Music reviews: New albums from Dylan Joel, Toni Swain, Chewee, Adam Simmons and more


Toni Swain, who recently played in Sydney (yes, we should have got this review in time for that but, hey, life…) finds that spot in my musical love life marked Bonnie Raitt and Shelby Lynne. While not the player the great Raitt is – that’s left to an impressive Roy Payne here – and not intensely pained in the manner of Lynne, the Nundle-based Toni Swain makes blues and southern soul from Queensland.

singer/songwriter’s way with blues and its intersection with southern soul comes from the same casually grooving/deceptively pointed place. Bones, for example, is clean but still kinda slinky, and Take Me Away smoulders with strong residual heat, while Bigger Fish, the cafe jazz blues of Breathe and Ten Days are good, diverse examples of this album’s subtle strength: the sense of rhythm in everything. Meanwhile, Out of the Ordinary and You Are the Man are intimate and just church-y enough to offer promise of something stronger next time, and Tattoo is a bright, if slight, ’70s groove of a way to finish the album.