About Swallows’ Clear Sky Relapse (2010)
In 2009, drummer Ben Stein joined the Swallows’ line-up for a short stint and was with the band long enough to play on Swallows’ Clear Sky Relapse. The drum parts for the songs “Clear Sky Relapse” and “Rattle Them Bones” on the EP were tracked at GilderSound just before mixing the songs.
Since it was more or less a collection of home demos that had been brought to the studio for a bit of polishing, the Clear Sky Relapse EP release was a fairly low-key affair and without much fanfare; nevertheless, word started to spread about the band’s new folk Americana direction.
In October 2010, Buzz Magazine in Sydney, Australia touted it as one of the best EPs of the year in 2010 and gave it 5 out of 5 stars. During this period, the band was playing live shows routinely, both in Minneapolis and around the Midwest, eventually picking up opening slots for national touring acts (e.g., Slim Cessna’s Auto Club, Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside, Shawn James, The Kopecky Family Band, etc.) coming through Minneapolis at First Avenue’s 7th Street Entry, The Turf Club and The Triple Rock Social Club.
As some old band members exited Swallows, including guitarist Frank Spencer and drummer Ben Stein, new band members joined the line-up, including mandolin player Mike Nordby and drummer Justin DeLeon, who both joined the band in 2010. This allowed Swallows to keep performing without taking a hiatus.
In 2011, cellist and vocalist Toni Tinetti joined the line-up, at first as a temporary substitute on cello for Aaron, who had scheduling conflicts for a few months. In the end, Toni agreed to stay on with Swallows after Aaron rejoined the line-up. Toni remained with Swallows for the next couple of years, playing cello and adding back-up vocals, which allowed Aaron to move more fully into the role of bass player for the band. Although Toni is no longer a regular member of Swallows, her contributions to both 2012s Witching & Divining and 2020s In the Shadow of the Seven Stars are significant and memorable.