Dig Baton Rouge

No Musical Gamble

By Ty Simmons

At the core of new-and-upcoming group Lucy and the Gamblers is a lovely musical couple. Lucy Foval and her husband John have been married for four years, and they’ve been a band for one and a half.

John has always had a musical aptitude, and Lucy has always had a lovely voice. When they began to notice what could be, they started to develop musically; Lucy started to take some voice lessons, and John began to recruit for a new musical project. They collected four additional musicians, recorded a demo, and Lucy and the Gamblers was born.

Lucy and the Gamblers
Chelsea’s Café
April 18, 10:30PM

Since the beginning, the band has been a family affair. Matthew Foval, John’s brother, plays saxophone, and Ryan Harris, lead guitarist, has strong family ties. When telling me about their history, Lucy recalled that early shows were sometimes halfway-packed with close relatives.

Despite all this, however, the focus of the band is clearly and singularly focused on the titular Lucy. In the vein of old school swing bands, she rocks center-stage and her band supports.

The image of the band, often disregarded in today’s music culture, is paramount to Lucy and her supporting cast. She spends hours before each show getting makeup and hair done, and John tells me that the Gamblers try to look “as dapper as possible,” rocking the stage in suits and shades, dressed to the nines.

In this spirit, Lucy tells me that she and John try to keep the band’s roster fluid. The Gamblers are just that – gamblers. They don’t stick around. The current roster, however, features Darnell Walton on trombone and Josh Spahn on drums, in addition to Harris on lead guitar, Matthew Foval on saxophone, John Foval on bass and Lucy Foval singing lead vocals.

In a growing and malleable music scene, without a clear distinct taste or flavor, Lucy and the Gamblers are excited to bring their old-school funk to Baton Rouge. Lucy’s showmanship and stage presence is energetic and deft, and the musicianship of the Gamblers is steady, supporting, jazzy, and talented.

Despite being primarily original-oriented, the band has a penchant for covers; they enjoy interpreting popular songs in their own musical style. They actually started out as a cover band before their original compositions took precedence.

As growing band, Lucy and the Gamblers are still finding their creative and musical limits, figuring out what they can and can’t do. However, there’s one thing they know they do well: making people happy.

That’s their main focus in any given show.

It’s the secret behind Lucy’s large stage presence and the quirky image of the band. It’s the reason they’ll be covering a specific Pharrell song this Friday.

On April 18, Lucy and the Gamblers will be bringing their unique image, fondness for joy, family affinity, and funk-based big band sound to Chelsea’s, and there’s no band in Baton Rouge’s young scene quite like them. They will be followed by the classic New Orleans blues/swing band Mississippi Rail Company.

 

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