Musical Melting Pot - Nuvo
It’s not easy to quantify Tish Lyndsey’s musical style; I once described her as a Billie Holliday-style torch singer, which is accurate but doesn’t even begin to explain her range.
“I’m not really sure I fit into anything here,” Lyndsey says. “I’m not a jazz artist, I wouldn’t call myself R&B; I’m not sure I’d call it rock.”
A brief look at some of her musical influences bears this out: Lauryn Hill, Stevie Wonder, James Taylor, Faith No More, Steely Dan and Blondie. Oh yes, Blondie. “I just love Debbie Harry; she’s my idol,” Lyndsey says. “I’m all over the place. I love Natalie Maines from the Dixie Chicks as much as I love Stevie Wonder.”
What is certain about Lyndsey is that she’s a full-blown entertainer, not content to do any show where she’s giving it less than her all, whether it’s to a full house or six people. “When I’m performing, I like to do what I like to see,” Lyndsey says. “I want to connect with the audience; I want people to feel what I’m feeling.”
Along with a topnotch backing band — David Hammes on keys, Poncho Hedrick on bass and Jerry Gates on drums — she’ll be bringing this approach to her shows this weekend. An approach, she hopes, will kick-start innovation.
“I’m from Detroit, which is a big, crazy music city,” she says. “Here, I get the feeling you kind of have to dig to find the good stuff, but I have noticed over the last year that people are kind of wanting change and demanding change.”
As musical genres blend together, people’s interests fall into a wider range. Call it the iPod theory of genre deconstruction. “People like a hodgepodge,” Lyndsey says. “So you get [musicians] who are popular because people like a little bit of everything and don’t want to listen to the standard. I think, finally, America is a melting pot. I can’t wait to see where it goes. I’m going to be right there on the train.”
Giving Them Something To Talk About
I'd been hearing about a new singer/songwriter called 'Tish Lyndsey' for the last few months. Unimpressed by the current musical landscape here in town, I have to admit, I went to catch her show with low expectations and a chip on my shoulder. Within one verse, Tish Lyndsey changed all that. Accompanied by only a keyboard player, Lyndsey took the crowd back in time and gave us a glimpse of the future - all in a 45 minute set. She channels old Hollywood with her glamorous stage presence, and her voice wouldn't be out of place in a 40's juke joint. She also has a bohemian type quality that instantly reminded me of a young Stevie Nicks - a wild mane of waves, flowing dress, and bare feet. Her songwriting though is so original, and melodies so unexpected that she could never be considered a 'throwback artist'.
Lyndsey's voice is husky and rich, her phrasing deliberate, methodical. Tish Lyndsey is a tiny, little thing; doesn't stand over 5ft; but when she sings the words, "I'm too much woman for so little man", you do not doubt her. And though her natural sex appeal absolutely pours onto the stage, she has such a genuinely sweet way with the audience that she seems like a new friend; warm and approachable.
I expect great things in the future for this young lady, and I am excited again about the local music scene. I understand now why people have been talking about this Tish Lyndsey. I haven't stopped since Friday night.
The band brings a remarkable richness and depth to her already considerable abilities. Her songwriting has mined deeper veins of inner intimacy, similar to the 1970s singer/poets who were first beginning to learn how to drive rock rhythms and add explosive energy to their messages. Trotta’s neither an angry young woman nor a world-weary sage, but she displays the cautious optimism of one who expects the world out there to grow to be better than it is but who knows it’s just as likely to let her down. Her lyrics virtually dare you not to be one of the ones who mess things up.
Steven Cooley followed in a bit of a twist on Trotta’s set. He normally plays with a band but illness relegated it to just him and his keyboard. Cooley’s keyboard skills stem from 1970s “Bennie-and-the-Jets” Elton — equal parts fluid and pounding, while his voice is that of the bar crooner, the wet grind of smoke and cigarettes. His songs displayed a raw, primal sound, speaking of harsh experiences both past and yet to come — early Billy Joel by way of Joe Cocker.
Tish Lyndsey closed out the night with a set drawn from the glory days of R&B — a smoky, sultry set of torch songs worthy of Billie Holliday. Though the hour was late and the crowd thinning, Lyndsey delivered every song like a full-on showstopper. It was the first I’ve heard of her, but not, I expect, the last.
Q&A with Tish
Quick Q&A with Detroit-based songwriter Tish Lyndsey
Tish is your real name, right? Got any fun nicknames?
A variation of my real name. My friends call me Tia though.
Best childhood memory, T?
Singing at my first school talent show in 6th grade.
Who’s your favorite band?
That’s tough. Probably Fleetwood Mac. I think of them as my fairy godparents. Def Leppard for life, but, I do have a special place in my heart for The Doors.
Got any Hollywood crushes?
Many, and none of them make sense. Michael Keaton, Lenny Kravitz, Shia Lebeauf, Darth Vadar (Hayden Christiansen), Blair Underwood, Lindsey Buckingham, Marc Anthony, Daryl McCormack, Henry Golding, Antonio Banderas, and Kendrick Lamar.
Who would you most like to meet?
Living – Lindsey Buckingham
Dead (maybe) – Jim Morrison . Or, Billie Holiday. I have a TON of questions to ask her.
It’s between us girls.
Quick – who’d win in a street fight? Batman or Spider-Man?
If Michael Keaton was in the Batman suit, DEFINITELY Batty.
Toss up. Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Sparkle.
Favorite curse word?
I don’t cuss.
So what do you say when you’re mad?
Some goofball variation on a swear word. What the fudge.
You’re a pretty sweet girl, what’s the naughtiest thing you’ve ever done?
Here’s a pretty bad one, my best friend and I use to make ‘chocolate shakes’ for our little brothers. The secret ingredients though were dirt and other disgusting things we’d find outside.
That’s really naughty? They’d drink them?!
Oh yeah, fell for it every time.
Got any hidden talents, besides evil drink maker?
I have a crazy memory for useless pop culture facts. Oh, and I can wiggle my nose.
You’re stranded on an island, what two items would you bring?
Pen and paper. And my bible. Ok, that's three. Skip the paper.