Gill Landry, also known by the stage name of Frank Lemon, is a singer/songwriter and guitarist born in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and a former member of Old Crow Medicine Show. A founding member of The Kitchen Syncopators, he currently opens for a number ...
Gill Landry, also known by the stage name of Frank Lemon, is a singer/songwriter and guitarist born in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and a former member of Old Crow Medicine Show. A founding member of The Kitchen Syncopators, he currently opens for a number of acts. In March of 2015 he released his third album as a solo artist.
He got his first guitar when he was 5. Landry started The Kitchen Syncopators with his friend Woody Pines in 1998 spending many years busking the streets of New Orleans, the Northwest, and Europe. As he tells the story:
"The Kitchen Syncopators came out of a Vaudeville show that Me, Felix Hatfield, Woody Pines, and Huck Notari were doing called The Songsters. It was a Bread and Puppet--inspired cardboard theater which featured a lot of early American music we were picking up off of our friend Baby Gramps. We'd been starving in shacks in Eugene, Oregon, when me and Woody went to the Oregon Country Fair one day to try busking. I think we made $300 bucks that day, which to us was a fortune at the time."
Old Crow Medicine Show:
The Kitchen Syncopators recorded several self-released albums and disbanded in 2004 when Gill began to lend vocals and play banjo and steel guitar for Old Crow Medicine Show. When Old Crow co-founder Chris "Critter" Fuqua "went on hiatus" from the group in 2007 to pursue "recovery from a longtime alcohol addiction", the group looked for a suitable replacement, finding it in Gill Landry, whom they'd first encountered in New Orleans in 2000, where they were "both busking over Mardi Gras." As Landry tells the story:
Our mutual friend, Sam Parton, suggested I give Ketch a call. So, I did, and he...asked me how my clawhammer and dobro playing was, and I said it was rusty but good. I didn't even own a banjo at the time and hadn't heard of clawhammer before. I was a guitar player."
Recovering quickly, he "went to a place called The Folkstore in Seattle, and bought a Goodtime banjo." He got a five-minute lesson from the store owner, then "practiced it for two weeks before I went to meet the boys. I played it on the Opry and at Doc Watson days. I must have just been god awful (sic)." Something must have worked, because "they kept calling me back.
Regarding his third solo album, released March 2015, he says: "This album, though holding to a few similar influences as Old Crow, is very much a departure as it is more of a personal journey, musically and lyrically."
He left Old Crow Medicine Show following the release of this record.
In 2007, Landry released a solo album titled The Ballad of Lawless Soirez on Nettwerk Records. "Coal Black Heaven" from this album was hailed by one reviewer as "something of a hobo haiku to the national collapse and depression looming over every hollowed-out and rusted-through US river town."
In October 2011, he self-released his second solo album titled Piety & Desire -- featuring the Felice Brothers, Brandi Carlile, Jolie Holland, Ketch Secor, and Samantha Parton (of the Be Good Tanyas) -- where he "creates a whole film and stereo hi-fi noir milieu" by realizing "a dozen rootsy, ambient and mostly catchy hardscrabble southwestern tinged originals."
"Recorded in a south Nashville apartment and produced by Landry himself, the album pitches its tent in the four-way intersection between Dylan-inspired folk-rock, atmospheric Americana, dusty cowboy songs and street busker ballads."
His third, self-titled album was released by ATO Records on 3 March 2015. Landry says of his collection of songs:
The characters in the songs -- some living, some dead -- are all pulled from my life. Some are very specific, and others relate to the wide range of both good and bad hearts I've had the pleasure of meeting over the years. I tried to write from a perspective in which there was no blame. These songs are searchers looking for some semblance of truth in a shifting and messy landscape.
Festivals and tours:
Landry shares stage at Americana Music Festival in September 2015 with acts such as Loretta Lynn, Steve Earle, Pokey Lafarge, and Gillian Welch and opens for Warren Haynes and The Wood Brothers on tour in Fall of 2015.
Landry appeared at the end of Be Good Tanyas video "The Littlest Birds".