Short Stories – J Schwall


SKU: 2010 Category:


“one of Madison’s best songwriters”
Rich Albertoni, Isthmus

Blues master Jim Schwall serves up straight shot portraits of ordinary folks – losing track of their best laid plans, betraying expectations, shanghaied by love. These Short Stories are deftly written, biting, touching, hilarious. “Superball Sunday” relates a couples’ blowing their year’s finances on a luxury hotel to watch the Super Bowl, and missing the game in favor of rediscovering one another. Several songs take place in barrooms, Schwall’s canvas of human frailty and foibles.

1. Blues Song
2. Depression
3. Sunday-Go-To-Cheatin’
4. When They Dance
5. Superball Sunday
6. Annabel
7. Again
8. American
9. Somehow I Got Your Love
10. The Ballad of Eddie and Becky
11. Lime Green Leisure Suit
12. Easy On The Eyes
13. The Cut-off Song
14. Jersey Boy

Jim Schwall – guitars, mandolin, piano accordion, bass
Mary Gaines – cello, vocals
Chris Wagoner – lap steel, fiddle, dobro, vocals
Brian O’Donnell – fiddle

John Romano – cajun accordion
Maggie Weiser – guitar, vocals
Ken Stevenson – bass
Ethan Noordyk – drums
Amy Curl – vocals
Blake Thomas – vocals

Jim Schwall started playing several different kinds of music on several different instruments while in elementary school. By the time he finished high school, he was primarily playing various kinds of traditional folk music, including bluegrass and country blues, on the guitar. Gradually, originals, usually based on traditional styles, replaced the traditional tunes and Jim has continued to play solo gigs all his life. In college, Jim met harmonica and piano player Corky Siegel, added a pickup to his Gibson guitar, and they started the Siegel-Schwall Band, performing for about ten years and releasing over a dozen record albums on the Vanguard and Wooden Nickel labels. After Siegel-Schwall disbanded in 1974, Jim continued to play in several versions of the Jim Schwall Band while going back to college, eventually completing a doctorate in music composition, becoming a professor of music, and teaching composition in universities. More recently, Jim has been teaching in high schools and doing social service work, running a program housing the mentally ill who had become homeless. Siegel-Schwall started playing reunion concerts in 1988, releasing a live album in 1989 and a studio album in 2005, both on Alligator Records.

Now retired from the social services, Jim divides his time between the two non-human loves of his life – cameras and guitars. He’s a lifelong photographer and shows his pre-silver prints several times a year. The guitar part consists of occasional Siegel-Schwall gigs, playing lead guitar for Marques Bovre’s SoDangYang, fronting the dance-friendly party band Bar Time Lovers, playing bass with the Cajun Strangers, jamming with guitarist/singer Andy Ewen in the current version of the Jim Schwall Band, and his life-long favorite activity, playing his own songs, a couple traditional tunes, and occasionally songs written by friends like Bill Morrissey and Loudon Wainwright, on acoustic 6- and 12-string guitars.


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