Sweetwater and the Satisfaction - Love More Than Anything

A few years back, I met Alana Sweetwater through a mutual friend, because she had family near where I lived in Chicago. When I went to pick her up to discuss our life stories, she had a guitar in hand with her. She told me she was going to sing for me. I should probably point out that it was the first week of January, often the coldest and chilliest week in Chicago for the calendar year. After a drink and discussion, she told me to take her to a park near her house where she proceeded to sit down, take out her guitar and belted her essence out to everything within an earshot including the dead leaves on the snow filled ground. It was startling. It is one thing to perform and another to exude another piece of your soul every time you utilize your instrument. She revealed love, sensuality and above all else, a bonafide sense of sincerity. She writes and performs because it is a necessity on par with breathing. Flabbergasted at the vision she provided, I told her that when the right project for her came along to contact me because I would write about it.

That project has finally come to fruition in the form of a group, Sweetwater and the Satisfaction. The group plans to release their self-titled debut record later this summer, but in advance of that, I was provided a sneak peak at three songs, one of them, "Love More Than Anything" I wanted to write about. Alana Sweetwater was sought after by major labels in the past, but due to family circumstances, she passed deciding to put her family first. Since then she's been a staple of the Los Angeles bar and club scene often as a solo act swinging and swaying her acoustic guitar around her salaciously sweet vocals. However, a little over a year ago, Sweetwater was paired with writer and producer Scott Feldman to write commercial-ready songs but their chemistry offered a unique glimpse into their influences rather than something manufactured for mass consumption. The songs I heard are wholly evocative and organic distilled from dozens of timeless influences. To compare Sweetwater and the Satisfaction to the enduring aural pleasures of Amy Winehouse, Adele and Fitz and the Tantrums would be unfair. What they have in common with the aforementioned acts is a desire and drive to create blue-eyed soul-styled wistfulness through the instruments in their hands. Taking a cue from the elevating heart-thumping musical innovators of the 1960's, their sound is culled from soul-invigorating pop rock records that defined not just a decade, but every musical genre that has come to light since then. Sweetwater and the Satisfaction perform each song with a zealous enthusiasm pulling you inward. Anyone can mimic their idols but it's rare for a group of musicians to have their DNA infected with the music to the point where they're a contributor to the genre and not a mere imitator. "Love More Than Anything", "Since You Went Away" and "You Do You" wouldn't be out of place in an episode of Mad Men and on the flipside- you could hear these songs on the radio without thinking twice as to when they were recorded.

On "Love More Than Anything", Sweetwater's vocals emanate a sultry demeanor that triggers both existent and non-existent memories. Part soul-styled testimonial, sensual rhythm and blues, she helps the song take flight with her towering torch-filled voice. Her vocals cue the nostalgic feeling of the late 1960's where she pledges allegiance to the sounds of Spector, Stax and Motown. She doesn't mimic them as much as embody their spirit. Drummer Caleb Hill and bassist Brett Peloquin serve the music dutifully as they dress up Sweetwater's vocals with understated perfection along with shimmering guitars and melancholy horns which embroider the sensual tension of the song. The band's arrangements are an honest-to-God combustible combination of sting, sorrow and ultimately sweet sunshine. Sweetwater and the Satisfaction are home-grown provocative pop that would find a home in any decade where the instrumentation bleeds timelessness with an undercurrent of sexual tension. "Love More Than Anything" is a sign that the best is yet to come.

Anthony Kuzminski is a Chicago based writer and Special Features Editor for the antiMusic Network. His daily writings can be read at The Screen Door. He can be contacted at tonyk AT antiMUSIC DOT com and can be followed on Twitter

Sweetwater and the Satisfaction - Love More Than Anything

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