There is a section on the United States map that is rumored not to exist, a scrunched up space between the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers where giants were said to have carved the rolling hills out of limestone and Caleb Sweazy spent a childhood exploring the endless acres of a National Forest. Considered a hick to those in the North and a Yankee by anyone south of this river confluence, Caleb found comfort in being an outsider.
As a boy he dreamed of being an artist. As a young man he moved to California to become an actor. Somewhere in the years that followed he realized that music was his tool for self-expression and the songs emerged, his voice heavily informed by the everywhere-and-nowhere sensibility that had defined his childhood.
After a stint as the bass player for psychedelic rock outfit The Warlocks, Caleb created his own band with a decidedly stripped down sound. "Fool," a song from his debut EP, was selected for volume two of This is Americana, long before it was cool to be folk. Now living in spitting distance from those hills of his own childhood, Caleb calls Memphis, Tennessee home.
In some ways that’s where the story of his newest album begins: in Memphis as a husband and father, endlessly inspired by his children yet unsure how his identity as an artist could survive under the daily grind of running a business and supporting a family. In fact, he confesses, he didn’t see how that identity could fit in at all.
But then, last fall, in a rare live performance, Caleb debuted several new songs, winning over his audience and, unknowingly, Blue Barrel Records. Caleb was signed to the nascent label and given the green light to record an album.
Lucky or Strong is Caleb Sweazy’s fourth album, and he will continue writing and singing about the fringes long after it’s cool to do so.