Archived Headlines

To Form a More Perfect Union in Blues

“Diana Rein and the Papermoon Gypsys brought a rollicking show to the Blue Beet. Diana’s bluesy voice and Kenny ‘Big Daddy’ Williams’ blistering lead guitar on their version of Jimi Hendrix’ classic “Stone Free” showed why they’re one of the hottest new groups on the scene today. Rein’s guitar propels the music with a rocking sound, the interplay of her guitar carrying both rhythm and some excellent solo work. All told, Diana Rein and the Papermoon Gypsys provide a hard driving blues sound that’s hard to beat” – Ed Simon, LOS ANGELES BEAT

Rate this:

Diana Rein and Kenny “Big Daddy” Williams join together to form Diana Rein & Papermoon Gypsys ,a band to make America Great Again, For The Lovers of Rocking Blues and Awesome Music.

 

Interview By Joseph Timmons – IndiePulse Music Magazine

SoCal’s coolest new blues-rock ensemble is Diana Rein & Papermoon Gypsys, whom recently  performed at the Temecula Valley Music Awards Showcase, was more than just a major event featuring Diana Rein, an artist nominated for the Blues Award at the 2016 Temecula Valley Music Awards, it was also a moment that sealed the union of both Diana Rein and Kenny “Big Daddy” Williams as the next evolutionary step in the biggest force in music to bring emotionally charged and spiritually vibrant music back to the stages of California and soon the rest of the world.

The new group is co-led by vocalists-guitarists, Diana Rein and Kenny “Big Daddy” Williams, along with a brand-new, very accomplished rhythm section featuring bassist Baba Elefante (Ron Kobayashi; also voted top bass player in Bass Magazine), and drummer, Ray Weston (Wishbone Ash, Iron Butterfly, Bjorn).

Rein, also known as the “Six-String Siren,” has just released a new album, Long Road (Rude Mood Records). “Rein proves herself multi-talented by not only writing, recording, and producing Long Road, she also sings and plays lead, bass, and rhythm guitars, “ writes National Blues Review. On Long Road, Rein – a big Stevie Ray Vaughan fan who moved to Southern California from a hotbed of the Blues, Chicago – displays a sharp tongue, driving blues-based guitar, and melodic solos.

Conversely, Williams is a longtime SoCal musician who, in addition to Papermoon Gypsys, also fronts OC-based blues-rock trio, Bluespower. “Big Daddy,” as Williams is commonly called, is also co-owner of Kenny’s Music in Dana Point in addition to the Host of the weekly “Laguna Blues” radio show every Friday night on KX93.5 FM. “Big Daddy is one of those guitarists whose showmanship comes naturally,” writes Ed Simon of the Los Angeles Beat.

IndiePulse Music Magazine has been a fast fan of Diana Rein and have enjoyed following her progress in the California Music Scene as well as her alums success, it is no surprise that when we learned she and Kenny “Big Daddy” Williams were working together, we had to get the exclusive Q&A interview and bring their story to you. We had asked questions of both music masters and found that their warm and humble hearts shine just as bright in private as they do on stage.

IPM: We are aware of your wonderful beginnings and how you attribute it to you Father and your families love of music, but for you, what has been the driving force in y our creative process that makes every song you have written a personal life story that is both insightful and personally inspiring?

Diana: My biggest driving force is creation and feeling the need to use my musical gifts in a positive way instead of squandering them. And after having my son in 2012, it magnified my desire to stand for something and have my own identity and purpose in life that was separate from being a Mom. I wanted to be an example to my son that if you really work hard for something that you are passionate about, you can make it happen. I don’t drink, I don’t do drugs, so my escape comes through music. When I feel the need to purge and life is getting too overwhelming and intense…you gotta have something to turn to. So I either turn to my guitar and just practice & play, or I create a piece of music. And in writing, I want to be as honest as possible and get those demons out so they don’t hang out in m y soul and fester.

IMP: Between your very first performance and now, how would you say you have grown, as both a musician and an artist? On another note, do you s till get “Butterflies” when you get ready to get on stage?

Diana: I remember back in Chicago, I was playing mostly acoustic guitar and I would attempt to do a little solo here and there and I would get so nervous that my hands would just sweat profusely and I would either chicken out or fumble my way through. But nowadays, the sweaty hands are gone and I can deliver what I set out to do and I also welcome surprises now and just going for it. I definitely still get Butterflies but they usually happen the most when I have to setup my equipment quickly before I play if it’s a multi­band show. I get nervous about the setup and hoping it all works alright but when that’s all said and done and it’s time to play, I get excited that I can finally have fun…. I am not too keen on the technical stuff. I just want to play and sing.

IPM: Your recent album is really a wonderful collection of stories set to music, what was it like to create it? And was there a moment in any of the songs where you wondered if your audience would see the point or capture the meaning of your song?

