The Midwestern Swing, based in Cincinnati Ohio, gallops through the fertile prairie of Country & Western Swing music with a decidedly Midwestern jazz attitude. Combining the unique sound of the steel guitar with the quintessential American improvised art form that is Hot Jazz and Swing, they perform a wide range of classics and rare gems of the genre served up with some tasty originals. Inspired by the Queen City’s historic contribution to country music from King Records, and WLW’s Midwestern Hayride and Boone County Jamboree radio broadcasts as well as the great Western Swing bands of the 40s, 50s & 60s, The Midwestern Swing is equal parts tradition and modernity. Imagine an all night jam session between Bob Wills, Ray Price, Benny Goodman, Charlie Christian, Louis Jordan, Django Reinhardt, and Cowboy Copas…the palpable energy of this band needs to be seen live and in person.
The Midwestern Swing was formed in 2015 when Cameron Cochran (pedal steel & non-pedal steel guitar, vocals) and Nick Fryer (electric guitar, steel guitar, vocals) combined their mutual love for the history of steel guitar and it’s dominant role in Western Swing and Honky Tonk music and joined forces with Brad Myers (Hollow-body guitar, vocals) who brought his passion for solid swinging Freddie Green style rhythm guitar and conversational musical interaction to tie it all together. After working for a few months as a trio, the group added jazz and bluegrass musician Suzanna Barnes (fiddle, vocals) to round out the melodic lines and to contribute some down home vocals to the band’s growing repertoire. The final pieces of the Midwestern Swing puzzle are Chris Douglas (upright bass, vocals) who fills out the low end of the rhythm section while adding another male lead vocal to the mix, and the swinging drumming of the multi-talented Adam Wheeler (drums, vocals).
In their short existence as a band they have performed a concert at the historic Pemberville Opera House; played a special gala at The Orpheum Theater in Galesburg IL; travelled to Rochester, Saratoga Springs and Brooklyn, NY to perform and teach clinics; established residencies at several spots in Cincinnati; played as part of a King Records tribute in Cincinnati’s Washington Park; and even made a small but distinct footprint in Nashville, TN. Plans for a full length recording are in the works for 2017/2018 as well as a podcast project called Boone County Hayride they are working on with creator, producer, and fellow band member Cameron Cochran. The Midwestern Swing continues to spread it’s swing throughout the country delighting audiences and serving as ambassadors for this sweetly swinging, toe-tapping, vignette of classic American culture while happily bringing it into the 21st Century.
Educational & Community Outreach
Three of the members of The Midwestern Swing hold higher ed degrees in Jazz Studies and are on the faculty of University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music. The entire band is quite comfortable in the classroom environment and happy to offer clinics and masterclasses for high school or college programs on various topics from the history of the Western Swing genre to swing style improvisation and group rehearsal and performance techniques. The group has also participated in community outreach programs on steel guitarist Jerry Byrd, the history of Cincinnati’s King Records, and other topics. The group is generally available in 2018 and beyond as a six to eight piece group for concerts, festivals, events, clinics, masterclasses, and educational and community outreach.
Testimonials About The Midwestern Swing
“…The Midwestern Swing is a hot band steeped in the tradition!”
– Lee Jeffriess (Big Sandy and His Fly-Rite Boys, Rock-a-Billy Hall of Fame)
“The Midwestern Swing remind us that swing music at heart is just plain fun. These guys know how to arrange, solo and lay down a good swing groove. A well thought-out trio with their own take on Western Swing.”
– John Ely (Asleep at the Wheel, Leon Redbone)
“I Would happily hire the Midwestern Swing again, and again. Great Music, and a great group of musicians.”
– Benjamin Haggerty – Mayesfest Founder, Bellvue, KY
“The Midwestern Swing was not only willing to be accommodating to the specific needs of our dancers, they also put on a great performance and kept our dance floor cooking all night”
— Heather Fanska (Cincinnati Balboa Society)
“…their favorite SOTA clinic of the year! Students and teachers alike raved about the event for months afterward. The Midwestern Swing will “bring it” and provide your school with the workshop experience of the year! If you need any more convincing than that, please contact me!”
— Doug Stone, Director of Jazz Ensembles, Rochester School of the Arts