Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Pheaturing Amy Lynn From Amy Lynn & The Gunshow

Hello, and welcome to a Wednesday entry of the Phile... it's Thanksgiving Eve, kids. I am not gonna complain about my arm at at this entry. You know I am in pain, I don't need to keep telling you.  Alright, so after the election, 20 states said they've got to get out. They said, "We can't take it anymore," so 20 states are working on seceding from the United States. We're facing real economic problems, so take those 20 states that want to leave and charge them $10,000 apiece.  Facebook just launched a new app. They teamed up with the Department of Labor to create what they call the social jobs app. You can browse through 2 million job listings. You know it's bad when even Facebook thinks it's time for you to get a job. Facebook also has an app that can help you lose your job. It's called Facebook.  Colorado and Washington just legalized marijuana. If Hostess can't figure out a way to make money off of that, then maybe they shouldn't be in the snack cake industry. I guess I'll just have to take my business to Little Debbie.  Hey, did you hear that? That horrible sound you hear is thousands of voice actors preparing for their Elmo audition. Good luck everyone!  In case you didn't hear, Kevin Clash, the voice of Elmo on "Sesame Street" has resigned. If you think the Elmo controversy is bad, wait until you hear about who pulled down SpongeBob's SquarePants. This just in... Elmo to testify Kevin Clash repeatedly put his hands in and manipulated him. Mitt Romney vowed to go after Big Bird, but it was under Obama's watch that we brought down Elmo. Just saying.  Alright, enough of the Elmo jokes. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, kids. If you're making a turkey, you might need this...

It's a real thing. I have no idea what it does though. I am so glad there's a Thanksgiving inspirational poster.

Who likes Norman Rockwell? My mom was a big Rockwell fan and I remember she had all the books and prints and stuff when I was a kid. There's this famous one of people sitting around a table on Thanksgiving. I saw it recently and it wasn't exactly how I remember it.

Well, I mentioned in Colorado they legalized marijuana, right? This is a recent picture of what Colorado looks like.

So, Lincoln is doing well in theatres... historically this has not been the case. So, as I said recently one of my new hobbies is going on Twitter and looking up different words. One of the words I look up is Foghat, and this is what I saw recently.

And now for some sad news...

Warren Rudman
May 18, 1930 - Nov 19, 2012
Off the fiscal cliff.

Alright, now it's time for a friend and Phile reader who is a singer, surfer, patriot and renaissance man come on with and tell us what is going on in his life. Today I invited him on to talk about something important, and organization called Angels In Network. So, please welcome back Laird Jim in a pheature we call...

Angels In Network is an organization started by my dear friend Tara Crawley. They're getting it done. Sign up... pitch in... make a difference. What started as a small group of people rolling up their sleeves has grown into something amazing. Something working on a grassroots level, where "The System" has failed. Look them up on Facebook as well as on that interweb thingy.

Now the world begins to understand why I've called her Angel for years. She's amazing and so are the rest of the folks in the network. No BS... no egos... no drama... just good people helping out and giving to those in need. Bravo Tara... bravo. Keep it going... we're all with you.

Thanks, Laird. You can find out more about Angels In Network at Alright, it's time to talk football with my good friend Jeff Trelewicz...

Me: Hello, Jeff, welcome back to the Phile for week 12. It is week 12, right? How are you?

Jeff: Welcome to week 12 in deed. I am doing well. Happy Thanksgiving to you, the family and all the Phile readers!

Me: Okay, I have to ask you first, what's with the Steelers uniforms? Buzzzzz. LOL. Here's a picture so readers who don't know what we're talking about will.

Jeff: The Steelers uniforms are their throwback jerseys from the inaugural season 80 years ago. Clearly no one had good fashion sense back then.

Me: Or now. So, what's the NFL news this week, Jeff?

Jeff: Nothing too big in the news world. New England scored 59 points vs Colts. It looked like a video game more then an actual game. Other then that the injuries are piling up for a lot of teams. There was three overtime games this week, but no ties this time.

Me: Alright, the Steelers lost, Giants were in bye week. How did we do this week?

Jeff: Yes, Pittsburgh lost when you had a bye week. I went 2-1 and you went 0-3 so my lead is now six points. Anything can happen though!

Me: You're winning by six points? Holy shit! Okay, Jeff, lets do this weeks picks... I say Detroit will win by three, Jets will win by 6 and Carolina will win by 2. What do you say?

Jeff: I say Denver by 7, Eagles by a field goal and Colts by four.

Me: Good job. Now, Friday is my birthday, Jeff, so would you want to tell a story about me?