Diana: I always hope that I am not being too vague with my lyrics because I want people to connect. But I also don’t want to be too obvious either because I want people to make it their own and create their own emotional connection to the songs. I feel like my lyrical writing, since my first album, really went to a more poetic place. All I can do is write from my subconscious and my heart and really hope that it resonates with someone else. Music and art is so subjective so it’s a good day when someone lets me know h ow much they enjoy my music and how it moves them in some way. The one song that I   might be most sensitive about people misunderstanding would be Wicked. It’s about that evil s ide that we all have and how it pops up once in a while and the shame that may come from that. But it’s a   part of life and life isn’t all amazing all of the time. 

IPM: Real talent is a gift, and you are very gifted, not only in talent, but in Beauty, do you ever have any memories where you were expected to be more “Eye Candy” than a true artist, and if so, what were the response you got when people saw that you really do have what it takes to be the artists that you are? I ask this because so many great female artists are expected to be all looks and no talent by most industry critics and get a very “raw deal” in the music industry.

Diana: Being “eye candy” was way more of an issue with me when I was in the acting world. I feel like music and playing guitar has saved me from that predicament because in acting, there really isn’t a way to measure talent. And many people book jobs solely based on their looks in the acting world. But with music I get to prove myself with something concrete, something tangible, something that I can pick up every day and work hard at. I am not ashamed to say that having some appeal has opened some doors for me and I a m okay with it because I know in my heart that it’s not where it ends for me. I   constantly work at getting better and improving and I have inspired others to do the same. That is my contribution in life. And it’s always great to hear a critic say how surprised they were with the content of my music and the way my voice made them feel regardless of how I look. I suppose that’s why they call me the “Six String Siren” …..Sirens might be beautiful creatures but they ultimately have the gift to lull humans with their soothing voices, or soothing guitar tones in my case!!

IPM: If you could play a stage with 2 of your inspirations, living or not, who would they be and why, and what songs would you like to do with them?

Diana: I am going to pick two living musicians. They would have to be Bonnie Raitt and Philip Sayce. I have enjoyed Bonnie’s music since I was very little and she’s a   tough cookie. I would love to sit down with her and talk shop but then get onstage and get a masterclass and f eel her energy up close. Philip Sayce I have seen play live many times and right at the front of the stage. I love his guitar tone and his style. I could learn a lot from him and I have by studying his p laying and his music. But it would be awesome to collaborate. The song I would like to play with Bonnie would be “Love Me Like A M an” and get bluesy with her. With Philip Sayce I would love to play an instrumental with him like his song “Alchemy” or my song “Peace” and also get bluesy with him and play “As the Years Go Passing By”.

IPM: You recently, in addition to your solo work, have formed Diana Rein and The Papermoon Gypsys; with Kenny “Big Daddy” Williams, please tell us about this new musical endeavor.

Diana: Diana Rein & Papermoon Gypsys is a merger project with me and Kenny “Big Daddy” Williams. I was looking for an outlet to perform with a band and he was looking for a lead singer in order to resurrect Papermoon Gypsys. So it was just the right timing for both of us and the w ay we are presenting our music is we do some of my songs, some Papermoon Gypsy songs as w ell as bring in traditional blues covers done our way to let people know that we are respectful of our musical lineage. We are unique in that both Kenny and I play lead guitar in the band so we both share solos and just have a great time p laying our hearts out onstage.

IPM: How is the chemistry between you and the other performers?

Diana: Seeing as we pretty much just got together it’s been great! Kenny and I are really the united front and we have very similar musical influences and visions of how we see the band evolving. We are also realistic enough to know that it takes time to build a well-oiled machine, so we just keep making adjustments and perfecting it all. That will probably be our key to success because we are not complacent and we are super honest with each other and respectful of one another which allows f or great communication. And as we are doing this interview, it is the eve before I will g et to meet our new rhythm              section. Baba Elefante on Bass and Ray Weston on drums. They are high caliber musicians that I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to play with and they will be finishing out our 2016 season with us which is very exciting.

IPM: What is it like to merge together to create one phenomenal stage presence.

Diana: Merging together has allowed for great things to happen quickly and f or us to be undeniable on stage. We have each other’s backs. We create one piece of music but I really dig how even though we are quite different in our approach and guitar tones, we are able to mold it to a rocking’ cohesive piece of music. Kenny and I both have our own unique offerings for Blues guitar lovers and I love that about us. We play differently but what I look forward to, as we continue, is how Kenny helps me come out of my shell and be more brazen with my playing, take more chances. The Blues is all about passing down the tradition and Kenny has been gracious enough to be that open book for me and set me on the path. Before playing with Kenny I used to always worry about specifics and I was nervous about putting myself out there. But with Kenny, there’s no time to think. You just get up and do it and magically land on the other side without a scratch. It’s been a huge learning lesson for me. 

