Album Review, Graffiti ?Ghost Town Swing Reveries (CD) This wonderful-sounding debut from Lewisburg''s venerable jazzbos Ghost Town Swing revisits some standards from the ''40s and ''50s and gives a similar classic treatment to some tunes from the ''60s and ''70s. Leading off with a silky smooth version of ''Moonglow,'' singer (and Lewisburg Noize scribe) Susanna Robinson is joined by vocalists Jessica Chasnoff and Margaret Holz. From ''Apple Blossom Time'' and Dan Hicks'' ''Texas Kinda Attitude'' to an easy swinging version of Dylan''s ''I''ll Be Your Baby Tonight'' (featuring Don Drummer on pedal steel), the playing and singing are dead-on all the way around. Drummer''s muted jazz chords and lead lines sit beautifully on top of the rhythm section (drummer Tim Pyne and bassist Bob Thomas). Both Robinson and sax man Al Jeter, a master of that sweet airy tenor tone, shine on ''Lullaby Of The Leaves'' and tear up the gently driving, minor-keyed ''Evenin''.'' Other tunes include ''They Can''t Take That Away From Me'' and Cyndi Lauper''s ''Time After Time.'' While the prevailing attitude is that a band must perform original material, this passel of familiar but not overdone songs is the perfect antidote to LPs filled with inferior originals. Alpo. ? Ghost Town Swing Ghost Town Swing is a Lewisburg-based band with a unique blend of 40's standards, jazz/blues/swing, and the occasional contemporary 'torch song' thrown in for good measure. Originally formed in the early 90's by guitarist DON DRUMMER, songstress SUSANNA ROBINSON, and the late great tenor saxophonist AL JETER, the band has played regularly at numerous venues in both their hometown locale and throughout West Virginia and Virginia, as well as in the New York City area. Their sultry sounds and alluring interpretations of tunes, at times reminiscent of the speak- easies of long ago, have become the distinctive musical signature that defines the style of Ghost Town Swing. The smooth, refined sound of Don's vintage Gibson guitar, the breathy smooth sound of Jeter's sax, added to Susanna's smokey, melodious vocals combined to create a chemistry rarely found among performers. Their performances have been widespread and include swing dances for the Southwest Virginia Swing Dance Society and the Friends Of Old-Time Music And Dance (FOOTMAD). They have played for the Parkersburg Jazz Society and for Huntington's annual Jazz- MU-Tazz jazz festival, as well as for the Symphony Weekend at Snowshoe, West Virginia. They were part of the musical extravanganza West Virginia 2000: A Celebration of West Virginia Music at Lewisburg's Carnegie Hall, where they have been also been featured performers in the Ivy Terrace Concert Series. They are regulars at the annual Mountain Music Festival at the Appalachian South Folklife Center near Pipestem, West Virginia. They have been guest performers at several events presented by the Trillium Performing Arts Collective, as well as having entertained at countless weddings, reunions, festivals, and private parties. Don and Al are regular performers at the renowned Greenbrier Resort, and Susanna has appeared as a back-up singer on NPR's Mountain Stage. The group has been featured in articles in such publications as West Virginia Quarterly, Mid-Atlantic Magazine, Graffiti, and several major newspapers. The influences of the group are as diverse as the personalities of the members. DON DRUMMER, Ghost Town's guitarist, was one of the founding members of the 70's swing band, THE FAT ANKLE BAND, and has played in several other groups, including NEW TRANSMISSION, THE BOO-WAHS, THE JUICE BAND, and SUZ AND THE SQUEEZERS. With musical roots originally in Bluegrass music, he played both mandolin and guitar, eventually mastering the pedal steel, traveling with country bands and performing as a recording session musician. Through all of these endeavors, the common thread was Drummer's true love of jazz, evident in the jazz flavor he has brought to all roads on his musical journey. Influences include Jimmy Rainey, Charlie Christian, Barney Kessel, and Buddy Emmons, Vocalist SUSANNA ROBINSON has always had a feel for jazz standards and 'torch songs'. She recalls that the song her mother sang to rock her to sleep was the Andrews Sisters' Lay That Pistol Down, Babe. 'That was one of my earliest memories,' she recalls. 