Echoey twang, mournful lovelorn lyrics, piano by Justin Vernon? Yup – we’re all set to start as we mean to carry on in 2020. Swamp Dogg is the handle of 77 year old Jerry Williams, who is anxious to redefine his psychedelic soul superhero image, telling one and all that he’s always considered himself as country : “If you notice I use a lot of horns,but actually, if you listen to my records before I start stacking shit on it, I’m country. I sound country.” Fair – to a point, if The Duke & The King or The Felice Brothers are country, then sure, Swamp Dogg is too.
There’s some history with the music for Swamp Dogg, as he explains: “My granddaddy, he just bought country records out the asshole. Every Friday when he came home from the Navy yard he’d stop off and get his records, like ‘Mule Train’ by Frankie Laine, or ‘Riders in the Sky’ by Vaughn Monroe.” Swamp Dogg’s first time performing on stage was a country song at a talent show when he was six years old: “I did Red Foley’s version of ‘Peace in the Valley.'”
‘Sleeping Without You is a Dragg‘ is taken from Swamp’s new album ‘Sorry You Couldn’t Make It’ which features a crack 14 piece band including Justin Vernon, John Prine, and Jenny Lewis. Swamp Dogg duets with John Prine on two songs (“It’s the first time I seen John since the sixties!” said Swamp): the indelible, psychedelic ballad ‘Memories’ and the reflective ‘Please Let Me Go Round Again‘, originally written and demoed in his forties.