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Band Americana Folk


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"Sharing Personal Stories Through Music"

By Erin Thompson
The Daily Item The Daily Item Thu Jan 20, 2011, 09:08 AM EST

LEWISBURG — Two-year-old Delaney McSween and her 5-month-old sister Audrey giggle and dance to the sound of their parents, David and Carolyn, singing and practicing songs on the guitar.

Carolyn has been told her voice resembles soft-singing Natalie Merchant or Norah Jones and that David’s reminds them of Bruce Springsteen, but when their voices meld, they create a dynamic that is difficult to compare.

“People tell us it works,” said Carolyn, as she rubbed baby Audrey’s back in their Lewisburg home.

At such a young age, their children probably don’t realize how special these private concerts are to them, but their parents do.

This is the intimate type of environment they try to create for their fans when they do what they call house concerts that are typically hosted at the fan’s home.

The singing couple, known as McSween, has found house concerts help them connect with their fans in a way that can be difficult at some venues.

“We’re trying to deliver a grassroots performance to connect and engage them in a way that’s different from a Billboard artist,” said David.

This way “we get to share our music and the stories behind the music.”

When it comes to performing in a home, there are often a number of natural limitations, such as neighbors, which could make shows difficult. McSween has been fortunate enough to have all their home concerts performed indoors.

“We have been lucky because our neighbors are great,” said Carolyn.

She said they’ve made fans while they were practicing, simply by opening the windows in the summertime.

For the house concert, fans go on to their website,, and volunteer to host a show at their home. Hosting a concert doesn’t cost anything.

Tickets are sold through their website and a certain number are held back for family and friends of the host. Once a minimum number of tickets are sold, McSween can perform anywhere nationwide.

For one show they plan to do in California, they will book concerts at other nearby venues to offset the cost of travel.

“We want to be proactive about engaging our fans,” said David, who explained this has been a good way for them to judge their own songs.

“You don’t really know if you’ve written a good song unless you’ve performed it in front of a live audience.”

“One that’s not just your 2-year-old,” Carolyn laughed.

David and Carolyn both performed independently before they met, eight years ago.

It wasn’t until 2007 when they began to perform together.

The couple met during one of Carolyn’s performances, in Baltimore, where David was living. At the time, Carolyn was attending Susquehanna University.

“I would borrow my friend’s Volvo in exchange for repairs to drive up to see her,” said David.

McSween began performing house concerts under a different name in their own home when they lived in Charlotte, N.C.

“We liked the idea of performing in front of our friends,” said David.

Then in 2007, after they moved to Lewisburg, the band began preparing for a performance in Beijing, China (they headlined the 7th Annual Chaoyang International Pop Music Festival in Beijing with The Cash Crew) and were looking for a way to practice when “we remembered how much fun we had in Charlotte and wanted to create that for our fans,” said Carolyn.

At house shows, McSween hands out feedback cards where fans can go online and comment on the music and their favorite songs.

In return, they will receive a free download of their favorite song.

“A lot of people comment on Carolyn’s voice,” said David.

Home concerts are by invitation only.

To be invited, you must become a fan on their Facebook page, by typing keyword “McSween.”

“Security is certainly one of our concerns,” when it comes to shows, said David as he patted Audrey’s head.

But the McSweens consider themselves fortunate because not every band lends itself to concerts in such an intimate setting.

“We’re excited to see what songs are resonating with the audience,” David said.

Whether it’s their folk rock music style, or the intimate shows, the band seems to be getting their message across, Carolyn added.

The band is currently gearing up for a national tour that will begin in February to promote their debut album “All Out,” which will be released on Feb. 1.

“It really showcases Carolyn’s songwriting ability and her unique perspective on the world,” David said.

One of his favorite songs on the album, “Ocean City,” is about their honeymoon.

“We just drove around laughing barefoot with our feet hanging out the window,” he said.

In “All Out,” Carolyn said she tried to steer away from the traditional love song/breakup song. “I’d like to think there’s more dynamic questions than boy meets girl that are being asked.”

For the couple, song writing has been a way to express their experiences and answer difficult questions.

“I still have a lot of questions about the hard things I’ve seen in life,” said Carolyn.

But she feels a lot of that comes out in the album. “It’s hard to talk about yourself because you’re so engaged in other people,” David added about his wife’s music.

“I think a lot of questions come up that relate to when things go bad, or even when things go good. You ask yourself why these things happen?”

“The songs are written because that’s the way to say the unsayable,” Carolyn said.

“And it brings people together. It’s magical.”

Their music, like their children, is an expression of their dynamic.

“The times I’ve played solo since we started performing together, it’s different,” said Carolyn.

As for the house concerts, she said “we’re still trying to make them our own.

Artists do seek out more intimate shows and are looking for those connections. We want to innovate our own way of connecting with fans.”

“Music is a great way to connect, I hope other artists feel encouraged by what we’re doing,” said David.

“Anytime an artist can connect with fans, it’s a win-win.”

McSween, who is the creative director for USAgency, America’s Advertising Agency Network in Lewisburg, and Carolyn, who is a freelance writer, are currently working on another studio album, “Watertown,” which will include more original works written by the duo.

“We’re always writing new stuff — trying to find new ways to have fun,” David said.
- The Daily Item

"Lewisburg Duo Releases Debut CD"

BY jessica owens
Staff writer
Saturday, February 12, 2011 3:09 AM CST
LEWISBURG — Husband and wife duo, David and Carolyn McSween, who reside in Lewisburg, released their long-awaited debut album titled “All Out” on Feb. 1, featuring the original songs and vocals of Carolyn.

Performing collectively as “McSween,” both David and Carolyn are singer/songwriters, known for their accoustic Americana and folk sound.

“We call ourselves Americana. We like to have fun by crossing Americana and folk. The uniqueness in us is that we surprise people with sounds other than folk,” David said of the duo’s unique sound.

For full story see print edition. - The Standard Journal


All Out - Worldwide Release - Feb. 1 2011



McSween – Two For The Journey.

Carolyn Gathman found herself recording at an early age releasing a debut album in 2000 entitled Another Hour. Little did she know that hundreds of miles away David McSween was simultaneous traveling the country playing in coffee shops and bars earning just enough to make it to his next gig. In 2002 they met for the first time on a roof top in Baltimore, MD where David was performing for a small group of friends. Brought together by the music they both love David and Carolyn exchanged wedding vows in July of 2003. Since then they have developed on the world’s stage as performers known simply as McSween.

Two Voices – One Spirit Their shared experience as song-crafters and performing artists has given birth to an imaginative, captivating, and insightful musical experience. Their energy on stage and in the studio is contagious and their chemistry is unmistakable. “We have a lot of fun out there, Carolyn says, we’ve found that unlocking the real potential of our songs has everything to do with the fact that we’re kindred hearts.”

The Dynamic Acoustic Duo McSween Both David and Carolyn are accomplished guitarists who generate a dynamic instrumental energy that backs their vocal performance – the two blend and perform perfectly together as a tight creative team.