Sway Wild was born from acclaimed indie-folk duo Dave McGraw & Mandy Fer on San Juan Island, Washington. Joined by longtime friend Thom Lord they’ll release their guitar-focused, self-titled, debut album on September 13th.
Today, they premiere “Home (feat. Sean Hayes)” at Parade ahead of the album’s release this Friday. “The track explores the over-arching idea of the importance of home to all of us,” says Fer of the track. “We’d been big fans of Sean’s music for a long time and when we were making the record in Portland, OR over the winter we thought it would be amazing to get some of Sean’s vibes on a track. He elevated the tune even higher and brought it to its fullest potential. It is full of so much spirit and probably our favorite moment of the album.”
Sway Wild’s songs navigate the corners of rock, folk, pop, jazz, prog, and funk. At its nucleus, it is music saturated in gratitude for well-lived lives and sympathetic to our shared humanity. Using her beloved Fender Stratocaster for both lead pyrotechnics and chordal rhythms, often at the same time, singer/guitarist Fer challenges the listener to comprehend how she manages to extract so much feeling from six strings and an amplifier. With this album, laden with Fer’s potent solos, she has decisively placed herself within the vanguard of female guitarists claiming their rightful place in an artistic pantheon that has historically been dominated by men.
Sway Wild was recorded in Portland, Oregon at The Hallowed Halls, a historic Carnegie Library, by engineer Justin Phelps (Cake, Galactic, Bob Weir), whose expertise at the helm is tangible in the warmth and presence of the finished product. An impressive cadre of the band’s friends and heroes brings the songs to their full, frenzied potential. Birds of Chicago and Hayes provide guest vocals, members of MarchFourth add the irresistible energy of a full horn section, and cellists Skip VonKuske (Portland Cello Project) and Anna Fritz, along with Anna Tivel on violin, contribute the brooding dynamism of bowed strings.
The name Sway Wild evokes a specific feeling. From the beginning, Fer, McGraw, and Lord intended this band, and this album, to reflect what the endeavor felt like to them: a pathway to the uninhibited unfiltered core that we all possess. The words themselves are an invitation, if not a command, to seek out this untainted part of ourselves. In many ways, Sway Wild’s music is the product of truly wild places, and, like ribbons of light piercing a dark green canopy overhead; it can help us find the wildness that is unquestionably still within us.