What is the most obvious cliché about a couple’s romantic chemistry? Sure, you know it. It’s about making beautiful music together. But the thing about Chris Floyd and Melanie Pauley, who collectively make up The Sway, is that such a tired saying is unavoidably true.
Woodford County native Floyd has played guitar for more than 20 years, creating numerous compositions for the instrument along the way. Bath County native Pauley has written music and lyrics for almost as long. When the two began dating after moving to Lexington a few years ago, sparks flew.
“Chris would play a piece for me, and it would just click,” Pauley said. “I’d say, ‘Well, I have these words to go along with that.’ I remember sitting in the car listening to a recording of one of his pieces as I was getting ready to go into the grocery store. All of a sudden I was singing this song that I had written years ago along with what Chris had written. So it just kind of snuck up on us, really. We began having more and more experiences like that. It was a kismet kind of thing.”
“That’s when it hit us,” Floyd said. “We thought, ‘Maybe we should see what we could come up with,’ as my pieces matched exactly with the words she had.”
The initial music that was mashed up on the way to the produce section became “Crave,” a tune that falls somewhere between the folk detail of Bruce Cockburn and the broader pop-rock of Stevie Nicks. It was released last year with four other original tunes and what Floyd calls a “depressingly slow” cover of the Elvis Presley hit “Suspicious Minds,” on the EP “Life and Other Fleeting Things.” The Sway was a hot-off-the-press newbie act at the time. But in short order, the now-engaged couple reconvened in Duane Lundy’s Shangri-La studio with local guitarist and multi-band mainstay J. Tom Hnatow (who also co-produced the EP) to record the more band-oriented full-length album “Everything That Happens Here.”
For the new record, the joy came in writing songs together in the same room.
Chris Floyd, The Sway
“The EP consisted of music I had and words Melanie had,” Floyd said. “Together, they worked out great. For the new record, the joy came in writing songs together in the same room. Some of them took three or four hours. Some of them took a day or two. Some we might have worked on for a month and then came back to so we could change a part here or there.”
“It was a process that came about without any real thought put into it,” Pauley said. “It just happened by itself without us really pushing anything. Once we met Tom and Duane, that really fueled it. That was such an inspiration. It was such a great experience doing the EP with them that we wanted more of that work on something that involved more musicians.”
Hnatow, with local favorites Robby Cosenza on drums and Blake Cox on bass, will be on hand when The Sway plays its second record-release show for “Everything That Happens Here” on Friday night at Willie’s Locally Known. The band played the first one in May at The Burl.
“With the musicians we’ve worked with in town, we feel like we’ve made some great friends and relationships,” Lloyd said. “To be playing with people that have been hanging out here for years has been wonderful. We’re just so grateful that we’re able to find our own little place in the music scene in Lexington.”