IPM: How is the growing experience, do you think alike on the creation of new songs?

Diana: As of just a few days ago, Kenny played a new song for me that he was working on and I really dug it and got excited to sing and record it with him. He has written t wo songs that we include in our set now called “She’s Tough” and “Have You Ever Had A Reason” that I love singing so his style of writing definitely vibes with me. I have been working on some tunes as well that I have yet to share with him but we are planning on recording some new songs soon to release as well as an album in the near future. So there will be more sharing of songwriting. But we both are used to writing on our own. So I foresee that our approach will continue to be to write on our own and then bring our creations to each other to t weak and make even better. It’s really nice to have someone that speaks your musical language to bounce ideas off of.

IPM: Thinking of your recent live performances with The Papermoon Gypsys; do any engagements stand out so far is the best one?

Diana: The first time I played with the band at an open jam, right before we decided to work together, stands out for me. We played “Thrill Is Gone” and it just felt great. Kenny and I were doing a guitar duel back and forth and it felt like something great was bubbling up. There was possibility and an overall feeling of “finding your tribe” that was organic and just plain fun!

IPM: How would you like see this project? Do you consider it to be lasting a long time, possibly becoming a main focus or a second p art to your solo career?

Diana: The sky is the limit with this project. Since it has barely just begun and the response has been so wonderful, I would like to see it all the way through. We are not putting any borders on our reach. At this point it is the main focus. It takes a great deal of nurturing and hard work to be at the top of your game with one band and I would find it very difficult to lead two bands at this time. Plus, there is no need to have a solo band right now because our sets consist of a good amount of my originals as well so it’s a great balance.

IPM: Do you have plans to tour with the Papermoon Gypsys, or an album?

Diana: We will be working on a Diana Rein & Papermoon Gypsys album very soon. We have already picked out some covers that we would like to put on the album and are choosing original songs from both of our libraries of songwriting that might f it, as well as writing new tunes. As far as touring, we are talking with a couple of booking agents to finish out this season and to help us create a tour for 2017.

IPM: what would you like to be remembered for in your musical career, when all is said and done, when future music lovers look for and covet your music, what would you like t hem to be looking for and remembering you for.

Diana: I would love people to say that “she sang and played guitar with soul and feeling that got me to my core.” I want to be seen as an authentic artist that actually helped to inspire people and get them through the hard times in life, maybe even get       someone to pick up a guitar or another instrument and feel the healing power of music first hand. Maybe if I am lucky, I can stumble upon my own style of playing that guitar students would find powerful enough to want to emulate or force them to see the guitar differently. I would love to join the ranks of my guitar heroes. They just made the world a better place by sharing their gift!

When speaking with the “Big Daddy” Himself

With a name like Kenny “Big Daddy” Williams, one would think you would be speaking with a person who was larger than life, and with an ego stroked by a music scene that seems to reward the self-indulgent. But, we ae very happy to report that we would be wrong to say so. The consummate gentleman, Kenny “Big Daddy” Williams has a lot of fantastic things to say, but not about himself, but of his new partners in crime. 

IPM: Kenny you recently connected Diana Rein and formed The Papermoon Gypsys; could you enlighten us on this new musical endeavor

Kenny: I first met Diana on an interview I was doing with her for my radio show, “Laguna Blues” and I fell in love with her music. At the time Papermoon Gypsys was put on hold because my step-daughter was the lead singer and she decided to quit the band and go back to school. I formed another band call “Bluespower” with my drummer and bass player. So Diana mentioned she was looking for a band to play her music and I mentioned that I was looking for a new lead singer to sing my songs that I had written for the Papermoon Gypsys debut album. At the time I had an Open Mic/Jam at a local club every week and invited her to come down and jam with the band. It was instant chemistry so I kept inviting her back and she kept showing up. So finally, I asked her if she would consider a merge of both projects and she enthusiastically said yes. The rest is history. It was a perfect fit.

IPM: When you first started working with Diana Rein, what were your impressions and how did the chemistry start to empower your combined work

Kenny: My first impression of Diana was she was a serious musician willing to learn and contribute. Yes, she’s beautiful inside and out but there was something more. I felt like we had been playing together for years. The more we played together the stronger it got and there was no sign of an overblown ego which, to me, meant we could create together without the usual pitfalls that might happen when you bring two powerful sounds together. Her guitar sound was reminiscent of SRV but unique at the same time and it blended with my sound which was unusual because I normally find it hard to play in a band with two guitars. This was different, IT WORKED!!

IPM: What is it like to merge together to create one phenomenal stage presence.

