The title from the recent Songswarm release is a noun. By definition, Songswarm is ‘two or three performers practicing their art or act of improvisational accompaniment on each other’s original songs in front of an audience’. PuffBunny Records ups the ante for the pot of tracks collected on Songswarm, Vol. 1, offering six songwriters with two tracks each on the release. The album gathers songwriters in a circle, presenting the tunes in a live setting. Taylor Pie was the catalyst for the project She plays on the album as well as surrounding herself with top tunesmiths from the Lone Star State. Songswarm, Vol.1 presents music from Texans such as Michael O’Connor, Jeff Plankenhorn, George Ensle, Greg Whitfield, and Jack Saunders. The players offer their music as they back each other instrumentally on the album.
Taylor Pie (Susan Taylor) has a resume in music going back to the 1960’s as a part of the Pozo Seco Singers who took their hit “Time” to the top of the charts. She fronted a Country band in New York City in the 1970’s and travelled as a solo act during the 1980’s. Throughout her career, the art of the song was at the heart of what Taylor Pie found important about playing. She found a home in the Songswarm movement feeling that it ‘has become my favorite way to walk on a stage’. Songswarm, Vol. 1 offers two tracks from Taylor Pie as she closes out the compilation with “Peace Within”, and brings in help for “Oh, Mandolin” from Michael O’Connor and Jeff Plankenhorn to form a trio of mandolins to back her song. Greg Whitfield whispers the story of a guitar born in Nazareth, Pennsylvania with “Martin’s Song” as George Ensle strums Folk Blues for “Knee Deep in the River” and Jack Saunders tells the tale of a troubadour in “This Highway”. The gathering of musicians presents the gentle picking of Michael O’Connor as the South Texas Walk of Fame recipient sings of the “Homesick Boy” as he introduces a hard luck story on a rambling rhythm with “Throw a Nickel”. Jeff Plankenhorn brings his own guitar creation (The Plank) into Songswarm, Vol. 1, relating a tale of temptation with “Trouble Find Me” and welcomes Taylor Pie in on mandolin for a story about his house in “The Mess”.