Truly innovative country acts are a rarity, and those that emerge from the generally traditional ranks of Nashville's Lower Broadway are rarer still.
That, however, is part of what makes Jypsi such a phenomenal story. Lower Broad may be known for its seemingly endless supply of talented and innovative players, but it had never seen anything quite like them. Musically, both sparkling three-part harmonies and jaw-dropping four-way lead breaks mark this wellspring of talent and energy, and when it comes to image, it's safe to say country fashion will never be the same.
Though they are Nashville-based and country at their core, the members of Jypsi are versatile enough to draw on a broad spectrum of musical influences, from Bill Monroe to Django Reinhardt, and to be invited to the stone country Stagecoach Festival in the California desert and to the more broadly based Bonnaroo in rural Tennessee and South by Southwest in Austin.
Comprised of four siblings with a literal lifetime of playing behind them, Jypsi quickly established themselves as the freshest splash of color ever to hit Lower Broad's Honky-Tonk Row. They had come originally from upstate Illinois, and their family band had toured extensively, with stops in Branson and the Carolinas along the way. Once they hit Nashville, they used their six-day-a-week, four-hour-a-day stint at Layla's Bluegrass Inn to refine their sound, thrill out-of-towners and build a local following until, with their lead singer still in her mid-teens, they won the Arista Nashville deal that is now taking their innovative sound to the rest of the country.
From youngest to oldest they are:
Lillie Mae, 16, possessed of talent far beyond her years. She is recognized as a vocalist of great power and subtlety, capable of roof-raising joy and heart-rending emotion. Lillie Mae is also an exquisitely expressive fiddle player, with a bluesy, note-bending style as versatile as it is captivating.
Frank, 20, recognized as a flat-top virtuoso when the guitar was still bigger than he was. The musical anchor of the band, Frank is essentially its unspoken conductor, bringing to the proceedings an impeccable rhythmic sense, then launching into fiery, lightning-fast solo work.
Scarlett, 24, combining stellar musicianship, featuring an expressive mandolin style that offers just the right flourishes on everything from bluegrass to the Beatles, with a striking visual presence that reflects a lifelong interest in fashion and a model's sense of flair and sophistication.
Amber-Dawn, 26, a fountain of energy who is often the band's on-stage announcer, spark-plug and cheerleader. An accomplished fiddler deeply rooted in the traditional yet capable of a range of styles, she is, like both her sisters, a rare combination of strikingly talented and visually arresting.
Together, they form one of the most exciting and unique pools of talent and energy ever to emerge in the country ranks. Truly a combination of sight and sound that must be seen to be fully appreciated, Jypsi is making a splash online, with web site, MySpace and YouTube presence, and on club and festival stages around the country, making the kind of jaw-dropping music that is taking the music world by storm, one audience at a time.