The Lee O’Nell Blues Gang of the Vosges region of France will be joining us today to discuss their latest musical project and possibly the secret to writing great songs.
Guitarist Lionel Wernert and vocalist Gipsy Bacuet have been collaborating on forming a blues band since 2012. All of the pieces of the puzzle came together for the band in 2019. Keep reading to find out more about the band. Please welcome Lionel and Gipsy to the blog!
Who is answering the questions?
Lionel Wernert, leader, guitarist and composer , and Gipsy Bacuet, singer and song writer.
Lee O’Nell Blues Gang
Tell us about your latest project:
Lionel Wernert: Well, our latest project is our second self-produced album ,This is us, released in September 2022. Lee O’Nell Blues Gang is the group I decided to form in 2019 with the best musicians in my area, all coming from different universes such as Rock, Blues, Classical piano, and jazz. As I’m a self-taught child of rock who grew up with the 70’s rock legends like Deep Purple, Rainbow, and Thin Lizzy among others, and because I love and studied all the great blues guitarists like Eric Clapton, Albert King, Peter Green, Eric Gales, Christone Kingfish Ingram or Joe Bonamassa, to only cite a few… I really enjoy mixing vintage and modernity to create a kind of Contemporary Blues Rock universe.
I had the chance to finally find the female voice I needed who add a touch of jazzy sound too… Now I can express myself in my own style.
Gipsy Bacuet: This is us is a 14 original songs, all composed by Lionel Wernert. I wrote the lyrics with a little help from close friends such as Neal Black, a Texan who’s been living in France since the 90’s. He’s a famous guitarist, composer, and songwriter too. Alain Leadfoot Rivet, another french songwriter, singer, composer… a true poet ! And our friend, Jade Macrae, a fabulous Australian singer and also background vocalist for Joe Bonamassa… We are very happy to be helped by such artists in our project.
Through these 14 songs, you will discover Lionel’s universe and maybe recognize plenty of different artists’ universes too.
Where was your first concert as a fan? As a performer?
Lionel: I will answer for the period since Lee O’Nell Blues Gang was born. As fans, Gipsy and I went to listen to Joe Bonamassa each time he comes to France, mostly in Paris with always the same pleasure and the insurance to be kicked ass every evening!
And as performers, the first concert of Lee O’Nell Blues Gang was in 2020, we had the chance and the honor to open for my old friend, my brother of heart Fred CHAPELLIER who is considered here as the N°1 of the French Blues. He also co-produced our albums and has always had very good tips for me.
Gipsy: He said it all! We are working together, we are living together, and sharing the same musical tastes.
What is the secret to writing good music?
Lionel: To compose good music and great songs, you need to work, practice, try, work gain, practice etc…. until you will be really proud of what you’ve done. I only stop working on a song when I’ve explored all that could be explored and tried. Always looking for the right note, the one that cannot be ruled out, but also the one you don’t think about before you try it… You know what I mean?
Gipsy: For me, it’s different cause I’m never satisfied with my work. So I must let Lionel guide me without control, only believe him, and stop drowning myself in my doubts. I think it needs good lyrics with sense, not only, ” Hey baby, why did you leave me alone, now I got the blues… “
No, I mean really interesting sense, a good riff, a nice melody, a big great guitar solo, some groove, and… Well ask Lionel to make you a song, or listen to our albums! But that is not the secret to writing good music, that is just my feeling about the songs I got the chance to sing…
Do you have a bucketlist? If so, what’s on it?
Lionel: Share the stage for a gig, a jam, or whatever else with Joe Bonamassa or Eric Gales, or both at the same time! Even if Joe could listen, only listen to my music and tell me what he thinks about it would be fantastic.
Gipsy: To be in the background vocals with Jade MACRAE, Daniele DeAndrea, and Mahalia Barnes behind Joe for a night!
Lionel: Going to Memphis, to Chicago, a road trip through the USA…
Gipsy: Singing in London!
Lionel: Are you sure you want the whole bucket list?? haha!
What was the last thing that you read?
Lionel: Our latest Q/A on a webzine!
Gipsy: The very small lines on the last engagement we signed for the next concert!
What are you listening to at the moment?
Lionel: « Crown » the latest album of Eric Gales, « Blues without you » the latest Larry McCray album, and Joe Bonamassa, and « Straight to the point » the latest album of Fred CHAPELLIER. Gipsy: Handle me with care, the latest album of Jade MACRAE, some Bonnie Raitt, Billie Holiday
If you weren’t a musician, what would you be doing?
Lionel: I don’t know if I could do anything else with as much passion as music.
Gipsy: Haha! Easy to answer, the guys always joke with me about that, you know the eternal fight between singers and musicians: are singers musicians too?? I’m not a musician they say, so I’m not concerned!
Who would you like to collaborate with in the future?
Lionel: You can refer to my bucket list! Haha! plus Mick Taylor, Larry McCray, Eric Clapton…
Gipsy: Bucketlist too and Bonnie Raitt, Joanne Shaw Taylor…
What do you want people to know about your music?
Lionel: I just want them to take as much pleasure when listening to our albums as we had when we recorded them.
If they can recognize themselves in our music, it will be ok. I’d like my music to move them.
Gipsy: Lee O’Nell Blues Gang: less than 4 years of existence, 2 self-produced albums, 24 original tracks… follow us, share, like, and subscribe to all that you want here:
Lionel: Thank you all for reading about us… Hope you’ll enjoy Lee O’Nell Blues Gang.
Ok don’t be weirded out my question lol, there’s a rationale for it. Are these artists a “couple?” I ask because 1. the bio mentions the word “companion” but I’m trying not to assume and 2. I recently just wrote an article that prompted me to make a playlist of artists/projects that are comprised of “power couples” and I’d love to add them to the playlist if it’s the case 🙂 https://open.spotify.com/playlist/5mOCnPqTl7utf2GRuiEGBw?si=48cbe89d19384f75
I am 99 % sure that they are a couple. That’s a great idea! 🙂