Wednesday – MusicBham Presents: Patrick Sweany with The Brook & The Bluff
Patrick Sweany likes the spaces in between.
On a given night (or on a given album) he’ll swing through blues, folk, soul, bluegrass, maybe some classic 50s rock, or a punk speedball. He’s a musical omnivore, devouring every popular music sound of the last 70 years, and mixing ’em all together seamlessly into his own stew. Yet, the one thing that most people notice about Patrick isn’t his ability to copy – it’s his authenticity. Like his heroes, artists like Bobby “Blue” Bland, Doug Sahm, Joe Tex, Patrick somehow manages to blend all of these influences into something all his own.
It’s no wonder that as a kid he immersed himself in his dad’s extensive record collection: 60s folk, vintage country, soul, and, of course, blues. Patrick spent hours teaching himself to fingerpick along to Leadbelly, Lightnin’ Hopkins, and other folk-blues giants.
In his late teens, Patrick began playing the clubs and coffeehouses around Kent, OH. He quickly gained a reputation for the intricate country blues style he was developing: part Piedmont picking, part Delta slide – with an equally impressive deep, smooth vocal style.
But Patrick wouldn’t stay in the acoustic world for long. His love of 50s era soul and rock fused with the adrenaline-soaked garage punk revival happening throughout the Rust Belt pushed him to form a band.
After 6 critically acclaimed records (two produced by longtime collaborator Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys), Patrick has expanded his touring radius to 49 states and Europe. He’s played premiere festivals (Newport Folk Fest, Merlefest, Montreal Jazz Fest, Telluride Blues & Brews) and supported international acts such as The Black Keys, The Tedeschi Trucks Band, The Wood Brothers, Hot Tuna, and others on tour.
The Brook & The Bluff are a four-man band based out of Birmingham, AL that have been traveling the southeast and recording music since 2016. The group has quickly become recognized at local venues for its evocative blend of instrumental talent and vocal harmony. These elements are readily apparent in the group’s first single, “Masks.” Released in 2016, the song has helped spur the band forward in their musical pursuits. At present, The Brook & The Bluff continue to travel, spin their musical spells, and reach out to a wider audience.
Birmingham, AL natives Alec Bolton and Joseph Settine formed The Brook & The Bluff while attending Auburn University. The group’s name stems from each member’s distinct home suburb in Birmingham, Mountain Brook and Bluff Park. Originally an acoustic duo, the pair quickly became a staple at local venues, turning heads with clean vocals and expert guitar work. Still searching for the right musicians to create a full band, the duo released “The Rough Cuts,” a 3-song acoustic project, in the fall of 2015.
In the spring of 2016, John Canada noticed the talent and potential of the duo and offered to play percussion and sing with Joseph and Alec. Soon after, he officially joined the group, expanding their sound with driving rhythm and an added voice. The trio instantly locked in and started playing together consistently. After resolving to make something of this ensemble, the trio searched for a bassist to fill the bill. Jonathan Hendrix has now completed the four member group.
The Brook & The Bluff is passionate about sharing their original music with Birmingham and beyond.