The State Of Music: Part 38: Delaware - New Sweden

I have been sitting on New Sweden for a while now, not literally of course as that would be unpleasant for everyone involved. But this Wilmington based 5 piece were discovered just prior to the State Of Music SXSW Showcase being a bizarre reality and, like most State Of Music posts, they just got stuck in the pipeline. New Sweden really do deliver the kind of music I would listen to if I was ever to find myself driving through the mid-Atlantic region of the United States. I am sure with Delaware being the 2nd smallest and 6th less populated of the US State finding enough dedicated talent to create such music is no easy ask. New Sweden have nailed it though and should be a welcome addition to any music collection.

Download their album, have a little listen now - but save it for a lazy Sunday over newspapers, coffee and pastries.

CMM: Welcome to Choose My Music. I suppose the first question is - who are New Sweden and where in the world would we find you?

NS: New Sweden is an alt-americana band based out of Wilmington, Delaware...a five piece consisting of one time strangers, friends, family, rebels, jerks, a lady and gentlemen... a band pushing to create and share the music that moves them.

William Dobies- guitar, vocals, banjo, mandolin, harmonica Caroline Stratton- viola, pump organ, vocals, Dan Weirauch- bass, vocals, guitar, banjo, pump organ Jimmy Dukenfield- banjo, vocals, pump organ, guitar, mandolin, harmonica Zac Dukenfield- drums, percussion

CMM: How long has the band been in existence and how did it all start?

NS: In 2009 Jimmy Dukenfield and William Dobies, two singer songwriters, met to share some of what they had been working on. It was soon realized by both that to accomplish what they wanted they would need a full band. So after two ads on Craigslist and a few auditions, the group was completed with the addition of Dan Weirauch, Caroline Stratton and Zac Dukenfield.

CMM: How best would you describe your music?

NS: New Sweden molds their sound using a blend of traditional folk instruments (viola, banjo, acoustic guitar, mandolin, pump organ, bass, percussion) with a modern edge. The lyrics are sincere, and powerful. The performances range from beautifully orchestrated listening-room subtle sounds to rowdy and energetic shows.

CMM: I found it quite difficult to find a band in Delaware. How is the scene out there right now? What the genre of choice out there at the moment?

NS: We hear a lot of flack for being Delawareans, but there's actually a lot more going on than most people care to recognize. Delaware has a small but dedicated music scene with representatives in most rock-based genres. Within the last few year there has been real growth in the Newark and Wilmington areas, especially in the Indie Rock, Blues Rock, Rock n’ Roll and Folk Rock categories. It's tough being so close to major cities like Philadelphia, but we're building a scene slowly and surely and we're proud to call Delaware home!

CMM: One thing I am hoping to find in this series is some kind of link between where a band is based and their music. Do you feel as an band you are influenced by your surroundings and the scene around you?

NS: How can a writer not be influenced in part by what surrounds them? Along with other things, New Sweden tries to take their everyday ventures and incorporate them into their songs, creating an experience that can be felt by most of their listeners. Is it location specific? Perhaps to an extent, but Delaware is a melting pot of different cultures, so we're influenced by a wider array than areas like Nashville, for example, and those locational influences might not be quite as strong. We write about things that affect people all over the world... Life, love, politics, drugs...

CMM: What other influences do you have, musical or otherwise?

NS: What doesn’t influence New Sweden is probably a better question! Each member would have an entire list of musical influences but it’s safe to say we would start with Bob Dylan, Neil Young, and Tom Waits, and then move on to the Avett Brothers, the Felice Brothers, Delta Spirit and Justin Townes Earle.

CMM: Could you perhaps give a run down of the music you have released so far?

NS: New Sweden released a self recorded Live EP called “Lover’s Lane” which was recorded in a house we rented on Lover’s Lane in Arden, DE. It was recorded to be handed out at XPN’s NON-COMMvention in May 2011, but turned out to be a sought-after fan favorite thanks to the beauty of its rawness. We then released an LP named “The Mountain” in July of 2011 w/ Grammy Award-winning sound engineer Nick DiDia and local producer Ritchie Rubini. It's a collection of New Sweden’s best work to date, recorded live in its entirety in only three days! We're currently working on our second EP to be released this spring with talks of perhaps a live album sometime in the next year or so.

CMM: Are you able to get out an play live much?. Where are your favourite places to play both in and out of state?

NS: New Sweden plays all over the Wilmington, Philadelphia and the West Chester area and we've started to branch out in New York City and other larger surrounding cities. We've also been lucky enough to open up for acts like The Felice Brothers and James McMurtry. There are two venues in particular that stand out as favorites, and they're World Cafe Live at the Queen in Wilmington, DE and Kung Fu Neck Tie in Philadelphia, PA. Both venues offer fans a true New Sweden experience - allowing our sound to be captured as it was intended to be heard.

CMM: What's next in the pipeline for you?

NS: Well, we'll certainly plan to continue to tour in support of “The Mountain”. We have an exciting line-up of shows and radio appearances planned over the next few months. As mentioned, a new batch of songs is already in the works for the next EP and we're discussing the possibility of a live album. Ultimately, our goal is to keep making and playing the music we love while focusing on booking key festivals and venues that can put us in front of the right kind of audiences. Along the way, we'll continue to create new online videos and raw New Sweden-produced home studio recordings to keep the fans happy between releases.

CMM: And finally, where can people reach out to you online and where can they get hold of your stuff?

NS: You can find music videos and stream both of New Sweden's albums in their entirety at NewSwedenMusic.com. Fans can be kept up to date by joining our mailing list and connecting with us on Facebook (Facebook.com/NewSwedenMusic) and Twitter (Twitter.com/NewSwedenMusic). Among other places, New Sweden’s music can also be found on iTunes, Amazon.com, Spotify and BandCamp.com.


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