-band show, leading to reviews such as this one from The Blue Indian, in Macon, GA:
“I’ve only seen a few artists bring a room to a hush, only to have their audience hooping and hollering moments later, and these four talented Yankees have joyfully mastered their ability to do so. By the end of the first song, we were out of our seats and upfront. Strangers instantly became neighbors as the entire venue was swept up in the action.”
–Sean Pritchard, The Blue Indian
The Move to Nashville
After two years of touring, the band packed up their Brooklyn apartments and headed for Nashville, Tennessee. When asked about this relocation in an interview for Nashville Lifestyles Magazine, Kari Spieler answers "You'd leave for tour and then come back to your part-time job at Anthropologie... Oh, my God—it was horrible. I'd literally be picking pants off the floor and people would recognize me from playing Bowery Ballroom the night before." Spieler sings of this particular experience in "Blouses," one of the first songs written for the new LP.
In the same interview, Adam McHeffey adds: "At the time, we told people we were leaving New York because the cost of living, and since we were touring so much it didn't make sense to keep our NY apartments. In truth, we had a lot to work through, both personally and professionally with our music. The city was an easy scapegoat." The move ended up being a much-needed spiritual uplift for the band, even if it came about in an unexpected way. "We let go of a lot baggage," Adam McHeffey says. "...'The Sound of Letting Go' is one giant exhale, and Nashville let us get it out."
"This album is one giant exhale, and Nashville let us get it out."
– Adam McHeffey
The Sound of Letting Go
Nashville represented change for the band, and enabled them to write their second full-length record, The Sound of Letting Go. During the writing process, the band was heavily influenced by the intricate band and orchestral arrangements found in baroque pop from The Zombies and the Beach Boys, and discovered Richmond-based production house Spacebomb Productions (Natalie Prass, Matthew E. White, Julien Baker) to help realize their musical ambitions.
Funded by the overwhelming support of their fans and friends on PledgeMusic, the band created a 13 track LP that speaks to the bands experiences of being on tour, relocating to Nashville and growing further as an independent artist. The Sound of Letting Go is available everywhere. Listen to it on Spotify here.
In Support of...
The powerful presence of Swear and Shake has landed them shows directly supporting a number of notable acts, including The Lumineers, Ingrid Michaelson, American Authors, G. Love and Special Sauce, ZZ Ward, Delta Rae, and many more.