Youell Swinney

Behind the Scenes – Production Day 0

On September 27th, 2011, cast & crew had started to arrive in Paragould, Arkansas for the start of 45 RPM’s principle photography. We took the opportunity to get some great aerial footage with local pilots who donated their services.

Big thanks to Joey Massey and Harvey Songer for taking an interest in our production!

Music by Youell Swinney
From the upcoming album, Poor Man’s Lament
Listen to it here!

Behind the scenes footage captured by Lee Lyons and Juli Jackson

Youell Swinney

David Whitehead aka Youell Swinney

Singer-songwriter David Whitehead, who performs under the name Youell Swinney. Photo by Brandi Rinks

Singer-songwriter David Whitehead of Asheville, North Carolina, has been performing his old-time country influenced music since 2005 under the moniker Youell Swinney.  The name refers to a dark corner of Arkansas history, the unsolved Texarkana Moonlight Murders of 1946, and is a fitting match for the pensive, somber topics his songs tend to deal with.

Arkansas born and raised, Whitehead’s songs are partially inspired by his experiences growing up in the tiny town of Mangrum Landing.  “It’s just like three houses,” Whitehead said.  “And some of them are empty.”  Also influenced by the country music his father listened to when Whitehead was a child, he eschews the sound that modern country artists strive for, instead embracing the style of legends such as Hank Williams and Townes Van Zandt while performing songs about death, loneliness, and the nearly impossible feat of escaping from small hometowns.

“A lot of the country that plays on the radio these days doesn’t sound like country to me,” Whitehead said.  “It just sounds like pop music being sung by someone with a drawl.”

David Whitehead aka Youell Swinney

David Whitehead takes a break between recording sessions while working on a friend's album. Photo by Brandi Rinks

After a friend gave him a broken guitar in the ninth grade, Whitehead soon taught himself to play and began recording tapes in his bedroom.  “I didn’t have instruments so I had to use a little metal trashcan as a drum,” he said.  As Whitehead got older, he started becoming interested in punk music, and with his band Candy Coated Warheads recorded an album and played shows in the Jonesboro, Arkansas, area on a regular basis.  Eventually, though, Whitehead returned to the country music he had grown up with.

“I quit playing punk music because really I think it’s music for younger people,” Whitehead said.  “It doesn’t seem honest when I see a 40 year old man up there barely standing up and trying to play the music he played when he was 19.”

Honesty is a virtue that Whitehead appreciates in music, and that’s part of the reason why he writes the way he does.  “I try to make my songs as honest as possible,” he said.  “That’s why I write sad songs. They’re more honest to me than the rest of them.”

Whitehead is nearing completion on an album entitled “Poor Man’s Lament” to be released in the coming months.  You can preview the album at youellswinney.bandcamp.com.

 

 

Mandy Maxwell – Featured Artist

Mandy Maxwell working on various paintings for the upcoming feature film 45 RPM.

Mandy is a visual artist located in Paragould, Arkansas. You can see more of her work at mandyatlarge.com

The song “Man With The Old Brown Sack” is from the upcoming album Poor Man’s Lament by Arkansas native Youell Swinney
youellswinney.bandcamp.com