time to change the way we view music and the arts

Don’t Play with Guns: Unless Amy Lynn Invites You to Jam

Happy August readers!

To kick off this month, I’m doing something new. Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to be able to attend Ariel Publicity’s Digital Press Conference and many a new band performed. The whole idea of the DPC is that bloggers, podcasters and media makers get together and talk face-to-face with these fresh and incredibly talented artists, as a way for both parties to get some fun, productive and mutual exposure.

Well, not only did I have a chance to chat with some of the bands but I would like to point them out to you in a not-so-typical fashion. So I’m looking beyond just giving out the backstory and the discography and would like to provide you readers with just a tidbit of unique insight that goes below the surface of the average profile.

The artist in the spotlight today?

Amy Lynn and the Gunshow
Leading pair, Amy Lynn (Vocals) and Alex Hamlin (Bari Sax/Arranger)
(Cit. Amylynnandthegunshow.com “Photos“)
Interestingly enough, Amy Lynn herself was the first person I had the pleasure to get acquainted with after walking in the door yesterday and it couldn’t have been a nicer exchange. To get the basics down for those out there who have never heard of the Gunshow before, let’s paint you an addictive aural picture:
On the other hand, let’s just start with the band’s actual tagline, shall we? 
“The humor and elegance of Ray Charles, with the rawness of Janis Joplin.”

Intrigued yet? Let’s keep this going….
You know how a typical rock band setup is somewhere around the figure of five people? Singer, guitarist, bassist, drummer and either 2nd guitarist or some extraneous instrument, possibly keys? The Gunshow has a cohesive group of 10 members. Destroying the average arrangement, just the fact that there are two saxes and a trumpet as regular players in the band gives reason for pause. This crew is not afraid to be different and be loud!
Furthermore, when I say loud, I don’t just mean “If we play a couple of notes loudly, we’ll be good.” Thanks to Mr. Hamlin’s arranging skill, there isn’t a plain rhythm to be heard when these guys play. There are intricate and complementary orchestrations at work behind Amy Lynn’s powerful and versatile voice. One moment she can belt out notes to the power level of Aretha Franklin and the next, one can hear just the slightest peaking out of a steady but more delicate twang that turns heads because it sounds like, for a single moment, the late Amy Winehouse had to have jumped in the mix. Top it all off with lyrics that resonate a touch of sass reminiscent of the 70s black pop era, while the roar from part of what could be any big band’s horn section blasts out laser focused tones, and ladies and gentlemen, this Gunshow does not play it safe. 
What’s so interesting to take note of, is that although none of the current trends, from a dubstep remix to booming guitar reverb, are nearby, the Gunshow do still manage to channel some traces of the ever-trendy and current Adele. Don’t be mislead through: this band is not about simply jumping on the old school gravy train. When I asked Amy Lynn and Alex about what the band’s objectives are when it comes to influences and their non-mainstream music, it was definitely about ‘innovating and not just imitating.’ 
To start you off though, listen to their newest single, “Clearly It’s Me.” In my own opinion, this song is vibrant, unapologetic and perfectly smooth in its delivery. Each person in this group has great chemistry with the others. (And you know you’ve got a good engineer when the backup singers are right there with the lead!)

The dialogue and information about a future show is under the “Read More” link below.

Kira: Since you guys are about a style that does have influences in the 60s and with older, classic singers like Joplin and the Supremes, are you doing this with the intention of resonating with older audiences from those times…or are you looking to get younger listeners of today into this kind of sound, or are you just doing it to do your own thing?
Alex: Just in terms of the question, “Is this music going to relate to a certain age group… you know, 15 to 22 year olds…” you know, we’re not sure. We’re going on faith that the music itself is kinda fun and catchy, and I feel like artists like Adele or like Amy Winehouse, have already sort of primed listeners to be open to our sort of sound. If kids today want to listen to us, that’s always cool. We’re not doing it to fit any kind of mold that happens to be on the rise. Sure, we’ll probably be more likely to connect with older people because of our sound, but we’re not looking to only connect with them. I feel like, it’s just the type of sound that is coming from all of us right now.
Kira: Really? I think it’s kind of interesting how you explain balancing listeners. Yeah, Adele sounds kind of “older,” but Adele sort of just steam-boated and now she’s gone from a singer that’s “older sounding” and in a vein with non-poppy material, to now being popular but not with older individuals.
Amy LynnYeah…. 
Kira: You know, to be honest, the first thing I thought of when I heard you guys, yeah, Amy Winehouse and all that, but really more about Fitz and the Tantrums.
Amy Lynn: Yes!!
Kira: They have that thing, being in a groove where people know who they are, but they’re not…not all over the map and they’re actually still like this hidden little gem.
Alex: Yeah, totally. Well…
Amy Lynn: We’re actually covering one of their songs at Joe’s Pub
Kira: Really…..? (insert highly intrigued tone here)
Alex: Yeah, we’re gonna cover their song, “Moneygrabber
Kira: I love that song.
Amy Lynn: Me too…laughs-…me too!
Alex: Fitz and the Tantrums is a great model for kind of what we’re doing right now. 
Amy Lynn: It’s also the same instrumentation, correct?
Alex: Yeah, pretty much. They’re…a little smaller than we are. You know, they only have one horn player and one backup singer and we have three horn players and two backup singers. 
Kira: (jokingly) Bigger is better.
Amy Lynn: -laughs- …I think so, sometimes.
Alex: We do what we can.
The upcoming show at Joe’s Pub mentioned by Amy Lynn, is on Saturday, August 18th at 7PM. 
You can buy tickets here

Throw together these jazzing horns with the Pub’s ambient atmosphere, and Amy Lynn and the Gunshow can easily rival the infectious energy of any big band show –past, present and possibly even future. It’s not something to be missed! 

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