Jon Swift
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Jon Swift

Ojai, California, United States | SELF

Ojai, California, United States | SELF
Band Folk Singer/Songwriter


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"CD reviews: Jon Swift, "Pathway""

Recently in town to promote new surfer doc The Drifter, Jon Swift took a circuitous route into the surf-rock community. After first earning a PhD in astrophysics, he then moved to Hawaii and began to focus on music, which on Pathway shows a penchant for austere, early-era Bob Dylan instrumentation and symbolic storytelling. A strong note of environmentalism permeates Swift’s lyrics, whether it’s the refrain “Everything is green and the boats are coming in” (from “Ode to O’Rourke”) or the warning “I need the river to get up and go/Its tributaries no longer flow” (“We Are The Ones To Blame”). But the grainy-voiced Swift never hits you over the head with his message—ideas are rendered in poetic images that resonate after the music has stopped. - Metropolis

"Jon Swift, astrophysicist, the voice of Corona beer."

Unless the devil has made you deaf, you'll know the song Run River. Maybe not the name, but the refrain played to vision of two real-life lovers Luke Stedman and Malia Jones swallowing a Hawaiian sunset with a bucket of Coronas in repose at their hips. "Run, run river/carry me/to my home in the ocean/carry me away," croons the folkish Tom Jones.

Who is this man, Swift? If you are starting to feel the bite of age, you'll know it from the 2001 movie Shelter. And, you'll know he's got a cv to die for. He studies the cosmos for a living, spits catchy hooks from his acoustic guitar, counts Rob Machado as one of his best friends and, as you can see from this photo he even knows how to throttle a wave (screen grab taken from The Drifter). Stab enjoys Swift's precise mind. - STAB Magazine


15 Songs by Jon Swift: 2001,
Fifteen songs written and performed by Jon Swift with an added cover of an obscure Beck tune as a bonus track.

Coming & Going: 2003,
Eleven songs written, produced and engineered by Jon Swift.

Pathway: 2008,
Third full length album released 20 December 2008.

The Drifter Sessions: 2009, & Muscha Do Music
A 5 song EP recorded in conjunction with The Drifter. Four songs appear in the movie.

Melali Soundtrack: 2010, & Muscha Do Music
Full score provided by Melali Sessions Band, directed by Jon Swift.



Born in New York, Jon matured in cities along coastal California from San Diego to Berkeley.

Self-taught on all instruments, Jon uses anything from guitar, banjo, and piano, to mandolin, jaw harp and harmonica to realize his carefully crafted songs. He is primarily a lyricist who uses the natural world as a foundation for introspection. Most interesting, however, is his ability to tie these themes to an intelligent social and interpersonal commentary. No small feat, but a task perfectly suited to someone who has been writing songs for nearly 20 years while also holding a PhD in astrophysics.

Jon's songs are unique and have a depth that warrant close and multiple listenings, but they also delight upon first hearing. Comfortable and expressive on stage, Jon can forge through the depths of despair and vulnerability to rejoice in triumph and redemption over the course of a set, or even a song.

The value of his music was apparent even on his early homemade four-track recordings that date back to as early as 1992. Selections from his stockpile of over 70 tunes at the time were organized into his first release "15 Songs by Jon Swift" (2001), a lo-fi, DIY success story. His three subsequent albums have all been self-written and produced.

Jon's music has been used widely in the past ten years. His song "Run River" has fueled Corona Australia's highly successful television ad campaign, "From Where You'd Rather Be." His songs have also been featured in snowboard videos, fly-fishing films, yoga DVDs, and several surf movies, most notably "Shelter (2001)" and "The Drifter (2009)."

Jon's latest release is an original score for a surf movie called Melali (released August 2010) written while living in a barn over the winter of 2010. Jon spent the spring of 2011 touring both the west and east coast with his six piece band performing the score live to the projected movie footage.

Jon is now based in Ojai, California and has been touring as a solo act throughout the summer of 2011. He just recently completed a tour of the northwest where he played shows throughout Wyoming, Idaho, Washington and northern California.