About Swanee


David "Swanee" Swanson was born in Windsor Ontario. Growing up there he had many opportunities to learn and appreciate music, theatre and the arts. He was adventurous in creative fields and had some great mentors.

Swanee has resided in Banff, Alberta since 1979 which has given him opportunity to live and work in the best of both worlds. It brings to mind the phrase "My life is better than your vacation". Banff and the Rockies have given him the opportunity to perform for Royalty and Reprobates, Princes and Thieves and all the rest n his own backyard for a global audience.  Swanee has promoted LIVE music in the Canadian Rockies for 35 years but he is also a musician, agent, and promoter, special events community coordinator and restaurateur / nightclub owner. Swanee has shared the stage with countless number of great musicians and bands too numerous to mention. (They wouldn't admit it publicly anyway). He has always had the reputation as an entertainer.  This recording is intended to show the musician side, but he still manages to slide in a few musical "one liners". This project brings together a variety of influences; Blues , R & B , Swing and Bluegrass roots. Each style having its own distictive sound. Yes, and he plays the standup bass. Sings, and plays harmonica simultaneously on many songs. Like a three ring circus. Swanee has recently recorded in Los Angeles, Nashville and Alberta and hopes to continue this trend.


Turn it on and crank it up.



A excerpt from a Rocky Mountain Outlook arcticle by Dave Whitfield.


From L.A. to the Bow Valley, man about Banff David ‘Swanee’ Swanson has a new CD in hand and will be putting it out there for public consumption at a couple of November performances. On Thursday Nov. 20, Swanee and a five-piece will play Tavern 1883 in Canmore and on Nov. 23 will play Banff’s Rose and Crown. With Swanee will be Grant Slavin (bass), Mark Dalton (drums), Russ Brent (guitar, lap steel), Dennis Williams (guitar, vocals) and John Cronin (guitar, dobro). Just returned from New Orleans, Swanee (vocals, bass, harmonica) said the opportunity to record at Studio Supreme in L.A. with quality session musicians, “was a once in a lifetime opportunity. Ryan Petersen, he’s a Grammy Award winner, and John Spiker, who plays bass for Jack Black’s band and we had studio guys who played for Selena Gomez, Phil Collins, Kenny Loggins and others. The name drops with this project are insane.“We got it done in four and a half days after I’d sent the arrangement down so they could all practice.”The 11-track CD is a collection of Swanee favourites ranging from an 1880s tune to 1969 tweaked and arranged by Swanee.

“They’re all songs I’ve done over the years and a lot of people will have heard them before,” he said. “They’re classics with the first Latin rock beat, a John Mayall song, I’ve toured with him, a play on Duke Ellington’s “Satin Doll” and others.

“They’re covers, with changes to each. I wanted to feature my art; standup bass, vocals and harmonica. I was caught up in the nightclub business in Banff for years and I backburnered this. I actually got the CDs in July, but I haven’t hustled them at all.

“The songs are rhythm and blues, swing, bluegrass, a pretty eclectic mix. The recording is very clean and that was the intention, I didn’t want all the bells and whistles and effects.“From this, I’d like to get performing more and do more shows. I’m working on a webpage and it should be ready prior to the shoes.”If nothing else, picking up a copy of Swanee is a good opportunity to check out the CD’s cover art – of a very young Swanee and family friend Stan Westlake working harmonicas in a 1957 family photo.

There will be a cover charge for both shows and CDs will be available for purchase, or for autographs.



A excerpt from a Crag and Canyon Banff arcticle by Michelle Ferguson.


In the entertainment industry you never know when you’ll get that big break — for Banffite, David (Swanee) Swanson, opportunity came a-knockin’ this summer, putting an end to about 20 years of what-ifs. After putting the project on the back burner for a number of years, the harmonica-totin’ musician finally got to record his first album in L.A. this summer.“I just thought that I’d like to put together something that is a really clean version showing off, rather than my bad jokes on stage, I would rather have it show some of the musicality,” said Swanson. The self-titled album, Swanee, certainly does just that — prominently featuring the Banff musician’s proficiency for harmonica, vocals and stand-up bass in a variety of styles: R&B, blues, swing, bluegrass and roots. The album features an 11-song mix as he covers off his trademark novelty tunes ranging from 1880 to 1969. “I call it covers, but it’s pretty eclectic. I imagine most people, except for me playing them, have never heard them before. Must Be The Jelly (‘Cause Jam Don’t Shake Like That) is not something that’s probably on your iTunes,” said Swanson. Despite the absence of his stand-up act, the album also does a good job capturing the raw energy of Swanson’s live performances. Produced by Grammy-award winning recording artist Ryan Petersen and John Spiker, bass player for Jack Black’s band, the high-tempo album also features an all-star roster of ‘gun-slingers’ that have backed up artists like Selena Gomez, Phil Collins and Tom Petty. Although he’s played with big acts before — as one of the valley’s main promoters since 1984 he likes to joke that bands didn’t have a choice about letting him on stage because he held their pay cheques — Swanson was admittedly a little star struck. “This was a once in a lifetime experience. I had a great opportunity,” he said.

Even though working with such talented people meant each song took three or four takes, instead of 50 — the whole process took just 4 1/2 days — doesn’t mean the album is perfect. There’s no pitch control, no drum tracks and no special effects.

“It’s not so sliced and diced that everything falls on a line. It’s a little bit old school, because when you hear albums from that time it wasn’t precision. It was human. Everything now is so robotic — it has a human feel to it,” said Swanson.

Swanson has two CD release parties this week: Thursday at Tavern 1883 in Canmore, where tickets are $10 and include a drink, and Sunday at the Rose and Crown in Banff, where the show starts at 9:30 p.m. and costs $5 at the door.