One legend to another

Thom Swift pays musical homage to his friend Roy Black.

Thom Swift is a humble workhorse. On The Legend of Roy Black—his fourth solo record, 14th including collaborations—he took inspiration from both decades of touring and conversations with the album's namesake musician in creating a timeless collection of roots songs. Swift describes Roy Black as an old friend. "We may only talk once a year, but whenever we do it doesn't take long before we're right back on track," he says. "We get right to the point and we end up discussing things that are serious and important to us in our lives."

Black's influence can be felt throughout the album in the plainspoken way that Swift addresses his subjects. Swift's writing covers subject matter from being away from home to watching parents age—topics he hopes will resonate with audiences at shows like his upcoming gig Saturday at Casino Nova Scotia.

"I think there's a little bit of him in all the tunes," says Swift. "In the big picture he stands for all that's good in the world. He's turned his back on things that we've embraced, like the fast pace of life and information technology. It was time to pay homage to him and give him a little tip of the hat."

The sound of this album bears influences from growing up playing in country bands, as well as a recent trip to Nashville. While The Legend of Roy Black still showcases Swift's hallmark fingerstyle guitar playing, musicians Asa Brosius on pedal steel and J.P. Cormier on mandolin weave a different character into the songs. "I think I've gone back to my roots with this album," says Swift. "My personality has always lent itself to enjoying people, and I always love meeting people. That's what it's all about for me, is just connecting."

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