Tom Mank & Sera Smolen | Swimming in the Dark

Go To Artist Page

Recommended if You Like
Chris Eckmann Leonard Cohen Nick Drake

More Artists From
United States - New York

Other Genres You Will Love
Folk: Modern Folk Blues: Acoustic Blues Moods: Type: Improvisational
Sell your music everywhere
There are no items in your wishlist.

Swimming in the Dark

by Tom Mank & Sera Smolen

Modern Folk, Blues, and Improvisation - guitar, vocal and cello - with all-star international guests on violin, viola, manodlin, piano, harmonica, accordian, and vocals. Produced by Julie Last!
Genre: Folk: Modern Folk
Release Date: 

We'll ship when it's back in stock

Order now and we'll ship when it's back in stock, or enter your email below to be notified when it's back in stock.
Sign up for the CD Baby Newsletter
Your email address will not be sold for any reason.
Continue Shopping
just a few left.
order now!
Buy 2 or more of this title's physical copies and get 20% off
Share to Google +1

To listen to tracks you will need to update your browser to a recent version.

  Song Share Time Download
1. Quiet of the Night
Tom Mank & Sera Smolen
4:27 $0.75
2. Rest of My Life
Tom Mank & Sera Smolen
4:47 $0.75
3. Green Apple
Tom Mank & Sera Smolen
5:07 $0.75
4. Sergeant Oliver
Tom Mank & Sera Smolen
4:48 $0.75
5. Sophie's Blues
Tom Mank & Sera Smolen
6:01 $0.75
6. Long Long Life
Tom Mank & Sera Smolen
5:01 $0.75
7. Liberate the Sun
Tom Mank & Sera Smolen
5:30 $0.75
8. Watercolors
Tom Mank & Sera Smolen
4:23 $0.75
9. Tear Down These Walls
Tom Mank & Sera Smolen
4:02 $0.75
10. Running Like the Wind
Tom Mank & Sera Smolen
3:32 $0.75
11. Bethlehem Steel Night 1959
Tom Mank & Sera Smolen
3:31 $0.75
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Artists: Jeannie Burns (vocal), Kyle Carey (vocal), Anna Coogan (vocal), Tim DesRosiers (accordian), Kirsti Gholson (vocal), Andrew Hardin (guitar), Gait Klein Kromhof (harmonica), Julie Last (vocal, keyboard), Amy Merrill (violin, viola), Bruce Milner (vocal), Manuel Quintana (percussion), Loretta Simonet (vocal), Curtis Teague (vocal), Marijn Wijnands (vocal), and Kathy Ziegler (piano, vocal)

Recorded August 2011 - August 2013 by Julie Last @ Cold Brook Productions, Bearsville, NY - additional recording by Will Russell at Electric Wilburland, Greg McGrath at Monk Sound, Don Sellers at Skylight Studios, and Ward Van Iseghem in Sint Gillis Maas, Belgium. Mastered by Dan Coutant at Sun Room Mastering. Graphic Design by Patti Witten


"This 'Swimming in the Dark' record has the same “bluesy” pastel tints to which other instrumentalists add their touch like in an impressionistic painting. In this way, with his harmonica, Gait Klein Kromhof adds even more desolate wisdom to the landscape and the underlying tragedy in “Sergeant Oliver”, at the same time a painkiller for the soul. Also Tim DesRosiers’ accordion beautifully colors the melancholy in the father figure. Percussionist Manuel Quintana attaches a light Jazzy groove to “Long Long Life” and accompanies the mid-tempo in Green Apple with a light touch. The female voices alternate and vary in tonality from loving, compassion or solace.

But especially the cello and the viola and violins are what cause the chills every time. The Beautiful ”Liberate The Sun” is more or less a hymn, one of the most beautiful songs I have heard this year, accompanied by Kathy Ziegler on piano. Amy Merrill joins in with viola and violin and strokes what’s unspeakable. Tom Mank is a master in laying out a bed of sentiment both with his singing as his imagery, which stays inornate even when touching complex emotions. Sometimes he sings almost whispering as in the sad “Sophie’s Blues”, where Marijn Wijnands seems to offer him a consolatory shoulder. No matter what song, every time the voice and cello find each other intuitively in the ever present current of longing, cherishing or resistance, like in the pearl “Tear Down The Walls”, again with viola and violin. Tom Mank is one of those who like to get lost in the landscape or who reach for the mystery of the moon. It makes you want to keep this album close by so you can reach for it every time the “bareable” lightness of being pulls you down."

Marcie - RootsTime, Oct 2013


"Tom Mank peppers this new album, Swimming In the Dark, with many stories. Some are heartrending duets of love and the search for Truth. Some are groove-laden retrospectives of emotion. Some are deeply personal, such as "Running Like the Wind", written for and about his father. All are what I have learned to expect from him.

Mank goes out of his way on this album to include dear friends who just happen to be excellent musicians on the recordings... Anna Coogan ..."Rest of My Life"... Jeannie Burns ... "Green Apple"... Marijn Wijnands ... "Sophie's Blues"...

The rest of the songs are all Mank and they are the best he has ever written. Soft, at times silky, always lyric-heavy. If nothing else, Tom Mank is a songwriter of depth. On some songs, incredible depth.... Julie Last and Kirsti Gholson ... play a prominent role in this new album.

You can add a number of musicians to those mentioned above on Swimming In the Dark, some brought in for one song, some added on a few. If nothing else, Mank has the ear of many exceptional musicians who were evidently not at all shy about playing on the album. Who would be? Tom Mank is one of the best there is and his place beside Sera Smolen is a given after hearing only one song--- take your pick.

Swimming In the Dark... catches Tom Mank at his songwriting and singing best and Sera Smolen at her peak in interpreting Mank's songs... They have earned the right to be heard. Over and over again."

Frank Gutch Jr - No Depression (Oct 2013)


"Tom Mank is a monster songwriter in the vein of the old folk/blues artists like Dave Van Ronk, but with a sense of the present. His music portraits range from romantic to political and when they don't reach for the heart, they embed themselves in the head. He is intelligence in music. Sera Jane Smolen, on the other hand, is music personified. Her cello supplements Mank's guitar with bass riffs and jazz phrasing as well as support from the masters." - Frank Gutch Jr.,



to write a review