Andrew Swift: Australia’s New Golden Guitar Hero

Andrew Swift performs at Groundwater Country Music Festival on the Gold Coast in July. Andrew Swift performs at Groundwater Country Music Festival on the Gold Coast in July.

Groundwater Country Music Festival 2019 line-up is stacked with iconic performers and swollen with award winners.

Double Golden Guitar collection agent Andrew Swift (QANTAS New Talent Of The Year and Alt Country Album Of The Year) is fresh off a national tour with The Wolfe Brothers, ending at their home town in Tasmania.

The Wolfe Brothers return to grace the Groundwater stage this year, but it’s Andrew’s debut on the official line-up. “I tagged along once with the Adam Eckersley Band. It’s such a great festival. I remember [thinking] 'this is awesome, I’d love to play this one'. I did a duet while I was there with Harmony James.”

Back in his home state of Victoria, Swift took some time to come around to the true fit he has with American roots country and where you can find his kind of jam in Melbourne. “It’s definitely here. Maybe I was just out of the scene and ignorant as to what country was for many years; it took me a long time to sort of find my place.

“There’s a huge Americana scene on the north side… in Brunswick. In Melbourne, it’s so diverse – live music every night of the week in a million different bars… usually a genre for everybody out there if you know where to look.”

The ten tracks on Golden Guitar-anointed 2018 album ‘Call Out For The Cavalry’ present ideas of consultation and trust, with a healthy artistic license of imagination. “There is a bit of a theme… of people who could do with help, or asked for help and it’s been ignored.

“The whole country community has been very accepting of me since I found myself in it, and there’s been advice coming from all sorts of places. My best friend is probably my go-to for advice: Gretta Ziller, who’s also playing Groundwater. We work really well with each other and we tour together. So if I need some advice – it’s Gretta Ziller.”

Obviously we have an exportable commodity here, on its way to break out into the homeland of Americana any minute… perhaps at Nashville Americana Fest? “I went last year for a couple of days, and I was part of the showcase at the Bluebird Café with Sounds Australia. I’d like to get back to Americana Fest and do it properly. It’s like Tamworth, but a whole 'nother level.

“I haven’t really worked Nashville out yet. I’ve been a couple of times, but the first time was pretty much a tourist trip with my Mum – I think she was trying to be a wing-woman. I haven’t really seen much of that songwriting side of Nashville yet but I’m hoping to do that this year.”

Successful collaborations so far include two songs: Gretta Ziller on ‘Blood Moon High’ and ‘Fire & Ice’ that wasn’t written as a duet, but after asking Catherine Britt to sing on the record was the chosen track.

“I was stoked. It was the second time I’d ever spoken to her. I felt like I was in high school asking a girl out on a date that I’d spoken to once before and I was pretty nervous, but totally different than high school because she said yes.”

When asked if Americana was a cereal what would it be, Andrew says. “I feel like there’d have to be a bit of cinnamon in there and it’s gonna have some crunch, but it’s gonna go down kinda smooth.

"A cinnamon granola… does that sound alright? The thing about Americana – it’s such a mix and match of different genres that you could put blueberries in there and it’s gonna work.”

Catch Andrew Swift alongside the likes of Lee Kernaghan, Beccy Cole, Adam Eckersley Band and Gretta Ziller at Groundwater Country Music Festival (Gold Coast), which runs 26-28 July.


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