Spoleto 2013 » Jazz, Blues, & Roots

Q & A: Lyndsey Goodman Moynihan

Flying High

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Lyndsey Goodman Moynihan wears many hats: She's a sexy jazz singer, a pilot, and soon enough, she'll be a mama, too. We checked in with her to talk about songwriting, her bandmates, and American Idol.

City Paper: First, let's play catch-up. What's new in your life? Are you still flying?

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LGM: Well the newest thing in my life is that we will be welcoming baby Moynihan to our little family this fall and "Uncle Joe" Wilson and "Uncle Jamie" Harris from the band will have to start teaching the little one the musical ropes. I am still flying in the Air Force Reserve and the airlines and loving all of it.

CP: Do your fellow pilots know that you sing? And are your music fans surprised to learn you're a pilot?

LGM: They do, and there will be a bunch in attendance for the show. They've been so supportive. We have some very talented musicians in the flying squadrons here. The people who come out to enjoy our music are sometimes surprised at what I do when I'm not singing, but mostly, it's just exciting to meet local folks who love the jazz that we do and who are also so supportive of our servicemen and women here in Charleston.

CP: What are some of your favorite things to sing recently? Has your style changed over the last few years?

LGM: Recently, I've really enjoyed taking some non-jazz tunes and making them our own, making them funky or swinging them. It's really broadened our repertoire to pull in some of my favorite tunes from the '70s, '80s, even Motown, and change their structure just enough to have the audience thinking, 'Hmm, I really like this song, wonder what it is. Well it sounds familiar, but it's jazz. Oh, I know this song!' It makes it a lot of fun. Our style is still rooted in jazz and the standards that we do are still our favorites.

CP: Do you write any of your own songs? If so, what's your writing process like?

LGM: I have been writing lyrics since I was 12 years old and I have numerous composition books full of them. Five or six of them I have put music to. My writing is eclectic. I have to find the right melody to make the words dance. That becomes difficult sometimes because the words have a life of their own. A lot of times that means the song may not be jazz at all. For example, I wrote one of my tunes about flying our troops home from overseas. The pride, strength, and patriotism of the lyrics gave the song a character that could only have been matched by a country music feel. I've never performed country music, but I love it. So a lot of my tunes I picture other individuals making them their own which can be incredibly fun and rewarding.

CP: Do you perform with a band usually?

LGM: My band evolves based on the needs of the venues and the performances. At its core are two amazing fellas, Joe Wilson on guitar and Jamie Harris on bass. Joe Wilson is Charleston born and bred and is a Navy vet. He owns Joe Wilson Guitar Workshop on Coleman Boulevard in Mt. Pleasant, and as much as I see him just as "Joe," when he starts playing, it's pure magic. Bassist Jamie Harris, originally from Wilmington, Del., and I met during a charity event many years ago and have been playing together ever since. He keeps me on my toes, and when he starts getting funky, it's a treat!

In addition to these gentlemen I also have had the honor to play recently with some of the best musicians I've ever come across, like guitarist Lee Barbour, pianist Richard White Jr., pianist Tommy Gill, and bassist Jeremy Wolf.

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