Now, after 40 years, and the recent passing of Gib Guilbeau in 2016 - the surviving members of this pioneering band are reuniting for one last album, along with Gib's multi talented son Ronnie Guilbeau.
The session will take place in Nashville, Tennessee co-produced with the famed producer, Larry Rogers.
The Swampwater Reunion Album will consist of newly written material and classic Swampwater songs selected by the original band members, including special guest artist appearances.
THE STORY BEHIND THE MUSIC
The Story Behind The
In 1969, singer Linda Ronstadt embarked on what would
eventually become a monumental solo career. After leaving her original group,
The Stone Poneys– Ronstadt played with various musicians from all over
Hollywood but wasn’t happy with the results. What she needed was a self
contained band that knew how to merge country and rock with the same ease and
perfection as her new recordings. Linda Ronstadt finally assembled three
country musicians from Palmdale, California and one young guitarist from right
in her backyard of Hollywood.
Floyd “Gib” Guilbeau was known around Los Angeles as a
talented songwriter and fiddle player, having written songs for The Byrds,
Ricky Nelson, Rod Stewart and Ron Wood among others. He had also been in the
band Nashville West, with legendary Byrds’ guitarist Clarence White. The band
included Guilbeau, an accomplished guitarist and singer, along with future Byrds
member, Gene Parsons on drums and Wayne Moore, on bass. Nashville West was very
popular on the southern California country scene of the mid 1960’s, performing
at various honky tonks throughout the Los Angeles area. At the time Ronstadt
called, Gib had changed bands and was now playing honky tonks with Eric White
(Clarence’s brother) on bass and Stan Pratt (Gib’s brother in law) on drums.
In 1970, Ronstadt hired Guilbeau, White and Pratt for her
new band with the addition of 19-year-old Los Angeles guitarist, John Beland.
Beland was already a seasoned veteran of the Los Angeles music scene having
worked with future Eagles; Bernie Leadon, Glenn Frey and JD Souther. He had
also scored pop success as a solo recording artist and, like Guilbeau, was an
accomplished session guitarist and
songwriter, who’s tunes had been covered by various top artists. When
Ronstadt called him, Beland was currently on tour with a spin off group from
the hit pop band Spanky & Our Gang called One Man’s Family, where he shared
band duties with his best friend drummer, Thad Maxwell.
Although the band remained un-named at first, they toured
the country with Ronstadt playing clubs, festivals and television appearances.
Eventually, bassist Eric White would leave the band to be replaced by Beland’s
fellow One Man’s Family band mate, Thad Maxwell, who was also a
multi-instrumentalist and an excellent bass player.
It was after the inclusion of Maxwell, that the band decided
to form a group called Swampwater and built their unique sound around
Guilbeau’s Cajun style, and Beland’s and Maxwell’s Byrds, Everly Brothers and
Beach Boys vocal influence.
The band landed a deal on Starday King Records in 1970 and
scored a country hit with Guilbeau’s song “Take A City Bride”. Wherever
Swampwater appeared with Ronstadt they received rave reviews for their exciting
stage show and unique sound.
In 1971, Swampwater was signed to RCA and recorded a second
ground breaking album, recording in studios in both Hollywood and Nashville.
Thus becoming only the second band from the West Coast to record in Nashville –
the first being the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.
After their run with Ronstadt, Swampwater became the backing
band for singer / songwriter Arlo Guthrie, working with him on the classic
song, “City Of New Orleans” and appearing with Guthrie at Carnegie Hall and the
In 1973, the band called it quits. Guilbeau left to join the
legendary Flying Burrito Brothers, Maxwell left to play with hit songwriter Mac
Davis and Beland to Apple Records where he was signed as a solo artist by the
Beatles. The various members went on to astounding careers individually,
playing for a virtual Who’s Who of country rock pioneers.
Swampwater’s influence as one of the architects of the West
Coast Country Rock Movement has recently come to be appreciated with the advent
of Americana Music genre.
The projected release date of the Swampwater Reunion Album
is in Autumn 2017.
Supporting Live Tour Dates to follow in 2017– 2018.