On “The Getting Up,” Joel Schwelling’s second release, the New Hampshire-based singer- songwriter goes deep. Examining things from as minute as going’s on in his neighborhood to larger questions about life’s ebb and flow, Joel’s heartfelt songs are rooted in lyrics and melodies that are new yet feel as familiar as a favorite pair of jeans.
Joel says he “had to up the ante” from his first release, “Ain’t That the Way,” that came out last year. It was well-received for a first-time effort and aired on AAA and Americana stations across the US and Canada as well as the UK, Ireland, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany.
The album opens with “Don’t Wanna,” an alt-country slightly skewed love song. The rocking title track, “The Getting Up,” is based on a real life encounter and examines why some people have, while others don’t and the gulf between the two extremes. It features backup vocals from Becky Warren, the Nashville-based singer/songwriter whose song “We’re All We’ve Got” was one of Rolling Stone Magazine’s top 25 Country songs for 2018.
“Used Cars” revolves around characters drawn from Joel’s past (the family business was selling cars) while “Any Kinda Angel” stems from current observations of life in his hometown area of Manchester, NH.
The swampy “What they Want You to Believe” was written a couple years ago (and unfortunately is as true today as it was then) followed by “Little Baby,” offering optimism in the face of some dark times.
Joel’s entry in NPR’s 2019 Tiny Desk Contest is “I’d Like to Know,” and is a larger look at a minor observation (watch it on YouTube). “Somethin’ in the Air” is the newest song, with some thoughts on a best case scenario of the afterlife. And it all winds down with the introspective instrumental “Muirfield Road #3.”
On “The Getting Up,” Joel wanted to honor his roots-oriented musical influences yet also try and bring something new to the table. It’s been an almost year-long challenge five decades in the making.