Andy Connell and Corinne Drewery photographed by Walter Briski Jr. 2009UPDATE: Due to the grounding of flights in Europe because of the Iceland volcano, Swing Out Sister has cancelled all its US concerts next week, including the Atlanta show on April 22. Refunds at point of purchase. We’ll let you know if the band reschedules.

By Collin Kelley, Editor

Swing Out Sister had a breakout hit with their 1987 single “Breakout,” but the duo of Andy Connell and Corinne Drewery are far from being an 80s nostalgia act.

SOS’s last album, the sublime “Beautiful Mess,” was Top 5 in the Billboard Jazz Chart last year, and a series of sold out concerts brought rapturous reviews from critics and fans alike.

The UK-based band is back in America for a few more dates, including a stop at Variety Playhouse in Little Five Points on Thursday, April 22 (visit www.varietyplayhouse.com for info and tickets).

Drewery, whose distinctive voice has propelled SOS’s nine albums released over the last 20-plus years, said the new dates will be “semi-acoustic” featuring a double bass and percussion.

“We want to have a more intimate show this time out,” Drewery said in a recent telephone interview, “so we’re stripping the songs down and will interpret them in different ways. We don’t want to repeat ourselves, but I think we’ve got a good mix of songs.”

Fans can still expect to hear favorites – including “Breakout,” “Twilight World” and “Surrender” – as well as a sampling of songs you might have missed as the band’s career flourished in the 90s in Europe and Japan, where they reached superstar status.

SOS’s last stop in Atlanta was in the 90s and Drewery said she has fond memories of the city and is eager to spend a few days re-exploring. “Atlanta has such a different feeling than any other city I’ve visited,” she said. “It’s a big place, but so green and magical.”

Drewery said touring the states always feels like “coming home,” because she and Connell drew so much inspiration from American jazz, hip-hop and R&B, elements of which have found their way onto SOS’s albums.

Drewery scanned through her iPod to give an idea of what she’s currently listening to and it was an eclectic mix: Earth Wind and Fire, Beach Boys, “Madame Butterfly” and Atlanta-based R&B favorite Ciara.

Drewery and Connell have been back in the studio, as evidenced by video on their busy Facebook page, where thousands of fans share their devotion and loyalty. Some fans are even flying in from other states just to catch the Atlanta show.

Drewery, who writes the lyrics while Connell writes the music, said touring helps keep SOS loose and explore new sounds and ideas for future music. Being back in America is sure to give them inspiration as well.

“We appreciate the American fans for sticking with us and showing so much support,” Drewery said. “We are excited to be back.”

To find out more and hear clips, visit www.swingoutsister.com and make sure to follow the band on Twitter at www.twitter.com/swingoutsister. And check out the videos below.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.

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