Volume 91, Issue 77

Friday, February 13, 1998

chumping for joy


New singer, but the same soul!

©Matt Collins/Gazette
MUSIC THAT'S PAINFUL FOR THE SOUL. Gypsy Soul members Cathy Craig and Ewan Miller play 'til it hurts, or 'til the constipation subsides. You can catch their symphony of pain tomorrow at the Embassy.

By Mark Lewandowski

Gazette Staff

It's like an experience of déjˆ-vu – once again Gypsy Soul has parted company with their new singer in favour of a more "modern" line-up. But finally, after a year of fine tuning, the band has solidified the group which bassist Trevor Bedard hopes will put them over the top.

"[This time] it's a female vocalist so the vibe has changed a little bit," says Bedard about the band's recent reconstruction, but he quickly adds, "the style hasn't really changed that much, we're getting a little more aggressive, I guess."

So with a new singer and a new vibe in tow, the band is ready to re-establish their funky-jazz as a Canadian musical mainstay.

"I wouldn't call it just funk. We're trying to get away from that retro feel into more aggressive groove music," summarizes Bedard in trying to pinpoint the band's new digs. Luckily, the musical world will not have to deal with another infusion of retro – it's tired, let it rest in peace.

The band has been working hard to make it in the competitive musical industry, but for every step forward, Gypsy Soul seems to have to take a couple back. The group is talented and its core members have been playing together since 1992, but after their first album, the septet has been growing but can't seem to blossom.

The departure of their second singer was due to usual 'creative differences,' but the band took another hit at the same time.

"We lost our main songwriter Dave," laments Bedard. However, "the new singer and I have been doing some songwriting," he adds. Hopefully this new combination will be enough to revive a band that has not yet been able to put all the pieces together.

As with any larger group, Gypsy Soul is more susceptible to growing pains than smaller bands. Trevor agrees, saying "it is good to have a lot of different people [here], but it's hard to get everybody to rehearsal. You have to argue and discuss your ideas, so it's a lot like a democracy."

Gypsy Soul has the potential to rise above and beyond the classical jazz or funk band, simply by the diversity of its members.

"The drummer listens to a lot of hip-hop and between he and I we keep a lot of the groove aspect there," Bedard explains. "I wouldn't say [the band] is jazz as it is not a really heavy influence. With seven people our influences go everywhere." This will serve the group well as it tries to reinvent itself as a result of recent album problems.

"We are currently redoing the vocals on the album [recorded last year but unreleased]. We are replacing the old vocals with those of the new singer," Bedard reveals. This should complement the co-ed cast better than the uninspired vocals of the second singer."

One thing the band did not mortgage with these changes is a huge stage presence which starts from the band's attitude towards live presentation.

"We have a certain framework but about a quarter of our show is improvised. It's in-your-face, keep-you-dancin type stuff," Bedard explains. And this is the main reason Gypsy Soul still attracts a crowd – like the dedicated one that will be at the Embassy tomorrow night.

The atmosphere in the new line-up is good and Bedard feels they have learned a lot from practical experience.

"We have more backing behind us and we're doing things in the right order," Bedard explains. Hopefully a new CD, a music video and some hard work will keep Gypsy Soul on the right footing.

To Contact The Arts and Entertainment Department: gazent@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright © The Gazette 1998