Fire and Rain with AJ Swearingen and Jayne Kelli
Saturday, April 28
Kleinhans Music Hall, 8:00 pm
In 2015, AJ Swearingen was a big hit with Buffalo audiences in his Simon and Garfunkel tribute. He’s back with a new show featuring the iconic singer-songwriters of the 70s – James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne, Carole King, Neil Young, and more. Stefan Sanders leads this nostalgic trip to the days of rich harmonies and beautiful melodies.
|American Pie Overture
If You Could Read My Mind
Take It Easy
When Will I Be Loved Overture
Big Yellow Taxi
The Marrying Kind
Heart of Gold
Tribute to James Taylor
Fire and Rain
You’ve Got A Friend
I Feel the Earth Move
Sister Golden Hair
Time in a Bottle
Swearingen and Kelli remind us that timeless songs and melody can still be written in a generation where what is popular is copied and repeated over and over. Organic, honest, real, and unafraid of spilling their guts in their music, the newly Nashville-based husband-and-wife twosome of AJ Swearingen and Jayne Kelli (aka Swearingen and Kelli) challenge the listener in themes of fear of commitment, small town chatter and the haunting of past loves.
The sophomore album, The Marrying Kind (released 2017), is replete with full-throttle emotion and steeped in Americana and country-folk. The first single off the record, the haunted Appalachian feeling “Annalise” was featured on Gretsch Guitars with lap-steel and dobro melodies that clearly pay homage to the sounds of David Lindley (Jackson Browne) and Jerry Douglas (Alison Krauss). “Leaving Yourself” features Kelli’s vocals shining brightly over an anxiously written waltz – a song touted by Carnival Records as “part Norah Jones, part Paul Simon”.
Swearingen and Kelli are a modern echo of the classic singer-songwriters of the ’60s and ’70s. The lead-off, title track highlights the power of Kelli’s vocals in a beautifully written old-school piano ballad – a countemplative emotional journey of someone who has second-guessed her aversion to settling down.
“The artistic benchmark has been set high with The Marrying Kind” – Carnival Records
The path that led to The Marrying Kind began as two independent tracks that converged several years back at The Hideaway Café in St. Petersburg, Florida. “I knew the first time I heard her songs that she was incredibly gifted both vocally and lyrically,” says Swearingen. Since that moment, they have been partners in music, and eventually, love.
The on and off stage chemistry between Swearingen and Kelli has led to some extraordinary things over the past few years; including writing and producing their own symphonic pop show and debuting the release of The Marrying Kind with The Cleveland Orchestra. Their song “You’re Not Here With Me” (from their debut album) was also recorded by folk icon Tom Rush.
Swearingen and Kelli continue a heavy touring schedule in support of the new album. Hopefully, along the way, their music will help others cope with their own tough situations. “I think the best way to sum up The Marrying Kind is to say that finding your soulmate isn’t always easy or pretty,” says Swearingen. “In all the dark places life can take you, fighting for love is worth it,” agrees Kelli.
And yes, for the record, these two partners in life and in music believe they are soulmates.
AJ Swearingen, born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, grew up in a house where the classic country records of Kris Kristofferson, Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, and Willie Nelson were always spinning. “I love that music, but the folk records of the early ’70s like Gordon Lightfoot and Simon & Garfunkel are what really fueled my desire to pursue a life in music.” He began playing at 13 and started performing professionally in his late teens. His acoustic guitar finger style echoes his influences – James Taylor, Paul Simon and Lindsey Buckingham – but his silky, soulful baritone voice is definitely his own.
Jayne Kelli’s voice is both husky and sweet, tender and bluesy. Kelli was born in the small country town of Lapeer, Michigan. She grew up listening to her parents perform songs by John Denver, Jim Croce, and Glen Campbell around the campfire. Jayne began writing and recording her own songs at the age of 15. Her first release garnered praise from critics, calling her “a formidable talent with elegantly poetic and emotionally charged songs.” Jayne’s song “Sweetness” was chosen as an anthem song for the domestic violence foundations Victim Services International and Angel Wings International in 2015.