Awake But Somehow Dreaming
'Singer/songwriter/pianist Bill Swann hails from eastern Tennessee. He began taking drum lessons at eight years of age and was 'encouraged' to switch to piano at around age ten. His older brother was a rabid Beatles and Elton John fan so Bill grew up listening to and loving these songwriting masters. During high school he became fairly serious about music and began to play for money with other classmates. During his senior year he was playing 3-5 nights a week in nightclubs in east Tennessee in a variety of genres (pop, rock, southern rock, and country). After 2 years on the road with a local band, Bill left the band to go back to college to pursue the study of jazz piano (with ex-Art Blakey Jazz Messenger Donald Brown). Finding his musical abilities greatly improved, he began playing steadily in the Knoxville area jazz clubs. He won an outstanding soloist award at the 1999 Mobile Collegiate Jazz Competition. Songwriting became a passion during this period, perhaps to reconnect with the popular music he loved so much throughout childhood and school. Bill received both Bachelor's and Master's degrees in jazz piano, as well as a Doctor of Arts degree in music theory pedagogy. In July of 2000, Bill's wife was diagnosed with Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia (very rare in patients under thirty), and so music was put on hold for a year during her chemotherapy and recovery. In spring of 2001, she was officially in remission. With a new sense of optimism, purpose and drive (check out 'I Can See the Future' on the Awake But Somehow Dreaming CD), Bill has written and performed continuously trying to regain the momentum lost during 2000-2001. In 2001 he performed at three major European jazz festivals (Montreux, Switzerland; Vienne, France; and Ezcaray, Spain) with the Knoxville Jazz Orchestra. Impeccable songwriting and piano playing are an integral part of Swann's pop music. It combines new-millennial irony and skepticism with odd combinations of present and past musical styles. When you listen you will hear that the 70's is in there, along with jazz, funk, 80's progressive rock, and 90's smirk. Lyrically twisted at times (see 'So Long, Mr. Holmes' or 'Any Sacrifice'), the music is nevertheless positive in outlook. When asked to describe the purpose of his pop songwriting efforts Swann states: 'Even though I think sincerity in music is overrated, the purpose is to connect. Period. Writers like McCartney and Sheryl Crow have proven that a songwriter can connect with large numbers of people without sacrificing quality. Whereas, people like Beck and Ben Folds have shown that you can be cerebral and funny without losing mass appeal. My goal is to write great songs with large-scale appeal that allow me to be ironic, serious, and a smart-ass all at the same time.' Smart-ass or not, this music rocks.' -- Martin Genn of MGA One reviewer states,'If Paul Simon, Becker and Fagen, and Sting were genetically spliced and then raised twenty years later, this is what their music would sound like...great!'