Swamp Train’s music begins in the workshop. We build our cigar boxes guitars, basses, pickups, bottlenecks as well as use old buckets, bones and other washboards…
A bit of history:
The Train left the station in the spring of 2010 when Blaze teamed up with Nikworks and Rattlebrained to form a cigar box guitar/washboard blues trio. The three of them played a couple of gigs together but it wasn’t long before CutFinger climbed aboard. That fall the band locked themselves in a alpine “Deep Valais” chalet for a week to lay down some demo tracks, launching Swamp Train into the Swiss blues scene.
Swamp Train’s first album “Premium Selection” was recorded during a heat wave in the summer of 2011 and was mixed later that year as Switzerland experienced its coldest winter of the last 25 years. It was well received (check out our press page) and helped move Swamp Train’s name beyond the border; gathering airplay on specialized Blues radios throughout Europe and even a couple in the US.
In September 2013 a change of wagons took place as Jus’Skin replaced Nikworks on bass. Since then, the band has been composing and working on songs for the next CD; planned for 2015.
And BTW, we are based in Switzerland’s Jura Mountains…
Swamp Train is:
Big Blowin’ Blaze on vocals, cigar box guitar and harmonica.
Blaze took a plunge into the blues one wild birthday party night, woke up the next day like a zombie possessed and marched down off his mountain side to raid the corner store of all its harmonicas. Locking himself in the barn for weeks on end, oblivious of the growing concern caused by his peculiar behavior and on the brink of madness, he was save by his dog “Spot” who heroically climbed the hefty steam engine BBQ to jump and torpedo his way through a small and only window… in slow motion.
What happened next remains a mystery but it was reported later that Blaze then proceeded to cut down his forest’s oldest oak tree, planted by an ancestor years forgotten, and made Switzerland’s first cigar box guitar with his trusted swiss army knife; unrelenting in keeping the spirit of the blues alive in his home.
Alain Pache aka Cut Finger: lead cigar box guitars and backing vocals.
Cut Finger was a professional guitarist and stage wizard with hundreds of concerts to boast when he was struck by a falling oak tree, savagely cut by a demented “wild man of the woods” as the understandably shocked guitarist reported to the authorities when he was able to speak again, three weeks later. The alleged “wild man” was never apprehended and some even doubt his existence; Cut Finger is now a professional blues guitarist.
He also teaches guitar at one of Geneva’s best school of music (at least for guitar lessons), is active within the group “Gospel Center” in Lausanne as well as his own “Cut Finger Band”.
Andy Duggan aka Jus’Skin on cigar box bass and background growling.
Jus’Skin was a city boy with little knowledge of forests and big, bad oak trees until one dark and stormy night in the sombre depths of the Fribourg countryside he fell into an almost bottomless pit of swampy blues, fueled by wailing cigar-box guitars and washboard percussion, from which he is still trying to crawl out. Swamp Train might just save this poor boy’s soul …
Steve aka Rattlebrained on washboard, percussion, bones and backing vocals.
…Meanwhile, while hiking through a forest not too far from home, Rattlebrained, spotted the remains of an old fallen oak tree. It reminded him of an old country blues song once heard as a kid back in New England where he grew up. He began to hum it while absentmindedly sticking a few branches from it into his knapsack to carve into a pair of rhythm bones…
Ralph aka Silverfox: cigar box and double bass.
We don’t know if it has something to do with the moon but sometimes we find Silverfox on the bass instead of Jus’Skin… But when those occasions happen it just seems best not to ask.
Gaël aka G-Sono: The sound guy.
Many a evening has been saved by Gaël, but don’t tell him we said so.
And until Fall ’13:
Nikworks on electric & fretless cigar box bass and backing vocals.
Nikworks has played the blues and other styles with Frank Barth & the blue step walkers, Bonny B., Harprise & his Blues Crew, Mark Middler, Eliot Chambers and Andy Egert; to name a few hopefully showing just how much of a professional Blues, Soul and Funk bass player he was. One afternoon while looking for mushrooms he discovered the inanimate body of a man stuck beneath a fallen oak tree, an unfortunate yet fateful encounter that turned out to be determinant to a drastic devolution…