Oliver Swain strums his folk music on his 120 year old goat skin banjo.
The instrument creates a unique twist in his rendition of Bruce Springsteen’s I’m on Fire, which is one of the songs on his album, In a Big Machine.
The album features five of Swain’s original songs as well as some traditional folk tunes. It builds on the experimental folk sound Swain became known for with his fusion of alternative folk and traditional music during his time as part of other musical groups including Outlaw Social and The Bills.
In a Big Machine features vocals by Emily Braden, who recently won Best of the Best during New York’s JazzMobile Vocal Competition.
Swain, from Victoria, has performed throughout North America, Australia and Europe and recently toured with Juno Award-winner Toni Childs.
For the past 15 years Swain has honed his craft. While he was part of The Bills the group won two Prairie Music Awards and while working with Outlaw Social the group received a Western Canadian Music Award nomination for Outstanding Roots Group in 2008.
Swain performs at Gabriola’s The Old Crow Cafe Wednesday (Aug. 7) at 8 p.m. Fiddler Jaron Freemon-Fox opens the concert.
Feemon-Fox combines his influences of Celtic and bluegrass fiddling with Indian classical music and jazz to create his innovative sound. He performs on the violin of his late mentor, Oliver Schroer. Tickets are $12 in advance from Artworks or $15 at the door.