Jeff: Oh? A Jason story? What about the time you made a strange child throw tree pulp at me? Or get a very big burly man to quote Office Space to me? I have sooo many! Happy Birthday!

Me: Thanks, Jeff. Happy Thanksgiving and I will see you next week. Buzzzzz.

The 27th artist to be pheatured in the Peverett Phile Art Gallery is Matthew Daley, and this is one of his pieces...

Matthew will be a guest on the Phile in a few weeks.

Today's pheatured guests are two members of the great band Amy Lynn & The Gunshow whose new EP "Clearly" is available on iTunes. They'll next be appearing at Joe's Pub in New York City on December 11th with The Gunshow Holiday Spectacular. Please welcome to the Phile... Amy Lynn and Alex Hamlin.

Me: Hello, Amy, welcome to the Phile. How are you?

Amy: I'm doing wonderful thank you.

Me: So, I figured you are Amy Lynn, is the Gunshow the nickname of the other guy in the band?

Amy: That other guy in the photo with me is Alex Hamlin. He is the arranger, co-writer, co-producer and my husband. So yea, he is a Gunshow himself. Lanky, but don't be deceived... he has guns ;)

Me: Who is in the Gunshow?

Amy: The Gunshow is comprised of 8 other musicians... Our horn section Alexander Hamlin: baritone, sax, Michael Bomwell: tenor sax, Jeff Hermanson: trumpet. The rhythm section: Jared Schonig: drums, Mike Chiavaro: bass, and Brian Whitted: keys. And lastly, but certainly not least our backups... Ladonna Burns & James Jackson.

Me: And where did that name come from?

Amy: The name came from the old joke. The name The Gunshow stems from a joke Alex and I have with one another. You walk up to someone and ask, “Do you have tickets to the gun show?” and then they say, “What gun show?” to which you reply, “This gun show!”, and point at your flexed biceps. In context of our band there is an element of irony because pretty much everybody bodies are not of the body building type, perhaps excluding our drummer, Jared Schonig. The name stuck because its fun and easy to remember too.

Me: Okay, let's talk about Alex... I interviewed many musicians over the years who are in a band with their siblings, husbands, wife's, whatever and that always amazes me. Did you two get married before or after the formation of the band?

Amy: We got married after the formation of the band.

Me: Where and how did you two meet?

Amy: We met in Zurich, Switzerland on the European tour of "Grease". I played Rizzo and he was in the pit playing sax and clarinet.

Me: How is it working together, Amy?

Amy: It truly has been a remarkable experience. Some days we want to kill each other but others we are dancing in the living room... LOL. But in all seriousness we really work well together and I couldn't ask for a better partner.

Me: Before this current band The Gunshow, you had a solo album out, am I right? How is the current project different?

Amy: Well, when Alex and I first met I asked him if he would be willing to help me put together a CD to showcase my voice. So the solo album was the just the start of Alex and I working together. After we knew that it worked we thought it would be cool if we started working on our own stuff. Soon thereafter we formed a band and there you have it.

Me: I love The Gunshow's music, it is very retro. Did you grow up listening Motown type bands?

Amy: Thank you. Motown is everything to me us. We both grew up listening to Earth Wind & Fire, Tower of Power, Chicago, James Brown. Really the list is endless. But then at the same time we both go from one day listening to Bach and then the next Marilyn Manson. So we really do listen to it all.

Me: What do you think of Duffy, she kinda led the 60's revival, am I right?

Amy: Ya know I'm actually not a huge fan of hers so I'm gonna say no comment. ;)

Me: Okay then. Your music has been described as the humor and elegance of Ray Charles paired with the rawness of Janis Joplin. Who came up with that tag line and was that the goal of the band?

Amy: Yes, we came up with that recently. Yes, we did. We are evolving as time goes on and I am leaning towards saying our tagline as of now might be Janis sings motownesque tunes with the delivery of Bette Midler.

Me: Speaking of Janis Joplin you played her in a show, right? Is she a big influence of hers?

Amy: Yea, I played her at the Kennedy Center in DC in a musical called "Beehive". It was such an incredible experience. She is a huge influence. I grew up listening to all of her music.

Me: What is your favorite Janis song?

Amy: Oooh... too many to pic a fave. But if I had to I would say "Pearl" and "Maybe".

Me: Have you heard of Jenny Dee & The Deelinquents? They're a band from Boston (I had Jenny Dee and her husband both on the Phile... both are in that band). You guys should get together and tour with them, or record together. That would be freaking amazing.

Amy: I have not, but I will def check them out!

Me: Alex plays sax in the band, and you sing, Amy. Who does most of the songwriting?