'That was my lullaby.' Also a former member of the Roanoke-based SUZ AND THE SQUEEZERS, THE JUICE BAND, and THE BOO-WAHS, as well as the folk- blues ensemble BEYOND THERAPY, Robinson identifies her single most important influence as Dan Hicks and his Hot Licks. She feels that Dan's 'acceptably laid-back, decadent style' allowed the personalities of the performers to really come through. Robinson maintains that Hicks has written some of the best songs she has ever heard, many of which she has, over the years, made her own. Other musical inspirations include singers MaryAnn Price and Chris O'Connell (now joining forces as the Austin duo 'Ethyl and Methyl'), Peggy Lee, Billie Holiday, Patti Cathcart (of Tuck and Patti), as well as all of those 'Sister Groups' of the 30's and 40's. MARGARET HOLZ, a talented flute player and singer in her own right, joins the ensemble most of the time. She comes from a background of drama and musical theatre. She is well known for her natural musical ability and continuously impresses audiences with her strength in both technical performance and inprovisation. She has performed in Brazil, as well as in the United States. Margaret and Susanna are former members of the Greenbrier Valley Chorale, performing everything from Bach to Stephen Foster to madrigal pieces. Margaret and Susanna, longtime friends, together with Susanna's former vocal student JESSICA CHASNOFF, sometimes perform as a euphonious 'girl group' under the name of 'THE CAN'T RESIST'ER SISTERS', blending Western Swing, 'cornball country', standards, and ballads, all sung in lovely three-part harmony. They have appeared in such venues as Clifton Forge's Historic Stonewall Theatre, and have been featured on live radio broadcasts from the small, but very hip, radio station, WVMR in Frost, West Virginia, also known as part of the Allegheny Radio Network. The trio has also been featured on International Public Radio's Music from the Mountains. BOB THOMAS, from the internationally known string band NO STRINGS ATTACHED, joins the ensemble as bass player. Having opened for such diverse acts as Mary Wilson and the Supremes to Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Thomas comes from the jazz, rock, and bluegrass worlds. Also one of the vocalists in No Strings, he takes his role as 'bassist' to heart, also playing acoustic bass, bass clarinet, and bass saxophone. Drummer TIM PYNE is well known in the Lewisburg area and beyond for his tasteful, refined drumming. He reliably brings to the table a standard of excellence, as well as a splendid sense of humor. He has played regularly for several years at the Greenbrier Hotel and is often called upon for special engagements with various bands, as well as being featured in several productions at the Greenbrier Valley Theatre. Ghost Town Swing's performances have been widespread and include playing for swing dances for the Southwest Virginia Swing Dance Society and the Friends of Old-Time Music and Dance (FOOTMAD). They have played for the Parkersburg Jazz Society, for Huntington's annual Jazz-MU- Tazz festival, and for the Symphony Weekend at Snowshoe, West Virginia. They were part of the musical extravaganza West Virginia 2000: A Celebration of West Virginia Music at Lewisburg's Carnegie Hall, where they have also been featured performers in the Ivy Terrace Concert Series. Ghost Town Swing was also one of the opening bands for Kathy Mattea at the West Virginia Day Celebration on the capital grounds in Charleston. They are regulars at the annual Mountain Music Festival at the Appalachian South Folklife Center near Pipestem, West Virginia. They have been guest performers at several events sponsored by both the Greenbrier Valley Theatre and the Trillium Performing Arts Collective, at the Sunday at Two Concert Series in the Governor Hulett C. Smith Theatre at Tamarack (the Best of West Virginia), as well as having entertained at countless weddings, reunions, jazz tributes, festivals, and private parties. Don DRUMMER is a regular performer at the renowned Greenbrier Resort, and Susanna ROBINSON has appeared as a back-up singer on NPR/IPR's live radio show Mountain Stage, as recently performed as a special guest at the 2003 State Fair of West Virginia's Mountain Stage Show. The group has been featured in articles in such publications as West Virginia Quarterly, Mid-Atlantic Magazine, Graffiti, and several major newspapers. So, although Ghost Town Swing has combined many influences and gone through many transitions over the years, they still present a tasteful, yet flamboyant assortment of music with which the listener will be enchanted. They continue to broaden their musical horizons, continuing to bring to audiences the 'sneaky swing' and provocatively swingy style that has always been their signature sound. They have produces and released one CD, entitled Reveries, which was released in early 2001. Several tracks feature their old friend Al Jeter on tenor saxophone. For bookings or information, contact: Susanna Robinson Rt. 2 Box 246 Lewisburg, WV 24901 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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