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Domenick Swentosky at the American Ale House 6/18/2010

Posted by Ryan Chase on 06/29 at 10:23 AM

Domenick Swentosky started off slow with songs that were long, meandering, and—if only for the moment—uninspired. Audience members stretched their necks straining for a closer look, as if they expected the problem to be readily visible—perhaps a broken string or malfunctioning amp.

Everything was fine, seemingly. His fingers swam up and down the neck of his guitar, puncturing each chord with a swift and precise touch. Similarly, his voice, which flirts with the zest and playfulness of Jason Mraz, was in working order. He was the perfect fit for the location: the American Ale House, a packed bar/restaurant overflowing with life and windows.

He stomped his feet and howled, cycling through a score of instruments like a performer who should infect an audience with a serious case of clapping and bopping. But the once quiet, discrete conversations traded from one person to another slowly grew louder and louder, eventually wrestling with the singer. I moved from a bar stool to a standing position near the stage for closer inspection.

He was not bad. He is a formidable musician. Over the course of the evening, he played a guitar, a saxophone, and a harmonica—often during the same song. By looping, which he did live (not pre-recorded before the show), he could switch between a number of instruments quickly. It was a fresh step off the beaten path of traditional singer-songwriter protocol that, for the most part, involves said singer-songwriter and a guitar and sometimes—especially if said singer-songwriter is a women—a piano. If nothing else, you have to appreciate the technical skill one must possess to pull that off.

Domenick Swentosky is a seasoned professional who regularly performs at bars and entertainment venues throughout central Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, he, like so many others, fell victim to the “off-night.” It’s a phenomenon that haunts every performer, from musicians to athletes to sandaks. There was too much there (there as in him) in his performance to pass him off as anything other than a solid acoustic-based pop-rock outfit who was experiencing an off-night.

If you would like to hear Domenick Swentosky for yourself, check out his Web site www.greytime.com for upcoming shows and free MP3 downloads. He plays mostly original songs in addition to some covers, such as James Taylor’s “You’ve Got A Friend” and Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold.” “Walking With Bob Dylan” is worth a listen.

{name} Author: Ryan Chase
Bio: Ryan Chase is a senior at Pennsylvania State University, majoring in English and Sociology. In his free time, he enjoys writing, reading, woodcarving, and playing the guitar. Outside of most rap and opera, he listens to every type of music, but he prefers classic rock and jazz. His favorite artists are Robert Johnson, Heatmiser, and Minor Davis & the Fuzzy Slippers.

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