Jake Doty and the Swensongs played a rousing pair of sets Sunday afternoon in the Perry Performing Arts Center for a lucky group of about 50 listeners.
The band was introduced by Perry Fine Arts concert series supporter Dr. Randy McCaulley, and from the Johnny Cash anthem “Folsom Prison Blues” that opened the show to the closing bars of ZZ Top’s “Sharp-Dressed Man,” the foursome kept the PAC crowd cheering and clapping.
They deviated slightly from the program’s 17-song set list, performing 19 tunes over about two hours. Among the highlights was an Elvis medley, featuring the Carl Perkins’ rocker “Blue Suede Shoes” and the Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller blues classic “Hound Dog.”
Also notable were the band’s version of Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” and a request from an audience member played spontaneously by the band, Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline (Good Times Never Seemed So Good).”
According to the program notes:
Jake Doty and the Swensongs are a dynamic group of experienced musicians playing a wide variety your favorite from classic rock, pop and country artists. The group features Jake Doty on acoustic guitar and vocals, guitar, Dave Swenson on electric guitar, fiddle and vocals; Austin Lutes-Swenson on bass and vocals, and Paul Navara on drums.
The members of the band are all connected through Luther College in Decorah, lowa. Paul and Dave played together in the jazz band at Luther back in the late 1970s. Paul went on to be band educator in lowa, along with playing with municipal bands jazz bands and over 35 rock and pop groups. Dave became a string teacher in Boone, teaching orchestra and music theory for 35 years, along with playing in community symphony, musical shows jazz bands and rock bands, as well as doing solo violin work at weddings and other events. Paul and Dave played together for 20 years with the Bill Martin Group.
Thirty years after Paul and Dave, Jake and Austin were classmates at Luther College. Jake was very active in the choral groups, along with playing guitar and singing for many events in the Decorah area. Austin played bass in the symphony and electric bass in the jazz band at Luther. Jake continues to do solo and duo work at wineries, breweries and for weddings, and Austin has played bass and cello for weddings and many other events All four band members continue to enjoy playing music in the central lowa area.