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Gypsy, Celebrating The Music Of Stevie Nicks

Gypsy, Celebrating The Music Of Stevie Nicks

     It’s hard to think of an artist with broader appeal than Stevie Nicks. From her Fleetwood Mac days through her solo career beginning in 1979, Stevie’s music has touched fans of all ages and across many genres. That is why there have been and continue to be so many Stevie Nicks or Fleetwood Mac tribute bands.
     Enter Gypsy, a 9-piece ensemble from Long Island that seeks to separate itself from the “tribute” label and prefers to be billed as a celebration of the music of Stevie Nicks. Gypsy is built for the theater experience rather than the local club scene. Packed with an all-star line up of Long Island music scene veterans that have powered some of the most successful club/party bands for three decades, Gypsy was founded and created to be more than a club band.
     For lead singer Janet Spallone Soluri, the opportunity to pay homage to Stevie Nicks is the culmination of a lifelong dream. A veteran of many successful classic rock bands, Janet has always aspired to do a production honoring one the iconic singers and songwriters of her generation.
     Steve Stewart, who is the driving force behind Gypsy, is not only an accomplished drummer and singer, he is also a savvy business mind and for the time being has taken on the management of the band. Undaunted by the amount of competition in the crowded Nicks tribute field, Stewart is focusing on bigger and better production values to separate Gypsy from the run-o-the-mill club scene bands.
      Musically the band is flawless. The caliber of musicianship is apparent from the very first note through the show finale. Soluri’s voice naturally sounds very similar to Nicks so there is no sense of put on or mimicry. Guitarist Adam Ditre not only captures the fine work of both Lindsay Buckingham and Waddy Wachtel, the two guitarists who Nicks has spent most of her career with, he also looks like a cross between the two. The other players, Anthony Lombardo on bass guitar, Adan Tese on saxophone and percussion and Brian Connolly on keyboards were part of Stewarts plan from the start, to insure the musicianship was top notch. The three backing singers, Teri Pavia, Deanna Carroll and Suzanne O’Connor round out the ensemble and seem to genuinely share the comradely that Nicks and her backup singers enjoy. The interplay with the band members helps sell the illusion of a true Nicks experience.
      Gypsy doesn’t limit itself to just perfect renditions of the records though. They pus a lot of time and thought into the visual experience and creating the magic that true Nicks fans have come to expect in a concert.
     I had a chance to grab a few minutes to chat with Stewart and Soluri about some the challenges that a project like Gypsy presents that are different from a typical club or party band, as well as where they see things progressing. They were both aware of the unique issues they face, from the small number of venues locally that are capable of presenting a band of that size with the visual aspects and esthetic required. There are also some fiscal realities that become apparent when trying to keep a band that requires a certain level of production running. Also, keeping virtuoso musicians patient while the bands expands the opportunities to perform can present a challenge. For now though, everything is looking bright and positive on the horizon.
     From the fan perspective, the entertainment value Gypsy presents is a notch above the status quo Long island tribute band. Although a relatively new player in the crowded field, fans who have seen their show have come away with rave reviews. Recent shows at Foxwoods Casino and the Founders Room at the Paramount in Huntington resulted in a social media storm of accolades and the demand for tickets to their upcoming showcase at Mulcahy’s in Wantagh is uncommonly high.
     Be sure to mark October 8th on your calendar for a free show featuring Gypsy at the Cedar Beach Hut on the big stage. Visit gypsynicks.com for more info and show dates.

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