Making a Scene Presents an Interview with Jeff Crandall of Swallows
A witness standing outside the nearby Crown and Seven Stars Pub looked on in horror as he watched the scene unfold. He wanted to rush to the poor woman’s side but could not compel himself forward. Instead, he found himself slowly fading into the shadow of the Seven Stars.
Swallows’ In the Shadow of the Seven Stars tells the story of Frances Coles’ murder and its aftermath, following the murder’s only witness on a haunted journey from London to America in pursuit of her killer, whom many believed to be Jack the Ripper.
The music for Seven Stars was written shortly after the release of Swallows’ second studio album Witching & Divining in 2012. After several delays and a few line-up changes, Swallows have finally completed the album they began recording back in 2014.
In the intervening years, members of Swallows have worked on other projects, including 2017’s Deep in the Waves, released under the moniker J. Briozo, and 2019’s To Combat Loneliness: Compositions based on the works of David Foster Wallace, which earned Swallows’ Aaron Kerr, Tyson Allison and Justin DeLeon a 2020 Independent Music Award nomination for “Best Concept Album.”
Stylistically, In the Shadow of the Seven Stars combines the dark atmospherics of the Americana-influenced Witching & Divining with the rock & roll swagger of the band’s 2008 debut, Songs for Strippers (and other professions), which landed Swallows the #57 position on Consequence of Sound’s “Top 100 Albums of 2008” year-end list.
Swallows’ line-up on Seven Stars includes Aaron Kerr (bass, cello, piano), Brett Hansen (electric guitar, lap steel, backing vocals), Jeff Crandall (lead vocals, acoustic and electric guitar, piano, organ), Justin DeLeon (drums, percussion), Mike Nordby (mandolin, percussion) and Tyson Allison (electric guitar). Former Swallow Toni Tinetti also joined the band in the studio to give life to the voice of Frances Coles’ ghost.
Swallows were assisted in this effort by mastering engineer Tom Garneau (Prince, R.E.M., Semisonic), recording engineers Steve Murray and Randy Gildersleeve, double bassist Chris Bates, violinist Laura Harada, and multi-instrumentalists Ben Valine (banjo, viola) and Randy Gildersleeve (slide guitar, mandolin).
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