Swimming in the Dark

Released 2013
Ithaca Records
Released 2013
Ithaca Records
Modern Folk, Blues, and Improvisation - guitar, vocal and cello - with all-star international guests on violin, viola, manodlin, piano, harmonica, accordian, and vocals. Produced by Julie Last!
NOTES
Artists: Jeannie Burns (vocal), Kyle Carey (vocal), Anna Coogan (vocal), Tim DesRosiers (accordian), Kirsti Gholson (vocal), Andrew Hardin (guitar), Gait Klein Kromhof (harmonica), Julie Last (vocal, keyboard), Amy Merrill (violin, viola), Bruce Milner (vocal), Manuel Quintana (percussion), Loretta Simonet (vocal), Curtis Teague (vocal), Marijn Wijnands (vocal), and Kathy Ziegler (piano, vocal)

Recorded August 2011 - August 2013 by Julie Last @ Cold Brook Productions, Bearsville, NY - additional recording by Will Russell at Electric Wilburland, Greg McGrath at Monk Sound, Don Sellers at Skylight Studios, and Ward Van Iseghem in Sint Gillis Maas, Belgium. Mastered by Dan Coutant at Sun Room Mastering. Graphic Design by Patti Witten

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"This 'Swimming in the Dark' record has the same “bluesy” pastel tints to which other instrumentalists add their touch like in an impressionistic painting. In this way, with his harmonica, Gait Klein Kromhof adds even more desolate wisdom to the landscape and the underlying tragedy in “Sergeant Oliver”, at the same time a painkiller for the soul. Also Tim DesRosiers’ accordion beautifully colors the melancholy in the father figure. Percussionist Manuel Quintana attaches a light Jazzy groove to “Long Long Life” and accompanies the mid-tempo in Green Apple with a light touch. The female voices alternate and vary in tonality from loving, compassion or solace.

But especially the cello and the viola and violins are what cause the chills every time. The Beautiful ”Liberate The Sun” is more or less a hymn, one of the most beautiful songs I have heard this year, accompanied by Kathy Ziegler on piano. Amy Merrill joins in with viola and violin and strokes what’s unspeakable. Tom Mank is a master in laying out a bed of sentiment both with his singing as his imagery, which stays inornate even when touching complex emotions. Sometimes he sings almost whispering as in the sad “Sophie’s Blues”, where Marijn Wijnands seems to offer him a consolatory shoulder. No matter what song, every time the voice and cello find each other intuitively in the ever present current of longing, cherishing or resistance, like in the pearl “Tear Down The Walls”, again with viola and violin. Tom Mank is one of those who like to get lost in the landscape or who reach for the mystery of the moon. It makes you want to keep this album close by so you can reach for it every time the “bareable” lightness of being pulls you down."

Marcie - RootsTime, Oct 2013

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"Tom Mank peppers this new album, Swimming In the Dark, with many stories. Some are heartrending duets of love and the search for Truth. Some are groove-laden retrospectives of emotion. Some are deeply personal, such as "Running Like the Wind", written for and about his father. All are what I have learned to expect from him.

Mank goes out of his way on this album to include dear friends who just happen to be excellent musicians on the recordings... Anna Coogan ..."Rest of My Life"... Jeannie Burns ... "Green Apple"... Marijn Wijnands ... "Sophie's Blues"...

The rest of the songs are all Mank and they are the best he has ever written. Soft, at times silky, always lyric-heavy. If nothing else, Tom Mank is a songwriter of depth. On some songs, incredible depth.... Julie Last and Kirsti Gholson ... play a prominent role in this new album.

You can add a number of musicians to those mentioned above on Swimming In the Dark, some brought in for one song, some added on a few. If nothing else, Mank has the ear of many exceptional musicians who were evidently not at all shy about playing on the album. Who would be? Tom Mank is one of the best there is and his place beside Sera Smolen is a given after hearing only one song--- take your pick.

Swimming In the Dark... catches Tom Mank at his songwriting and singing best and Sera Smolen at her peak in interpreting Mank's songs... They have earned the right to be heard. Over and over again."

Frank Gutch Jr - No Depression (Oct 2013)

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"Tom Mank is a monster songwriter in the vein of the old folk/blues artists like Dave Van Ronk, but with a sense of the present. His music portraits range from romantic to political and when they don't reach for the heart, they embed themselves in the head. He is intelligence in music. Sera Jane Smolen, on the other hand, is music personified. Her cello supplements Mank's guitar with bass riffs and jazz phrasing as well as support from the masters." - Frank Gutch Jr., Hubpages.com

CALENDAR

  • 04/28/2017
    House Concert - Ardooie,
     
  • 04/29/2017
    De Drukkerrij - Middelberg,
     

AUDIO: Tom Mank & Sera Smolen

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