Question: Why was the SWINGVILLE! album created??

Dana Countryman: That's a very good question. Even though I’ve been involved in a lot of other styles of music, throughout my musical career, I’ve always loved the music from the 1940s and early 1950s. It’s a period of music that occured before I was even born! When I was a little kid, I used to watch old movies like the Bing Crosby-Bob Hope “Road“ films. I loved the lighthearted plots, but especially the catchy happy songs from those films.

In the 1970s, when I was in high school, I was buying Glenn Miller, Spike Jones, and Ella Fitzgerald albums. I had a Four Freshmen album in my car as a teenager, and I would play it all the time. It was actually an 8-track! My friends thought I was crazy to be listening to this stuff, because they were busy listening to Alice Cooper, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, etc.

In 1979, I started a 1940s vocal group, and I started it at the height of the disco era. I found other like-minded singers and we performed in hotel lounges and in restaurants. It was a lot of fun, and we had the extra benefit of doing what virtually no one else was doing. During that time, I was always buying old 78s, and I kept discovering great forgotten music from the '40s.

Throughout the 2000s, after having written and released eight albums of original 1960s style "retro pop", I felt like I had said about everything I had to say in that genre. So, for the Swingville! album, I decided to start writing new songs in the style of my parents' era -- the 1940s.

I completely immersed myself in the music of the Swing Era, and I really studied how the songwriters of that day put their songs together. I started writing new songs with that same vibe, always being very careful not to just copy someone else's work.

I was already friends with a few of the folks who appear on this album, but I also sought out some new (to me) talented singers and musicians that I found through the Internet. Several of them recorded their parts, and sent them to me by email, so I was not actually withh them when they recorded. I later assembled all the parts in my home studio, and I worked hard to make it all sound like we had been all in the same room, at the same time.

When I start arranging a song, I really think of myself as a casting agent. I’m always thinking about "Who would be the perfect person for this part?" Then, I approach the various artists who I know can really fit the bill.

I really enjoyed writing and recording this album, and I'm glad I had the opportunity to finally do it! In a way, the idea came full circle, especially when I think back about myself as a little kid, watching those "Road" movies.

Little did I know, when I was that little kid -- that decades later, I would create my own music, inspired by those films!

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