The Great American Grace:
by Chris Connelly

When great intention dies, we out of it may rise....

A few years ago, after having tasted the success and bitterness and disappointment that these endeavors often yield, Jeff Carleton and Chiyoko Yoshida finally laid to rest their band Squash Blossom. A long period of reflection was to follow for the ten year old musical partnership, and despite the bitterness and disappointment, the partnership prevailed.

Perhaps Sweeder was born out of this reflection, or perhaps out of a need to redeem the efforts before. I'd like to think that it was not born at all, because I am romantic, and I love the music. It does not matter what I think, Sweeder lives and breathes, and at an uncanny pace of energy and creativity that would give a lot of the more prolific songwriters a run for their money. That might seem pedestrian, given the history of popular music and its talents that we have and have had, but it takes a real narrowing down to find those songwriters of real substance, together with Yoshida (drums/vocals) and Julie Liu (bass/violin/viola) providing an almost genetically evolved framework for Jeff´s song writing and for the familial marriage of Jeff and Chiyoko´s voices. You have songs that echo the sincerity and the otherworldly spirit of those such as Roy Obison and Gene Clark. Living effortlessly in the most uninhibited and contemporary settings they carry a very important torch. But don´t ever tell them that. They will smile and say thankyou, but they know not what they do. Best to let them get on with it, for songwriting is a very fragile beast, so like tightrope walking, you do not want to breathe until the acrobat has crossed the void, you can only look up with shining eyes.

Like me, you will hear their songs, and immediately want to listen again. You will want to over and over travel that path through the buoyant race of some songs, and wallow in the austere grandeur of others. You´ll be excited, because at last it is new, because you cannot put your finger on it. You cannot fathom the chord changes from melancholy to celebratory, it may bluntly remind you of your own life, of cinematic choking endings that are meant to be re lived, it is compassion in the truest sense of that beautiful word.

Maybe I digress, what do I care? It doesn´t matter, I could sum up and say I am so happy to get goosebumps every time I hear or see them, it is a rare, rare treat.

These people are by no means novices, below is a list of enviable collaboration and accomplishment......fuck them.

Jeff Carleton

  • Sin Ropas
  • Squash Blossom

Chiyoko Yoshida

  • The Bells - Blonde Exodus (to be released)
  • June of 44 - Anahata
  • The Chamber Strings - Gospel Morning
  • Modest Mouse

Julie Liu

  • Mint Aundry
  • Rex
  • June of 44
  • Red Red Meat
  • Falstaff
  • Tortoise
  • Squash Blossom
  • Seam
  • Orso
  • Chris Mills
  • HIM
  • Out in Worship
  • Kid Million
  • 15 Couples
  • Dolly Varden
  • Songs:Ohia

contact sweeder by email: [email protected]

contact sweeder by mail: Sweeder . 1658 N. Milwaukee Ave . PMB 151 . Chicago . IL . 60647