Kelley Swindall “You Can Call Me Darlin’ If You Want” (Velvet Elk Records, 2020)

It is hard to believe this is a debut album and that this wannabe actress, turned singer-songwriter, was inspired to change course only after heartbreak inspired revenge. This album packs a punch so forthright that anyone would be forgiven for thinking releasing albums was a well-trodden route by Georgia-born Kelley Swindall, with confidence and the courage of her convictions bursting through in her songs.
Swindall lays her cards right out on the table over this newly released 50 minute, 13 song package of delights. Her vocal prowess, inimitable style, and stunning guitar playing are demonstrated effortlessly in ‘I Aint for You and You Aint For Me‘. Then there’s her superb Springsteenesque harmonica playing, tender vocal elegance yet tongue in cheek sense of humour in the title track ‘You Can Call Me Darlin’ If You Want‘. Her charming, whimsical treatment of ‘He Aint You‘ together with her rousing vocal range in ‘You Never Really Loved Me Anyways‘, and the bigger picture takes on a quite a rare form.

Swindall’s writing is full of a compelling zest for life. Not a word or moment wasted nor an opportunity for musicality missed. Yet no instrument is over-used. The array and exciting use of the instrumentation maintains interest from beginning to end. She grew up listening to a few well-known icons, and some may well be detected, but make no mistake, they will not distract. Swindall has honed any influences into her own unique, sometimes quirky, always listenable, intriguing style. Her vintage treatment and Southern twang are all her own.

Don't let this masterpiece pass you by
9/10

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