A few years back while Kansas City-native Sara Swenson was picking out a new guitar to strum, someone mistakenly referred to her as “the singer-songwriter.” Rather than correcting the error, she decided to try and fulfill the title. A writer by nature, Swenson unexpectedly found a new voice, penning tunes known for their honesty and connections to listeners’ personal experiences.
Following her first year of public performing, she released her debut album in September 2008, a self-titled effort produced by Don Chaffer. The nine tracks feature minimal instrumentation – primarily Swenson’s acoustic guitar with additional decoration by Chaffer – to emphasize the songwriting and voice.
“It feels personal, powerful, life affirming,” Present Magazine reviewer Pete Dulin wrote about the record. “With this debut album, it is evident that Swenson is more than capable of capturing the intangible feelings and bonds that nonetheless have a physical impact and emotional resonance.”
As Swenson’s album made it into more hands and more audiences experienced her live performances, the local music scene began to recognize her. In 2009, voters selected her as Kansas City’s “Singer-Songwriter of the Year” at the Pitch Music Awards. (She has since been nominated for the same title in the upcoming 2010 Pitch Music Awards, as well.) Her self-titled album also garnered the #1 spot on the “100 Best Recordings of 2009” by local radio station 90.1 KKFI.
To date, 2010 has only enriched Swenson’s music career. In January she released the digital single “Be Not Far,” which went on to earn her the winning slot in the 2010 OurStage Lilith Fair Local Talent Search for Kansas City.
In late spring 2010, she recorded a new record at Woodland Studios in Nashville, Tenn., collaborating once again with producer Don Chaffer. The album, which boasts supporting vocals from Katie Herzig, Gregory Alan Isakov and Lori Chaffer, explores new territory for Swenson, in terms of both depth and diversity of sound. The record, titled “All Things Big and Small” will be available in July 2010.
Swenson continues to regularly perform both solo and in collaboration with various musicians, including guitarist/pedal steel/dobro player Jeff Larison, both around Kansas City and in other cities.
For more information about Swenson and her music, please visit her website at www.saraswenson.com