Indie folk-rock duo to perform at Next Stage Arts

PUTNEY — Next Stage Arts presents indie folk-rock duo Sway Wild on Thursday, Aug. 31, at 7 p.m., at 15 Kimball Hill.

Sway Wild was born on a small island in the Salish Sea. Following a two-month sailing voyage through the remote anchorages of British Columbia, indie-folk duo Dave McGraw & Mandy Fer returned to their San Juan Island, Washington, home still hungry to explore.

"The result was nothing short of an artistic epiphany; an evolution of sound that called out loudly for a new name," says the artists' website. Sway Wild released its self-titled debut album worldwide in 2019.

Sway Wild's sound explores the corners of rock, pop, funk, and folk, "but at its nucleus it is undeniably a music full of joy," continues the About page of their website. "It can squeeze the heart in your chest, it can draw tears from your eyes, and it can force you to get up and move your body; over and over, it somehow manages to do all three at once."

Fer and McGraw say their "gorgeous harmonies and lyrics serve to both process and share their jubilation, grief, and frustration with a complex and deeply imperfect society."

Fer plays a Fender Stratocaster for both lead guitar and chordal rhythms, often at the same time. Fer also tours as the lead guitarist for Grammy-nominated Allison Russell and recently performed with Brandi Carlile and Jason Isbell.

For Fer and McGraw, the sailing expedition served as a kind of sabbatical from seven years of heavy international touring, sharing stages with the likes of Iron & Wine, Gregory Alan Isakov, and Mandolin Orange.

With Fer refocused on electric guitar, McGraw behind a drum kit for the first time in over a decade, they say, they fallowed themselves to rediscover everything they loved about making music.

The new material was honed on tours across the U.S. and in Europe, performing alongside Lake Street Dive, Rising Appalachia, Charlie Hunter Trio, and others.

"The sheer creative energy of this group can't be overstated," Keith Marks, executive director of Next Stage Arts, said in a news release. "Sway Wild may be a duo, but their sound is massive and refreshingly unique."

Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the gate, and $10 for access to the livestream. Next Stage will provide a cash bar. Advance tickets are available at For information, call 802-387-0102.

This The Arts item was submitted to The Commons.

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