Drummer from Danville is one of swell group of guys


Drummer David White isn't exactly sure from where the name of the band "The Swells" came.

"They already had that name when I joined up a couple of years ago," said White in a telephone interview. "I think it probably is just a play on 'it's swell' or 'it's just swell.'"

The Swells, which is three or four years old, White estimates, includes Chris Sullivan, guitar, saxophone, clarinet and vocals; White; Andy Mason, piano, guitar and vocals; John Pope, trombone; and Scott Wilmoth, bass. White said the "Swells" sound is diverse.

"We play everything from Django Rhinehart to Jimmy Rogers," explained White, who attended high school in Danville and played in the local band The Unknowns in the 1960s. "It's a wide range. Basically, at its root, it is folk and blues. Django is more of a jazz feel, and the Jimmy Rogers stuff is more of an Americana, roots-music feel. We mix it up back and forth, so it doesn't always get boring that way. ... We also cover several Bob Dylan songs off album "National Skyline' and do a lot of New Orleans stuff, too, like the street swing from New Orleans - we do a bunch of that, with all the horns."


Standards the band plays include "Sunny Side of the Street, "I'm in the Mood for Love" and "Summertime."

"We also do 'In the Summertime,' by the Kinks, as well as 'Streets of Bakersfield,' by Buck Owen," added White, who hooked up with the band through a mutual friend. "We do a few early Elvis songs, too."

"We have people come up to us and say, 'That's the most amazing set list I've ever heard.' Our sound appeals to sophisticated music lovers. ... We have that old-timey feel and can kick into that Elvis Presley stuff and some of those country artists we do."

White calls The Swells a fun band.

"It's both a good dance band and a good listening band."

The Swells are working on a CD, and have several dates coming up in August. From 8-11 p.m. Aug. 6 and 7, The Swells will play at Emmett's Restaurant in Lexington; there is no cover charge. And on Aug. 21, the band will play at the Woodland Arts Fair in the afternoon.

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