Who: Jerry Williams Jr. a.k.a Swamp Dogg has been making music since the 1950s. In the 1960s he also had his hands in some production work. It wasn’t until the 70s when Swamp Dogg was born.
Sound: Swamp Dogg is pure Southern soul. Listening to his sound you might think psychedelic soul superhero. But, in Williams own words, “ I’m country, I sound country.”
I feel that every time I hear a Swamp Dogg album there’s a cause for lament or celebration. A celebration of genres and creativity or a lament of good times long passed or lost loves. Sorry You Couldn’t Make It goes for the latter. Just like his last outing Love, Loss, and Auto-Tune many musicians appear. Williams not only finds himself backed by keyboard virtuoso, Derick Lee. But, Moogstar and special guests Justin Vernon (Bon Iver), John Prine, Jenny Lewis, Channy Leaneagh and Chris Beirden of Poliça.
Swamp pours they grief on thick with Beatle-esque brass and warm, sullen tones in “Sleeping Without You is a Dragg.” Addiction and poverty is tackled in one of the albums best tracks, the funky “Family Pain.” Memories featured the late, great John Prine in what seems to be a simplistic, acoustic “Honky Tonk Woman.” “Billy” is a beautiful piano balled that laments the passing of a wife and mother. Williams plays crooning recounter telling the wife how much he wishes she was her to watch their child grow. “Please Let Me Go Round Again” carries more weight with the sad passing of Prine.
Sorry You Couldn’t Make It has a clear concept in mind. Even thought Swamp Dogg has called himself country. Up to this point, it really hasn’t felt like that album has come. Love, Loss, and Auto-Tune showed Williams pushing himself. Sorry You Couldn’t Make It plays like a album of comfort food. Williams explores his roots and the album is just fine.
– Reviewed by Christopher Tahy