Sierra Swan

Spitfire Sierra Swan usually gets written off as just another girly singer-songwriter. That's a mistake. Yes, she's beautiful, and yes, her last CD is called Ladyland, but under no circumstances should Swan's music be dismissed as the mindless pop that impossibly beautiful twentysomethings usually churn out. Drenched in emotion without being angsty, Swan's music isn't pretty, exactly. It isn't dumbed down or sanitized. But knowing what it isn't doesn't really get you closer to what it is, does it? Her sound is rather difficult to describe. Even Swan uses unexpected terms when describing her music: "Dramatic, with cinematic qualities. Not rock, not folky, a little bit dark, and androgynous," she says. "At my show you'll see something new, something different. You'll see a real band, playing real music. A lot of humor and a lot of drama." Swan also mixes in a big dose of commentary. Dixie Chicks kind of comments? "Maybe, maybe not, it depends on what I was watching on TV that day."

As part of her 24-date tour, Swan is making preshow appearances at Borders bookstores in each city, but she says fans should pop for a ticket and see her in concert. "At Borders you won't get the band, and I'll just play two songs. Plus it's in a brightly lit bookstore; that's not very entertaining."

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Olivia Flores Alvarez