Rock band The Swayback plays in Vail |

Rock band The Swayback plays in Vail

Sarah Mausolf
Vail CO, Colorado
Special to the DailyThe Swayback is Eric Halborg on bass and vocals, William Murphy on guitar, Martijn Bolster on drums and Adam Tymn (not pictured) on guitar and keyboard.

VAIL, Colorado ” The Swayback wears its indie status like a badge of honor. Known to shrug off associations with labels and managers, the Denver rock group has a fiercely independent streak.

Why, then, has The Swayback been taking orders in the studio lately? That’s easy: Members have been recording with Andy Johns, the guy who produced records for Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones.

“You work with a master like that ” with someone who’s made music that’s been the soundtrack to your life basically for so many years ” I didn’t even question it, you know?” bassist Eric Halborg said. “It would be like working with Picasso and saying, ‘I don’t want to use that brush.'”

Armed with a famous producer and new band member Adam Tymn, is The Swayback poised to break out of Denver’s music scene? Dick Dime thinks so. He’s the talent buyer for the Sandbar Sports Grill in West Vail, which hosts The Swayback tonight.

“The Denver music scene is arguably the hottest region in the country right now,” Dime said. “Lots of bands have been signed to major labels, some with platinum record sales such as The Fray. Better still are the less mainstream bands who have garnered national recognition. Bands like Dressy Bessy, The Apples in Stereo, Slim Cessna’s Auto Club, Born in the Flood and on and on. In my opinion The Swayback are next and the based on the quality of the songs, the sky is the limit.”

In the next two months, The Swayback plans to release some new songs showcasing Johns’ influence on the band. Expect to see either an EP with the new songs or a souped-up version of the band’s April album “Long Gone Lads.” Exactly what kind of effect has Johns had on The Swayback? Calling for flourishes like floor tom rolls, Johns has pushed The Swayback toward a more grandiose, complex sound, Halborg said.

The Swayback formed seven years ago as a small punk band in Breckenridge. In recent years, the band’s sound has evolved into a blues-based rock.

“We’re a straight up rock band,” Halborg said. “I think it does have some Avant-garde flourishes, where we might speak to post punk and Brit pop and sometimes even go toward, like, maybe the first wave of punk.”

Adding an extra layer to that sound, the band recently welcomed a fourth musician to the group. Former Vaux member Adam Tymn plays guitar, keyboards, and backup vocals for The Swayback (Tyme won’t be able to make it to Vail because he’ll be in Florida).

Along with its expanding line-up, there are signs The Swayback is on the cusp of bigger things. Spin magazine described the band’s sound as “sinister and seductive” in a September blurb on the Denver music scene, suggesting The Swayback is starting to attract national attention.

While the Mile High City has been a launching pad for nationally-recognized acts lately, the geography does pose a challenge for up-and-coming bands.

“We’re landlocked,” Halborg said. “We’re a little bit isolated from some of the traditional music outlets. The way to sort of break out of Denver, (there’s) touring of course, but making recordings that are special. You can’t really mess with that and it’s going to make it easier for you to leave Denver and have people want to hear those songs.”

High Life Writer Sarah Mausolf can be reached at 970-748-2938 or

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