Swing Out Sister are Andy Connell and Corinne Drewery. (Photo by Jody Linscott)
Swing Out Sister are Andy Connell and Corinne Drewery. (Photo by Jody Linscott)

By Collin Kelley
INtown Editor

In 2010, pop/jazz band Swing Out Sister was planning a big American tour, including its first Atlanta stop in a couple of decades. The band – best known for ‘80s-‘90s hits “Breakout,” “Twilight World” and “Am I the Same Girl” – was riding high after its last album, Beautiful Mess, made Top 5 on the Billboard jazz chart.

Then the Icelandic volcano erupted. It shut down air travel over large parts of the UK and Europe and Swing Out Sister wound up cancelling its entire North American tour. On July 16, the band will finally make up that missed show with a concert at Little Five Point’s Variety Playhouse.

Swing Out Sister vocalist Corinne Drewery, who still sports her trademark bob haircut, said cancelling Atlanta and the 2010 tour was “heartbreaking.”

“We had fans flying in from all over the country for the show in Atlanta,” Drewery said in a phone interview from London. “We were very pleased that Beautiful Mess had done so well in the states and we had this great set planned. We hadn’t played in Atlanta in many, many years then the volcano caused chaos and havoc.”

One good thing that came out of the volcano: a new album and DVD of live, re-worked Swing Out Sister hits called Private View released last year. “We had rehearsed the show and loved the new arrangements, so we decided to record it,” Drewery said.

Longtime fans can expect a set of hits and covers on July 16 that Drewery and musical partner Andy Connell have re-worked once again. “We never stay the same,” Drewery laughed. “We evolve to keep the tunes fresh, so you never hear the same thing twice. We throw in some new sound or flourish at each concert. It keeps us on our toes.”

For this tour, SOS is bringing along a band that includes electric bass, flugelhorn and drums to complement Drewery’s vocals and Connell’s keyboards and piano.

“We love to coming to the states,” Drewery said. “We’re fascinated with American music, and I think American audiences get where we’re coming from. Swing Out Sister has woven a patchwork from all sorts of American sources, so we’re always interested to hear what’s going on in the American music scene.”

Since SOS has been making music for 28 years, staying connected with fans has been a big factor in the band’s longevity. Facebook has become the main hub, with more than 24,000 fans around the world regularly commenting and checking in. Connell and Drewery often post themselves, including rehearsal clips and other links. “Facebook and social media makes everything so global and instant,” Drewery commented. “Andy is the tech person of the band, but I’ve come to like Facebook because it lets you interact so easily with people.”

As for a new album, Drewery reveals that SOS has “made a start” on new music, but it’s on hold until the tour is complete. “We did a few concerts with a big band last year and had all these cinematic arrangements,” she said. “We might just take that idea further.”

Tickets for Swing Out Sister at Variety Playhouse on July 16 are available at variety-playhouse.com. For more about the band, visit swingoutsister.com.

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.