"I think music is a universal language. Like mathematics, it’s a universal method for humans to communicate across language, religion, and cultural barriers. Music is a common denominator and Blues/Rock music has influenced my views on the world, and I hope the music we create does so for others."
Jennifer Lyn: Gypsy Soul's Groove Revival
Born and raised in a suburb of Minneapolis, Minnesota, Jennifer Lyn made her way to North Dakota by way of New York City, and Worcester, Massachusetts. As a child, she would visit her Grandparents and sit cross-legged on the floor in front of a giant radio that was taller than she was standing. Hearing music through that giant radio was the first place she heard musicians like Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Merle Haggard, and many more. Somewhere between staring up at that radio and swaying along with the beat was where she fell in love with music. She grew up between two worlds: one, her family’s love and appreciation for traditional country, folk, and gospel music in her home; the other, the years she spent absorbing many diverse forms of music while living in various places throughout the United States. Getting serious about the guitar in 2013, it didn’t take her long to decide to front her own band, Jennifer Lyn & The Groove Revival. (Photo: Jennifer Lyn)
Jennifer Lyn & The Groove Revival’s latest project, titled Gypsy Soul (2023), features music steeped in the Blues. Gypsy Soul creates a perfect, Blues-based pairing as a follow-up to the band's Independent Blues Music Award nominated “Best Blues Rock Album” Nothing Holding Me Down. Mixing classic rock undertones, soulful vocals, the songwriting vibe of the 70s, wanderlust, and plenty of reverb-drenched guitar solos with dual guitar moments, the band's new studio album is set to deliver that old-school sound. Gypsy Soul features a diverse pallet of influences capturing various genres on this release such as Rock, Blues, R&B, and a dash of funky undertones. This album is reminiscent 60s and 70s vibe music melted into a pot of contemporary Blues-Rock. Written and produced by Jennifer Lyn and bandmate Richard Torrance, Gypsy Soul showcases the pair's compositional and lyrical progression as a writing team. Lyn and Torrance are joined by Jim Anderson (drums), Chris Addison (bass), and Barb Jiskra (keys). The diverse background of each musician created a divergence of individual styles that complement the overall texture of the music.
How has the Blues and Rock music influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?
I think music is a universal language. Like mathematics, it’s a universal method for humans to communicate across language, religion, and cultural barriers. Music is a common denominator and Blues/Rock music has influenced my views on the world, and I hope the music we create does so for others. Stories within music can take you to a different place of understanding by allowing you to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes through the story’s songs can tell. When I travel, I try to absorb as much of the food and music as possible. I feel these are the windows into a different world of understanding.
How do you describe your sound and songbook? Where does your creative drive come from?
Our sound is more of a throwback to 60s and 70s. We love dual guitars, a well-crafted song, and minimal production in the studio. I also prefer to sing the hell out of whatever I can. I like to put my soul into every word. I also don’t believe in auto-tune for vocals, and I appreciate the tiny imperfections that come with human beings making music. The off note here and there is endearing to me. We leave much of that in our music that we release to the world.
I’m naturally a driven person. I’m up at 5 am working out in the morning and I tend to go to bed later even if we don’t have a show. This drive also carries over into the music I create. For me, it’s all about the story and the message. If there isn’t a story, there isn’t a song. I want our music to reach people and move their soul even if just for a brief moment in time.
"The fact that vinyl is making a major resurgence across the globe tells me music is just fine. Vinyl is something you spin for the enjoyment of hearing a piece of work from start to finish. You also get to see the liner notes, the album cover, and photos about the album. The detail that vinyl is on a comeback tells me the purpose of music still hasn’t left humans." (Photo: Jennifer Lyn and Richard Torrance)
What moment changed your music life the most? What´s been the highlights in your life and career so far?
The passing of my grandmother. She was the reason I got back into music. One could say I’m a late bloomer and it was the conversation I had with her before she lost her battle with cancer that put my musical journey into motion.
We’ve had many highlights in my band’s music journey so far, but in the end the moments that stick out most are about our fans. It’s all about the people no matter what they look like, where they come from, or their background. I love receiving stories about how our songs touch them and become a part of their life.
Are there any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?
There are too many to mention, but we enjoy it all. Whether on the road, performing in our hometown, or recording new music, we try to capture these moments as much as possible.
What do you miss most nowadays from the music of the past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?
I don’t listen to top 40 radio. I just can’t take much of the music being created these days. This makes me sound old and crabby, but I’m not being dismissive when I say that. Most of the music of top 40 radio these days just doesn’t reach me like music as I feel music is intended. There is SO much talent in non-mainstream music. Lyrics that will make you cry, smile, and songs that reach into your soul and revive you. This is what I enjoy the most about music. I just wish more music like that would be played on mainstream radio.
The fact that vinyl is making a major resurgence across the globe tells me music is just fine. Vinyl is something you spin for the enjoyment of hearing a piece of work from start to finish. You also get to see the liner notes, the album cover, and photos about the album. The detail that vinyl is on a comeback tells me the purpose of music still hasn’t left humans.
"Our sound is more of a throwback to 60s and 70s. We love dual guitars, a well-crafted song, and minimal production in the studio. I also prefer to sing the hell out of whatever I can. I like to put my soul into every word. I also don’t believe in auto-tune for vocals, and I appreciate the tiny imperfections that come with human beings making music. The off note here and there is endearing to me. We leave much of that in our music that we release to the world." (Photo: Jennifer Lyn)
What would you say characterizes North Dakota area blues scene in comparison to other local US scenes?
North Dakota does have a thriving Blues Scene, but you do need to look hard to find it. We have a very supportive fan base locally. They are with us every step of the way, but it isn’t necessarily because they are die-hard Blues fans. They do enjoy good music and we thankfully give that to them. North Dakota does have a very diverse music scene in general with top quality music being created across the state. As Quincy Jones once said, there are two types of music…Good music and bad music. We have a lot of the former in our state.
What does to be a female artist in a Man’s World as James Brown says? What is the status of women in music?
I’ve honestly never felt like I was living in a Man’s world. Many of my mentors and role models are men and they have been nothing but giving and generous with their time. The world is what you make of it. I think gender is what you make of it as well. You can either roll up sleeves and dive into the trenches with those looking to stake their claim or you can sit back and make excuses. I will never use my gender as an excuse. I choose to roll up my sleeves whenever and wherever I can and I’ve found, I’m usually in very good company.
What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your experience in the music paths?
Always be humble, stay true to oneself, and make the path all about the music. These concepts have never let me down and it’s been one hell of a fun ride!
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