When you write about the end of the world, what you’re really writing about is what’s in it that’s worth saving.
15-year Pennsylvania import Rich Swanger leads his group, The Little Known Band, through a folk-inspired tradition of renewing and reshaping songs. Swanger’s original songs once existed only as true folk music for voice and guitar, but have been sonically reformed as glistening country and blues tunes, strewn with pianos and electric guitar. The band’s live shows regularly feature classic American country and folk songs, highlighting their original beauty while carrying them forward into the 21st century. This process of finding new value in songs is motivated by the desire to rekindle what can be found at the songs’ core: a hope for renewal in a dying world.
Swanger’s fascination with mythologies is clearest on his songs about apocalyptic war or vampires, but is mixed with less mythical subjects like baseball legends and gardening. The small mythology of our lives — apocalyptic or not — appears in his songs the same way mythology appears in legends: by surprise. Heroes don’t know when they’re about to start their epic journey. Swanger’s subjects seem to suddenly arrive at a test of their will, and their chief heroism is in facing the turmoil with clear eyes.
In today’s world, staring down the chaos is a daily feat each of us must perform. Rich Swanger & The Little Known Band explore those stories, which in turn become everyone’s stories. Their songs have a universality and a purity that simultaneously leans toward the timelessness of Americana and the edge of change.