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LEE O'NELL BLUES GANG TALK 'DIFFERENT SHADES OF LOVE'





HI THERE THANKS FOR ANSWERING SOME QUESTIONS FOR US. PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF FOR US WHO ARE NOT FAMILIAR WITH YOU AND YOUR MUSIC AND TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF.


Gipsy: I’m song writer and the lead vocalist in Lee O’Nell Blues Gang. I learnt classical Piano from 6 to 11 and took few lessons of Jazz music. And we are a French Blues Band with 2 albums auto and co-produced by the famous French Blues guitar player Fred CHAPELLIER.


Lionel: I’m a self taught guitar player since the age of 11 and I’m the leader, the founder and the composer of Lee O’Nell Blues Gang which is my project. It took many years to form it, in 2019 whereas I play guitar with many artists and in many bands, because I was waiting for a voice which could sing and express what I had to say in my songs. Hopefully I met Gipsy 20 years ago and I knew I wanted her to be this voice. And in 2019 it was the moment to do it.


TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR NEW ALBUM OR SINGLE?


Lionel: Well, This is us our second album released in sept 2022 is a little bit more produced than the first one Different Shades Of Love which was released in 2020. I mean that I wanted to add more guitars. There is always a main riff, and a lot of other parts that I can choose to play or not while on stage , depending of my feeling of the day! And I asked Gipsy to add backing vocals, things that we didn’t do in Different Shades Of Love . I know she likes backing vocals so I asked her to record them all.


Gipsy: Yes, we can say that we grew up between the release of Different Shades and This is us . I think that the pandemic helped us in the way that we had more time to work on it as most of artists .


Lionel: This is us is a real contemporary Blues Rock album with different shades. My natural style if I had to define it, is a mix between vintage and modernity. For example, I like when Gipsy puts her sassy way of singing on a rock rhythm , I like when she sounds jazzy when it’s a pure blues tune. Generally speaking, we are known in France for mixing different styles all with a common point. That can be destabilizing for French public, ‘cause they are well known to catalog the music they’re listening to. That is Blues Roots, that is Rock, that is soul or jazz. But they are not used to listen something new with all those styles which are very closed mixed in one tune. They cannot easily identify to what they are discovering and may be surprised of afraid.


Gipsy: That may be the reason why our album receive such a good welcome in Europa or United States


WHAT INSPIRED THE ALBUM OR SINGLE?


Gipsy: Generally speaking, that is life and our own experiences that inspired us. I’m obsessed by human relations, the feelings, the acts and their consequences. I love writing using opposites, and I like leaving to the listener a kind of ambiguity: did I really experiment what I’m talking about when I say I in my songs ?


Lionel: For me, music is a universal language to express any feeling of life. So all the aspects of my personal life can inspire me. In the case of This is us, the pandemic that we have all been through had a big importance in the composition and regarding to the deep meaning of the tracks. You know, lyrics and music are deeply connected in Lee O’Nell Blues Gang even if sometimes I enjoy putting some kind of rumba rhythm in a Bluesy and mostly melancholic song about death for example.


CAN YOU SUM UP THE ALBUM IN A FEW WORDS?


Lionel: In terms of music only, as I said upper, you can find different shades of Blues Rock. Some can find it more Rock than Blues, some others the opposite. I wanted this album to be listened by everyone and that everybody could recognize something that speaks to himself. My rock influences are there, but blues also and Gipsy add the jazzy touch.


Gipsy: Always opposites: tears and happiness, anger and joy, disappointment and hopes. A lot of questions and wondering about how the world is going on, about how the human act, or about alcohol, how we approach death and loneliness for example…We also recorded a song about the acts of violence made to women.


Lionel: Music and songs have this power to be able to tell stories about whatever you want. That’s why we called it This is us, because this one is a more intimate part of us with all its extremes and opposites sides. We are both sides of each story. The dark and the light.


WHAT RECORD CHANGED YOUR LIFE AND WHY?


Lionel: Tribute to Bach by Jeff BERLIN and I don’t know why. Music is not something you can always explain, it’s something you feel. Everything depends on when and where you meet a track or an album. I choose the verb to meet, because for me , when I’m listening to a song, it’s really a meeting with the whole artist’s universe. You can feel its influences, the guitarist he studied and so on…


Gipsy: There is no record in particular, even no singer, or band who had changed my life. I can be transported by the honey voice of Sarah Vaughan, but also by the strength of Aretha Franklin. I love the emotion, the soul and the heart Jade MACRAE puts in her songs. Listening to his album Handle me with care calm me down, I can feel a kind of serenity fill my soul and my entire body.


