About Swallows’ Witching & Divining (2012)
A complete Swallows’ line-up began to record 2012’s Witching & Divining in early 2011. The songs for the album had been primarily been written between 2009 and 2011 when the band agreed to write a new set of songs focusing on the four classical elements of nature – earth, air, fire and water. The working title for the album was “Covert Transmissions to the Elementals,” as the songs were intended to have both surface and sub-surface meanings. After the intensely self-focused Songs for Strippers set, an album about things outside of the self seemed appropriate.
There is nearly an album’s worth of additional material that at one time or another made it into Swallows’ live set, but ultimately wasn’t considered for the album. Among those songs is J. Briozo’s “Sun Sun True,” which was considered too bright and pop-oriented for the more folk and blues-rock oriented Witching & Divining set. When recording started for the J. Briozo album, Jeff went back through the Covert Transmissions material “stole” the song since it was a better match for the Deep in the Waves set. There are several excellent songs from the Covert Transmissions writing process that never made it past the demo stage for a variety of reasons, but which should be recorded and released as a “Covert Transmissions” outtakes album at some point.
When it was released, Witching & Divining received radio play across the United States and Canada and garnered many great reviews in Americana and roots journals and in Minneapolis/St. Paul publications and websites, including the City Pages, The Current and the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. The album created a lot of buzz about the band and Swallows played shows all over Minnesota and the Midwest in support of the album, including a memorable set at the Midwest Music Fest in 2013. The album definitely put the band on the radar in Minnesota’s Twin Cities.