Interview with Lee O’Nell Blues Gang

Interview with Lee O’Nell Blues Gang

Today, we sit down with Gipsy Bacuet and Lionel Wernert from the Lee O’Nell Blues Gang to talk about writing music, their heroes and much more! Be sure to check out their music on Spotify below after the interview!

Interview:

What is your inspiration to write your music? Is it your surroundings?

Lionel WERNERT: Yes, as the only composer of Lee O’Nell Blues Gang, which is also my project, my surrounding and my whole experience are my inspiration. As a child, I grew up with the Rock legends: Deep Purple, Thin Lizzy, Rainbow, Gary Moore, Led Zeppelin among other… I studied a lot of Blues guitar legends too: Peter Green, Eric Clapton, Albert King and most recently Joe Bonamassa, Eric Gales, Christone Kingfish Ingram etc… I really love vintage sound, with some very low saturation for example, and I like to mix that typical sound with rock riffs, blues phrasing and the jazz way Gipsy, my lead vocalist put in the songs she write.

GIPSY BACUET: I’m also and of course inspired by the life, I love writing about human relations, its ambiguity, its difficulties. Always playing with its extremes in the same song. Tears and joy, anger and happiness, disappointment and hopes…

For example, our first album released in 2020 « Different Shades Of Love » was only based around Love and all its shades.: passion and jealousy, hopes, regrets, doubt etc…

Lionel: And the second one « This is us » released in 2022 was written and composed during the pandemic. We experimented like others artists I guess, a kind of self-analysis. So the songs and the music are more dark than in the first album. And Gipsy wrote about wondering, how life is going on, human relations. Blues is not only when your wife leaves you…

Gipsy: Yes, exactly, in the first album I wrote a song about violences made to women « Never Again ». In the second one « As if it was enough » based on the sad fact, that we all have ideas to change the world around us but as we don’t listen the real nature, we do exactly the opposite, « we want to engrave summer laughs, tears and memories » instead of « listen to the wind blowing to the leaves » …

 

What type of music did you listen to growing up?

Lionel: All kind of music, I don’t like to catalog in a unique style the songs artists can compose. In each one there is something interesting for me. I explored all the aspects of Rock music, and studied the roots of Blues.

Gipsy: I came more from jazz univers than Lionel so when we are making a new song, it’s easy to mix all our influences. I can listen to Sarah Vaughan as well as Bonnie Raitt, even Dolly Parton or Ella

 

Fitzgerald and Etta James or Joanne Shaw Taylor.

 

Is there someone you looked up as a hero?

Lionel: Nobody is a hero, they are influences. Eric Johnson, BB King, Jeff Beck, Peter Green among others… They are all special in their way to approach music and guitar.

Gipsy: She is not a hero but she is the voice that calms me down when I need: Jade MACRAE/ She a fabulous australian singer and also background vocalist to Joe Bonamassa, and we became friends while the pandemic. She accepted to co-write a song on our second album « This is us ». That is just fantastic and such an honor to be read, helped and encouraged by such an artist.

Lionel: Eric Gales for example in « Too close to the fire » succeeded with this song to put everything. The sound, the harmony, BB King, Gary Moore and so many great guitarists could have play on this song.

 

If you weren’t a musician, would you be doing today?

Lionel: It’s been more than 40 years I play guitar. I think it’s just and really the only thing I can do. There is not a single day without playing and practicing.

Gipsy: Maybe a journalist, or a lawyer . I don’t know that was the career I dreamt of as a teenager, but music became more important that school, so…

 

What advice do you have for our fans out there that want to create music?

Lionel: Create music and songs is something pretty easy. Let you imagination do the job. But a good song is more difficult. First because from the moment you expose your work , people will study your universe, and put you in a style or another. You must be very sincere with yourself, and compose something that will make you satisfied and proud.

Gipsy: Writing a song is difficult, because there are so many lyrics you’ve already heard and that you don’t want someone to tell you that you stole the words to another one. As english is not my first language, I must really think in english, so I need to study literature, how a song is done, can I talk about whatever I want ?

But the most difficult is after the song is done. You must, like us, if you don’t have anybody to manage, promote, book or whatever else

 

in the others aspects of a band life, you must put all the caps in your head at the same time, and that is the most difficult. And then when all this is ok, you have to find calm and serenity to go on stage for a concert…

Lionel: My advice: Be yourself, believe in what you can do, and don’t let anybody tell you what you have to do.

Gipsy: My advice: Be sincere, work, try, do it again, and most of all, be patient. The way is long and hard.

Music: