Smokin Ember

By Ashley Martin

The crowd was brought to theirknees by a show that had all the energy of a runaway freight train. Ember Swift took the stage at the Village Cantina on the evening of July 17 and the intensity of her performance was incredible. Song after song the audience witnessed Ember and her guitar become a single, harmonious entity that captivated and enthralled all who listened.

Although her name is Ember, smoldering is not a characteristic one would use to describe her music. It is so wild and eclectic, and takes inspiration from every genre from punk rock to country western and flamenco guitar. The only reason Ember’s music is even places into the folk genre may be because it doesn’t fit in any other specific category.

"I don’t follow the rules of song writing so it regulates itself by being non-regulated, kind of like a non-conformists’ uniform," says Ember. "What ties it together is the real directness to the music, it’s very honest. It’s all about experimentation."

A major reason why Ember has the opportunity to be so experimental with her music, is that she operates her own independent record label, Few’ll Ignite Sound.

"Everything that I write, everything that I say lyrically and on the stage, the way that I dress and places I play in are all because I’ve chosen to do that; not because of anyexecutive that’s chosen to do that for me. That’s a huge advantage,being able to have that kind of creative control. I really believe that people should own their ownart."

As well, Ember enjoys complete artistic freedom and uses her music as an outlet to express her political views. Her lyrics deal with issues such as animal rights in "Include My Food" and the democratic right to peaceful protest in "Rubber Bullets;" both tracks appearing on her latest release StiltWalking.

"I really think that music is a great vehicle to inspire change and more and more people are combining politics in their music. Especially in the independent music scene," says Ember. "I think that is something to celebrate for sure.

To be in the audience at an Ember Swift show is to be inspired. Of all the hats that Ember wears–artist, businesswoman, political activist–none is as prominent as the one she wears as a performer. She has the power to make each person in the crowd become part of her music, hypnotizing them with her haunting voice and the pounding rhythm of her guitar. The experience is mystifying.

"Sometimes there’s this perfect flow of energy from the audience and from the stage. It just feels like the music is happening on its own, that I’m not doing anything, just watching it happen. There’s a kind of feeling where there’s some other force that’s pushing the magic out there."

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