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Lanky

By Gary Wien


It may not rank up there with Bob Dylan going electric at the Newport Jazz Festival, but watching Lanky grab hold of a Telecaster with the backing of a full band does make a live set different from his solo shows.

Lanky is a singer-songwriter from New Jersey that has been criss-crossing most of the country during the past few years. He has released two records - the first being a full-length called Inner Onwriter, and his most recent being Last Chance To Make A First Impression, which came out a few months ago. The two records show just how different Lanky's music sounds with and without a band.

Inner Onwriter was recorded in the studio with full instrumentation on every track. Last Chance To Make A First Impression was a live recording of how most of the country was used to seeing Lanky - live on stage with an acoustic guitar. As an artist trying to define himself, it probably didn't help.

"I put out the first record and it's like a full production," said Lanky. "And then I go and tour with just a guitar. So everyone sees me with just a guitar. Then I put out this EP that's stripped down... it's kind of back and forth. I guess sooner or later I've got to present it one way."

The way he's currently presenting it is with the introduction of a band behind him. The first full Lanky with band show took place at the Dewey Beach Festival in October. Right now it's a straight four piece, traditional rock and roll setup with two guitars, bass and drums. In the future, Lanky says he would like to experiment by adding a keyboard or cello to the mix.

"I want to keep it interesting and fun," he said. "I don't want to be just another rock band or a rock band with me up front playing acoustic guitar."

If you've seen Lanky play before, hearing him with a band makes for a much stronger, rock sound. At times, it becomes easier to get a sense of his alternative music influences with the band sound.

"It's a lot more rock," he says. "I mean, I like to rock. I've kind of felt like I've been a wolf in sheep's clothing playing these acoustic gigs because I'm kind of a rocker."

This is the first time he has played in a band in quite a while and things like soundchecks and coordinating schedules take much more time now.

"It's just a big shock considering I used to just throw the guitar in and go," explained Lanky. "I think it's good that I was able to do that for a while because I think I would have shot myself if we had to take four guys around the country."

Sadly, Lanky is one of many New Jersey artists that have a larger fanbase outside of their home state. Maybe going electric will be the answer to building his fanbase. After all, it worked out rather well for Bob Dylan.



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