Lionel: I think each records we listen change us, because in each one there is something you will remain and will be part of you in the future. We are the sum of everything we listen to. Like sponges. This is us !


DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE MUSIC VIDEO FILMED BY YOUR BAND OR ANOTHER ARTIST?


Lionel: I think that it’s too early now for favourite videos of Lee O’Nell Blues Gang. But speaking about another band, my favorite video band is: Just got paid by ZZ Top, covered by Joe Bonamassa and particularly this one: In this track, Joe Bonamassa has completely appropriated the piece until integrating a part of Still of the night by Whitesnake… F…..ing idea !




Gipsy: I’m definitely not an exclusive person, so I can’t answer. Do I have a pledge? Haha !


WHAT WOULD WE FIND YOU DOING WHEN YOU'RE NOT MAKING MUSIC?


Gipsy: I must answer for Lionel ! He would like to say you he can do something else than music, but no ! Even spending time on the sofa watching Netflix series or a movie is impossible for him without one of his guitars in his hands ! So I would say: Sleep (to be able to play and practice again ! )


DO YOU GET NERVOUS PERFORMING LIVE, IF SO HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH THAT?


Lionel: Nervous is not the exact word, I’m happy and excited. Always looking forwards for the first chord, the first note. And what will the public send to me. It’s a real conversation between 5 artists on stage who are going together on the same way and the public.


Gipsy: Not nervous no, but very excited to meet new audience. I have a total confidence in the Gang on stage, so it’s easy to enter the moment and let myself hold on by the feeling and the emotion of that moment , a kind of communion full of happiness where and when nothing exists except music and our universe.


HOW DID YOU FORM THE BAND?


Lionel: It was in 2019, after my friend, my brother of heart Fred CHAPELLIER had invited us as guests during one of his shows. For this concert, he knew that with Gipsy in our duet, we used to play some of his own tunes and ask us to play them with his own musicians. After the show, he told me that I’d rather form my band because of all the things I had to say.


Gipsy: That’s exactly what Lionel did, he ask the best musicians in our area to join us for this project, and less than 6 months later, we entered the studio to record our first album !


Lionel: Lee O’Nell Blues Gang was born, and I gave it my name (cause in France we pronounce in a different way, ( and with this Irish sound it’s a nod to Gary Moore). Lee O’Nell (Lionel) Blues Gang.


Gipsy: We are a Gang and not a simple band !


HOW DO YOU WRITE?


Gipsy: Lionel is the composer, the only one, and I write the lyrics. As English is not my first language, I use to ask a little help from friends: Neal Black, a Texan singer, songwriter and guitarist who lived in France since 1990; Alain LEADFOOT Rivet who is a french singer and songwriter with a wonderful American culture, and even our friend Jade MACRAE, a fabulous Australian singer who is also background vocalist for Joe BONAMASSA.


Lionel: We have separate and different ways to work. Sometimes, the music came before, I record the base of the song, and ask Gipsy to write something on it. And sometimes it’s the opposite, Gipsy comes to me with some lyrics. But when the work on a song starts we use to talk and try plenty of things together until we are completely satisfied. And more specifically, as I always have a guitar in my hands, I’m always practising and playing. So some new riffs, some new phrasings come easily and the melody follows. That grow up in my mind often in few days, sometimes in few weeks and when I dream of a new song, or when I wake up in the morning with the riff in my head, I know that’s ok. The song is here.


WHAT INSPIRES YOU?


Lionel: The first album, as its name , is full of love songs, only songs about the different shades of love . Passion and jealousy, wondering and waiting for someone's attention for example, all declined around the shades of Blues Rock atmospheres with some ballads, and rock tunes.


Gipsy: And as This is us was composed and written while the pandemic, the lyrics are more based around our self-analysis if we can say. A kind of introspection. Some songs are dark, some are full of hopes. But it’s always an observation of the human relations in general. Disappointment, anger, expectations, sadness, weariness…


WHAT IS NEXT?


Lionel: The third album ! Haha !!


Gipsy: And before that, some great concerts, we will soon open for Ana Popovic, or the Cinelli Brothers for example. We will start to play in Belgium thanks to the different places we are airplay, and we are waiting for a little tour in Germany !


Lionel: Some beautiful places and festivals in France too, but most of all we are looking for booking agency in UK and Netherlands… USA is too far for the moment even if some radio shows already spin our tunes !


PLEASE TELL US ANY SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS SO WE CAN SHARE.

https://www.leeonellbluesgang.com

Youtube : https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCU9bcdZ-UVh2_EM83NxyjFg

Spotify : https://open.spotify.com/artist/4uU0QwUeHcEk1e7tsANRjH

Deezer : https://www.deezer.com/fr/artist/107074722

Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/leeonellbluesgang/


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