CD Review: Thom Swift – The Fortunate Few

photo by Scott Blackburn

I like good people and I like great music.  And I love when good people make great music.  Thom Swift is good people and the music on The Fortunate Few is great music. 

The Fortunate Few is the 3rd solo recording for this multi award-winning roots/blues musician.  Swift’s previous two solo albums, Into The Dirt (2007) and Blue Sky Day (2010) both won Music Nova Scotia Awards and East Coast Music Awards for Blues Recording of the Year.  Swift’s childrens project with Keith Mullins titled The Wood Buffalo Youth Song Project (2011) won a Music Nova Scotia Award and East Coast Music Award for Children’s Recording of the Year.  With The Fortunate Few, Swift’s award success should continue.

The Fortunate Few sees Swift reflect on all aspects of life, with songs written for his wife (“You”), for his children (“Forever”) for his friends (“Circle of Friends”), about mortality (“Come Undone”) and about being thankful for all that he has (“The Fortunate Few”).  Much of this album reminded me of Bruce Springsteen (in a good way) and I can’t help but think that if Springsteen released some of these songs (especially “The Fortunate Few” and “Circle of Boots”), he would be looking at a return to the top of the charts.

The Fortunate Few - Thom SwiftThe album starts with “200 Miles” a song about the challenges of living in a fishing community, and being “200 miles from Canso heading home” to a loved one.  That is followed by the beautiful “The Fortunate Few”.  This song brings to the forefront the importance of being aware and thankful for what one has.   “Sweet Thing” is a delightful, fun blues song featuring a very catchy guitar hook.  “River John” is a song written by Ray Bonneville about River John, Nova Scotia. “Runaway Train” is a fun song about “that friend” who insists on making bad decisions.  I especially like the line “you’re burning bridges that ain’t been built”. 

The second half of the album starts with “You” “Circle of Boots” and “Walk”.  “You” and “Walk” are both delightful love songs.  “Come Undone” is a song about one’s mortality.  You know you are going to die, so you might as well live life to the fullest while you are here.  The last song on the album “Forever” is the song Swift has left for his children when he has “come undone”.  As a parent of two small children, this song hit me right in the heart…while driving nonetheless.  Tom revealed that “parents who have held those little hands in the dark will get that tune”.  I agree.

“Circle of Boots”, is my favourite song on this album.  It is the first single and was co-written with Dave Gunning.  It is a story about friends who stand together until the end.  A true song about friendship and the things friends go through together.  The song was written following a conversation between Swift and Gunning about standing in a circle with bandmates before going out on stage…looking down…and noticing that their boots were all in a circle – a “circle of boots”.  The trust, dedication and love in such a circle (whether bandmates or sports teammates), is something one does not experience anywhere else in life.  Listen to the song below.

The Fortunate Few is a fantastic album.  In reflecting on his own life, Swift gives the listener an avenue to reflect themselves on the good, the bad and the inevitable.   And we “raise a glass.  We are the fortunate few”.

Track Listing
1. 200 Miles
2. The Fortunate Few
3. Sweet Thing
4. River John
5. Runaway Train
6. You
7. Circle of Boots
8. Walk
9. Come Undone
10. Forever

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