Friday night, Caroline and I drove out to a beautiful house on the side of a mountain in the community of Gold Canyon, Arizona. The occasion was a house concert by one of our favorite bands, Gypsy Soul. The band holds a special place in our hearts because our very first date was a Gypsy Soul concert. Their songs seem to speak to our lives in a way few artists do, and we never miss an opportunity to hear them. The band members are Cilette Swan, who writes the lyrics and sings lead, and Roman Morykit who writes the music, plays the instruments, sings backup and produces the albums.
Friday night was particularly good because they performed many of the songs off their new album, Wanderlust. I’ve been listening to it non-stop since I bought it in April, but – as with all really good bands – the songs have a little something extra when performed live. Cilette was in terrific voice and Roman was his usual brilliant self on dobro, acoustic guitar and fretless bass.
One of the special delights of the evening was when the band performed their cover version of George Gershwin’s Summertime. Their arrangement is nothing but Cilette on vocals and Roman on the fretless bass, and yet it manages to flawlessly convey the lazy heat of Southern summer. Roman is a virtuoso on the fretless. It absolutely sings under his fingers. You can hear a recorded version of the song here, but believe me, nothing beats hearing it live. (This is a recording of a live performance, so it is the next best thing.)
I’ve been following Gypsy Soul for years now, and – as with any real artists – have been privileged to observe their growth as musicians first hand. The band recently won the “Best Cover Song CD” award from the Just Plain Folks Music Awards, (AKA “The Independent Grammys”). It was the largest music awards event in history with over 10,000 music industry professionals judging 560,000 songs and 42,000 CDs. As they say, “it’s kind of a big deal”.
Anyway, I am going to suggest that you do yourself a favor. Buy a Gypsy Soul CD for yourself and another one as a gift for someone special. The holidays are coming up, and you want something memorable to give that isn’t going to cost an arm and a leg. Give the gift of Gypsy Soul. These folks are extraordinary musicians, extraordinary people and will make your listening an extraordinary experience.
Really. I’m dead serious about this. Buy a CD. You can’t go wrong with any of them, but my favorite (so far) is Wanderlust.