Amy: Alex and I write songs together and also collaborate with song writers as well. When it is just Alex and I, the whole process usually starts with a simple idea for a chorus or a verse that one of us will bring to the writing session. From there we brainstorm about the melody, harmony, groove, tone, and what the lyrics and song is generally about. On rare occasions one of us will come to the writing session with a complete song with lyrics. Whatever is presented will likely be dramatically different by the time the two of us are finished with it. Once we get the song completed, the next step is for Alex to arrange it for our band of three horns, three vocals, keys, bass, and drums. I always help Alex figure out what to do about the back up vocal parts because writing for voices is a bit outside of his comfort zone. There are quite a bit of original songs and arrangements that have not made it to a second public performance because they didn’t vibe right with the audience. We figure the audience knows best in terms of what song is a “keeper” or destined for the “trash bin/recycle heap” In our collaborations with other song writers, our style of collaboration varies. With our friend Joe Kinosian who co-wrote “Clearly It’s Me” with us and Anna Marquardt, they wrote the majority of the song and then sent us a mp3 of them performing it with just voice and piano.

Alex: Joe sent along the sheet music and then from there Amy and I worked on the groove, what the band wool be playing, and the finer vocal nuances Amy would use to taylor the song to her vocal style. Recently, Amy and I collaborated with another song writer, Alex Forbes. We went to her apartment with a voice recorder, pen, paper. We started the whole session by just talking about what was going on in each others lives and then narrowed the discussion down to what kind of song we were interested in writing through a “brainstorm” session. I presented a melody and lyric idea with only dozen words or so in length and then Amy and Alex piled on there ideas. One pizza and a 2 liter ginger ale later, we had one and a half verses and chorus down! We had to go our separate ways for the rest of the evening but by the time Amy and I woke up the next morning there was an email from Alex F. waiting for us that had a recording of her singing the bridge and the missing 2nd half of the 2nd verse. So as you might guess, our songs get written in many different ways, sometimes in a day sometimes over many months. What is tricky about the whole process is that you never know exactly what you’re going to end up or when you’re going to get it!

Me: Thanks, Alex, thanks for chiming in. I mentioned you played Janis, Amy, you are also part of the fantastic Radio City Christmas Spectacular. How long have you been part of that show?

Amy: This will be my sixth year in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.

Me: Who or what do you play in it? You're not one of the Rockettes, are you?

Amy: No, I am not a "dancer." Definitely more of an aggressive mover. I am part of a singer sextet, three men and three women who throughout the show sing some really wonderful songs.

Me: How did you first get the part? Was it a lengthly audition?

Amy: Radio City announced that it was the first year they were going to incorporate singers into the show and there was an open call. So along with a few hundred other women I waited in line for a few hours to sing my 16 bars. I got a callback and from there another callback for the "singer who moves well" call where they teach you a dance combination. A few months later I got the phone call being offered the job.

Me: Do you have to audition every year?

Amy: Fortunately I have not had to. Every year everyone in the cast receives a letter in late February in the mail stating whether or not we are invited back or have to re-audition.

Me: Okay, let's talk about The Gunshow's music I downloaded from iTunes. You have a new 3 song EP called "Clearly" out. Before that you had a self-titled EP. Are you guys working on an album?

Amy: We’ve scheduled a bunch more writing sessions. In the next year we would like to release a full length album of 9 to 12 songs that really capture the essence of what we do live.

Me: With these songs, Amy, do you play a lot of covers in the Gunshow shows?

Amy: Oh yea, we try to add in a couple different covers a show ranging from Beyonce to Otis.

Me: So, what's next for you and Alex, Amy?

Amy: Well, along with collaborating with more songwriters we also just completed the filming of our first music video for our song, “Clearly It’s Me”. This something we’ve never tried before and we’re very excited to see what our director for the video comes up with. The reason for making the video is so that we can turn more people on to our band. Being that we live in a visual world we thought it’d be worth shot at trying something like that.

Me: Thanks so much for being here. Please come back again when your next release comes out. Do you have a website you wanna plug?

Amy: Thank you Jason, great questions. Well we just started actively using our Facebook page again and would love to garner more "likes", so the link for that is and our official website is

Me: All the best, and take care. Have a good Thanksgiving.

Amy: Ditto!!

Well, that about does it for this entry. Thanks to Laird Jim, Jeff Trelewicz, Amy Lynn and Alex Hamlin. The Phile will be back on Friday with my Phorty-Phourth Birthday Special with guest Sean Tyla from Ducks Deluxe. I am in a lot of pain so I am not gonna tell you who else is coming up. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let alligators and snakes bite you. Bye, love you, bye. Have a good Thanksgiving. By the way, today would of been my grandmother's birthday... miss you, Nanny Doris.

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