Mix up some gimlets and light up an unfiltered Lucky Strike, ‘cause it’s time for the all-out vintage sounds of Amy Lynn and the Gunshow.
Entirely eschewing modern influences in favor of honoring the Motown and gospel greats that came before her, Amy Lynn Zanetto and her nine-piece-and-sometimes-more band create music for another era, but do it with panache and expertise.
Chock-full of the sort of music Diana Ross perfected and many, many others have imitated, the group’s self-titled, four-song EP is an unexpected hit of ‘60s sass, the perfect mix of gunpowder and girlishness to at once honor Ross and one-up her.
From the time the first saxophone bleats to the moment the last cymbal chimes, Zanetto’s powerhouse voice – a clichéd way to express it, sure, but completely apropos here, as this gal is sure to empower anybody who comes within 10 feet of a stereo blasting her tunes – takes over. Her gospel is good, her soul stylings great, a take on the classics far and away better than those of the schlubs on American Idol (and thankfully, there’s no “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” here).
What is here is a tiny glimpse at the wealth of talent Zanetto and her band have. Whether channeling Ross in “Missing You” or trading her Supremes-like backup singers for a solo escapade à la Ella Fitzgerald in the fabulous and sexy “Comfort,” those pipes mixed with the expert composition courtesy of writing partner make four songs just not sufficient.
Zanetto’s singing chops – she’s performed with the USO Troupe, made like Rizzo in the musical version of Grease, and entertained thousands of badly dressed tourists in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular – bode well for the success of a full-length album.
Listening to Zanetto, backed by her shot-through-the-heart-and-lived-through-it good Gunshow, it’s impossible not to smile, or at least look at things through rosy-tinged glasses. It might be unclear whether she’s singing dazedly to a boyfriend or to another long-haired dude (you know, Jesus), but it’s obvious that every word is sung with a smile.
It’s easy to overlook what’s behind the peppy words and gorgeous voice, but don’t. Led by arranger and co-writer Alex Hamlin, who also takes a place behind the sax, the nine members of the Gunshow include another sax, a trumpet, drums, and keyboards, plus the three “black-up” singers. Though it’s a big number, especially when even more session players join in, they’re all indispensable to the sound of this disc.
Like Cherry Poppin’ Daddies and the Brian Setzer Orchestra before them, Amy Lynn & the Gunshow worship the days of Mad Men and all the glamour they entailed. She might not keep up on the Kardashians or give a damn what “Speidi” is, but Zanetto’s got the musical sophistication to leave all that in the dust, anyway.