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Press Nancy & The Nightcrawlers
The Premier Live Blues Band in Los Angeles and surrounding areas.
Interview with Nancy Nisi and Armando "Big Daddy" Fernandez of
Nancy & The Nightcrawlers December 2010
Nancy Nisi and Armando "Big Daddy" Fernandez
A sit-down blues-summit with with Nancy Nisi and Armando "Big Daddy" Fernandez.
Long Beach Blues Festival 2010
Let's start with musical influences...
Nancy Nisi: My mother, Jean Nisi, Billie Holiday, Etta James, Diane Shuur, Joni Mitchell, Diane Reeves... Johnny Winter, John Lee Hooker, BB King, Santana, Albert King, Stevie Ray Vaughn, The Black Crowes & Sting.
Armando "Big Daddy" Fernandez: All the Blues, Jazz, Pop, Rock, Folk, Classical, and in general, music cats like Paul Kyler, who's my mentor. All the experiences outside of music I've had have also influenced me.
How would you describe your music to people?
Nancy: We are an upbeat, rockin' blues band.
How did the band come together?
Armando: Nancy and I started performing together, I believe, around about 1998 or 1999.
Nancy: At first Big Daddy and I were in a band together that dis-banded.... I grabbed him and ran!
How do you pick the music for your show?
Nancy: Big Daddy is the main "Music Director", and he picked out the core of our song list...but we collaborate on adding new songs that fit our style.
Armando: We've picked songs that we first, enjoy playing, second, that we feel it inside of us, and third so that our audience will enjoy dancing or listening to.
Why the blues?
Nancy: I grew up in a musical family, and my mother introduced us to Broadway Music Albums first, - I could sing the entire score of "The Sound of Music" before I could talk, then rock & roll...
Armando: Well for me, I've felt the music since I was at a young age before I new the music was called "The Blues." I've always been drawn to its sound, its feel and raw quality of the music.
Nancy: I heard Billie Holiday at 16 years old, and it touched my soul deeper than anything I had ever heard, sang "Good Morning Heartache" at a high school talent show, and got a standing ovation..., been singing the blues ever since then...
Here's a hard one - favorite blues record?
Nancy: Lately it's been "Albert King with Stevie Ray Vaughn - In Session" It blends the brilliance of their guitar playing with the smooth voice and delivery of Albert King. I also like the banter between Albert and Stevie, it's like you are sitting in the room with them.
Armando: That is a hard one. There's so many. But if I had to choose one it would probably be "The Paul Butterfield Blues Band" self titled album with Mike Bloomfield and Elvin Bishop on guitars. If I could pick a second it would be "Hollywood Fats Band." I've picked out so many guitar licks and grooves from these two records. And they're so good just to listen to. I also can put in "A Man & The Blues" by Buddy Guy. Not just because of Buddy, but listen to rhythm guitarist Wayne Bennett on there and you'll see where I've picked up a lot of my chordal rhythm chops.
In 2011, is the blues still relevant?
Armando: Even though I listen to a lot of different music, the Blues has and will always be relevant no matter what is popular out there. It's music that takes you to a different state of living. As I quote Willie Dixon, "Blues is the true facts of life."
Nancy: It all starts with the blues.
Nancy, you are obviously a very dynamic singer, how do you keep your voice, your music, so uniquely yours given the wide range of music you work with?
Nancy: Thanks, I try to put my signature on every song I sing, and try to communicate them to the audience with voice and movement and hope they can feel it as much as I do.
What was the last blues concert you went to?
Nancy: Well, that would be the one we just played! "The Long Beach Blues Festival" It was an honor to play it, and even more of a thrill to see the headliners, Arthur Adams and Keb Mo.
Armando: Yeah, that was a great gig. The last blues show I went to see was Etta James a few years ago. My wife and I were invited to see her at Hollywood Bowl. I've always enjoyed her voice and personality that she puts to her music. And it was a beautiful night for the Blues.
Do you do anything to prepare for a gig?
Nancy: I do scales in my car or play some classic blues or Black Crowes and sing along in the car on the way to the gig.
Armando: For me, first, I go over the tunes from recordings I have just to see if there something new I can get out of the recordings. It could be a lick, a certain groove or feel that I've either overlooked or forgotten in the past. Even though I put my own twist or touch on these songs, I can still re-listen to songs and still pick out something I didn't notice before.
What can people expect from a Nancy & The Nightcrawlers show?
Nancy: Upbeat blues, fantastic guitar playing from Big Daddy, and thumpin' rhythm section... And me belting it out.... a tight band with a great sound! You can dance, or just sit back and take it ALL in!
Armando: A fun good time show. You can dance or just listen to our music. Watch us, and listen to us put a smile on your face.
And lastly, what's next for Nancy & The Nightcrawlers?
Nancy: We are working on an album...
Armando: So that people can say, "oh, that's a song written and performed by Nancy & The Nightcrawlers".
Nancy: ...and working on booking a lot more dates for 2011. So come out and see us!
Nancy & The Nightcrawlers are bringing their brand of Blues, Rock and R&B to your area!
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