Getting Old

A collection of 14 acoustic tunes recorded live at coffeehouses in Madison and Deerfield and released by Uvulittle Records.

Reviews of Getting Old – Jim Schwall Live

There’s one thing Jim Schwall hasn’t done over his 40-year musical career: record a solo acoustic album. Until now. Recording engineer Buzz Kemper has captured the local guitarist in amazing detail. You can hear the richness of every string he strums and plucks. Eleven of the 14 songs are original, and they’re full of charm and humor. The title track bemoans the insults of aging and what it does to a guy’s sexual ego. Then there’s the photo of a young Schwall on the inside of the CD. That’s worth the price alone.

Rich Albertoni, Isthmus

Getting-Old_backMadison luminary Jim Schwall expanded on the ‘Buy Local’ initiative when putting together his new live CD ‘Getting Old‘. It was recorded at the Wild Hog in the Woods Coffee House, Mother Fool’s and Deerfield’s Cuda Café. The mixing and mastering was done in Rosholt, a little northeast of Steven’s Point. It is distributed by Uvulittle Records which was started by Mother Fool’s owners. The title track wisely reminds us that since there isn’t anything we can do about aging, we might as well relax and accept the inevitable. ‘The Friendliest Little Truck Stop In The World’ paints such a vivid picture, you can almost smell the home fries and feel the slightly sticky table top. ‘P.C. Mama’ is a clever, incisive jibe at strident, humorless women and ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Man’ is a (possibly) tongue-in-cheek warning to a potential flame about his wild ways. Although most of the songs are light-hearted and droll, ‘Walking On Air’ is one notable exception. The song is his memorial to a dear friend and the heart-rending lyrics will resonate with anyone who has lost a loved one who was in their prime.

Judy Robinson, MadFolk Newsletter

Jim Schwall adapts a conversational tone on “Manic,” (track 4) a nonchalant country blues number about a female partner who’s unable or unwilling to master her moods. And since this is a live performance, it’s easy to imagine a rapt audience leaning in a little closer at Mother Fool’s Coffeehouse in order to catch the brief hiccup of a laugh in his voice when he relates the amateur diagnosis of a work mate who advises: “Man, that women is manic/And that’s only half of what’s wrong, too.” That rascally moment makes the tune, of course, taken from his new live album Getting Old released on Uvulittle Records. But it’s also an indication of how close Schwall’s come to the acoustic blues masters who influenced his ground-breaking blues-rock act Siegel-Schwall Band back in the Sixties. Like them, he’s figured out exactly how to add a wink and nod to material that, at base, is really about the desperate, low-down side of love. Don’t think that’s one heckuva trick? Well, I urge you to make a close study of the latest flashy young blues players. They couldn’t pull off that brand of quiet irony in a million years.

Tom Laskin, Isthmus

Getting-Old_insideMadison-based blues singer/guitarist Jim Schwall proves that getting old doesn’t mean getting soft around the edges. In fact, one-half of the revered Siegel-Schwall Band – and more recently, a member of Marques Bovre’s latest group, SoDangYang – bursts with cynicism on this collection of 14 acoustic tunes recorded live at coffeehouses in Madison and Deerfield.

In a half-sung, half-spoken voice, the 65-year-old jokes about his wife, who “has to coax me to perform” (“Getting Old”), mocks an imaginary band called Rubber Crutch (“Sometimes You Just Have To Take What You Can Get”) and recounts the cheap thrills of being a working-class musician (“Rock ‘n’ Roll Man”). But the highlight is Schwall’s take on Ed Haynes’ “Rude,” a funny diatribe about one man’s you-better-believe-it experience while dining alone in a family restaurant. A swaggering saunter characterizes many of these songs, carried by Schwall’s witty lyrics and candid delivery.

Michael Popke, Shepherd Express