Keith Swinney Band
puts new spin on
traditional cowboy music
southern Indiana group stays busy year-round
Michella M. Marino
(November 2006) - The Keith Swinney Band is the perfect
picture of a group of hard-working country boys trying to make a name
for themselves in the wide world of music. Based out of southeastern
Indiana, the band has been around since 2002 and is composed of Swinney,
Joe Tellas of Greensburg, Jack Addison of London, England, Ron Pickett
of Holton, Ind., and Josh Taylor of San Jacinto, Ind. Swinney is the
lead vocalist but also plays the guitar, while both Tellas and Addison
play guitar and also sing. Pickett is featured on the bass with Taylor
Keith Swinney Band hails mostly
from Ripley County, Ind., and has
opened for many major acts. From left
in the back row, they are Ron Pickett,
Joe Tellas, Josh Taylor and Jack Addison.
Keith Swinney is in the center.
Swinney, 24, of Holton, is the bands founder and
has been involved in music since he was 12. Surprisingly, his great-grandmother,
Maxine Wilson, taught him to play the guitar, and he then took guitar
lessons in Greensburg provided by another set of grandparents. He became
involved in his first band, Hoosier Daddy, at age 15, but broke off
from that local band a couple years later to form a band of his own.
Swinney was under the M&N Production Co. from Versailles, Ind.,
but broke ties with that label due to lack of work.
Honestly, that was the wisest move I couldve made,
The new band Swinney created was simply called The Keith Swinney
Band and, unlike Swinneys previous situation, has more than
enough work to keep them booked. The band only takes three weekends
off a year: Thanksgiving, Christmas, and usually one weekend in the
The band has played essentially every weekend for the past four years,
despite the fact the members all have other jobs. They play a wide variety
of small to very substantial size venues. We play everything from
bars, clubs, and honkytonks to Verizon and Blue Ash, Swinney said.
The type of music the Keith Swinney Band plays also varies. According
to their website, When one sees the Keith Swinney Band play live,
they not only hear everything from traditional to modern country, but
they also hear some classic and modern rock songs as well.
Swinney said, We play everything from Hank Williams to Kid Rock.
He knows that when he wears his big cowboy hat, people are going to
expect typical country music, but thats not all theyre going
to get. Swinney knows his music is tinted with a country sound, but
his band covers several genres of music. Each musician has his own image,
and not all of them wear the typical cowboy hat and boots. They all
have their own individuality.
The band makes up its own set list and modifies as it goes, if necessary.
We play the crowd. We read the crowd, Swinney said.
Swinney and his band have opened up for such big names as Kenny Chesney,
Toby Keith, Neil McCoy and Tracy Byrd. On Oct. 8, they provided the
entertainment for the Old National Fun Zone at the Pan Am Plaza in downtown
Indianapolis prior to the Coltss NFL game.
However, their greatest honor came during what was supposed to be a
Chris Cagle concert. In June 2005, the Keith Swinney Band was scheduled
to open up for Cagle at a free concert that was part of the summer concert
series at Blue Ash in Cincinnati. Thousands of fans were in the audience
expecting to hear Cagle perform as the headliner, but at the last second,
Cagle had to cancel. The Blue Ash concert promoter thought he could
get another famous country singer to fill in on short notice, but that
backup plan also fell through. So the Keith Swinney Band became the
headline band for the night.
The fans in the crowd were all fired up, and both the band and the promoter
expected most of the crowd to head out when they were told that Cagle
would not be performing. Amazingly, they did not and, according to Swinney,
the crowd went wild at their performance and stayed until the very end.
We played like we were stars and the promoter was flabbergasted,
Swinney said. We were driven by the crowd.
The band played for four hours with a break in the middle yet the crowd
never left until the Keith Swinney Bands performance ended. It
was the best night and experience weve had, Swinney said.
A CD is in the works for the band, but it has been so busy playing the
last couple of years that it has taken longer to complete than expected.
Swinney said he hopes to have the project finished up within the year
and to take a little time out next year to work on their original music.
The band also hopes to eventually sign on with a big label, but its
main goal is to be able to do what the band members love best for a
Drummer Josh Taylor said, Everyones goal is to make a living
by what were doing. Itd be great if music was all we could
The Keith Swinney Band plays all over the area and will be at Leftys
Pub in Batesville, Ind., on Nov. 10, and at Poppys Sports Bar
& Grill in Lawrenceburg, Ind., on Nov. 11. The band is scheduled
back in Madison, Ind., at River House II on Dec. 15-16 and will play
at the Pit Stop Bar & Grill in Sparta, Ky., on New Years Eve.
For more information on the Keith Swinney Band
and its schedule, visit www.KeithSwinneyBand.com.
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