Kenny: We both have very eclectic albums so we want move more towards a more focused album. So far, the songs we are writing are going to be more of a Blues/Rock nature. I like the phrase “Indie Blues” because I believe is evolving into a new element. We want to be at the forefront of this evolution and believe we can maintain the integrity of straight ahead Blues but put a new spin on it too. We are really excited to bring this new sound to our fans and hope we can maybe bring a younger crowd into the the picture to help keep the Blues alive. That is what’s lacking, I believe. We want to make it accessible to everybody. We are doing a concert October 2nd in Dana Point at Sea Terrace Park with Gamers and music as the theme. I’m hoping this will help introduce the kids to something new and exciting for them. The Blues!!

IPM: Do you see your vision of the band as what you expected?

Kenny: We have combined the two projects into a powerhouse of original music that has been received by Southern California with open arms. The new combination has exploded onto the Blues scene having played some great gigs like the Coach House opening for James Harman at The Real Blues Festival, the Temecula Valley Music Awards, the Del Mar Fair, the Orange county Fair and The Dana Point Food and Wine Festival. There is a buzz we’ve created that has us working hard and now writing, together for an album due to come out early next year. The music we are creating together will surpass both of our recent albums. Our styles have merged into a force to be reckoned with.

IPM: I pose to you the same question we asked Diana, Tell us about the chemistry between you.

Kenny: The chemistry between Diana and I have always been a powerful point since the day we first played together and the guys we’ve been working with seem to be infected by that. It has been easy going and effortless. We hope this will spill over to the audiences we play for. So far it seems to be working. There is a very strong spiritual connection between the two of us. Diana is a Taurus with Taurus rising and I’m a Gemini with Taurus rising and we are both Chinese Horses. I really think these spiritual things contribute to the uncanny connection we have. Come to a show and you’ll really see what I mean.

IPM: I imagine working together on stage, with the immensely powerful skills and talents you both have, there is a “Magic” that happens…

Kenny: The feeling on stage is so comfortable that even when we are improvising the whole thing, it looks like we planned it. It’s a great feeling to be playing with people that leave their egos at the gate and just want to create great music. This chemistry and comfort is opening doors that previously was eluding the both of us. Diana actually is from Romania so I believe she has Gypsy blood. We are always kidding each other, saying we look like vampires in our promo pictures. LOL. Actually, her grandmother was from Transylvania.

IPM: How is the growing experience, do you think alike on the creation of new songs?

Kenny: We both have different ways of creating songs but strangely enough we have also similar approaches. We like to go off and create a song and then bring it to each other and kind of tweak it. Here again our egos aren’t involved, which really helps making our ideas better. So far this method has worked. I think if it wasn’t working that our friendship would work any problem out. It sounds too good to be true and maybe a little contrived but that is the God honest truth. We just focus on making great music and we both feel this strongly.

IPM: Thinking of your recent live performances with The Papermoon Gypsys; do any engagements stand out so far is the best one?

Kenny: I think the most on a gig I’ve had with Diana was the Temecula Valley Music Awards. We didn’t even get paid for that gig but we had a blast and at the end we just played together in kind of an unplugged fashion. Tim Moyer, who puts it on, got up and played and I joined him for an impromptus jam which was a lot of fun. The band was good that night and the audience loved it. What more can you ask for?

IPM: Where can you see this union going, and would you feel it will grow into more than you or Diana expected it to be?

Kenny: Personally, I see us doing this for a long time but I also see us doing other projects too. Our focus is this but we both have a lot of ideas that are not necessarily Papermoon Gypsy music. I actually also play bass in an R and B band which also has originals and I know Diana is a prolific writer so I’m sure there will be other projects that come from this. But, for now, we are happy doing what we’re doing and the total focus is to bring our brand of the Blues to the world.

IPM: Kenny, in your opinion, what’s next you this Union of two big names in Blues, any ideas or plans for further album projects?

Kenny: Well, like I mentioned, we are already working on doing an album for next year and we’re about five songs into it and yes, we do have plans on taking it to the road. For one, it’s the only way to make money and continue to do what we love. We’re both lucky to have very understanding spouses and great support system. Our PR guy, Doug Deutsch has really help put us in everyone’s ear which we couldn’t have done on our own. Diana and I both manage the band business end of it but we could use a manager and a great booking agent. Those things take away precious time from writing and playing. look for us in your city next year. We are definitely gearing up for a lot of touring in the U.S. and Europe.

Diana Rein & Papermoon Gypsys, will be performing at the Woodystock Blues/Rock Festival in Apple Valley on Saturday, October 1 and performing at Gamechangers Games & Music Festival in Dana Point on Sunday, October 2.

More on this bands performances mat be found at the following websites dianarein.com,  papermoongypsy.com/music.html and facebook.com/papermoongypsys

Sponsors

IndiePulse Interviews and Podcasts

IndiePulse Music » Interviews

The Best Music You Have Yet To Hear

Interviews and Commentaries with the Musicians and Celebrities in the Indie Scene.

Subscribe via iTunes

About Joseph Timmons (6801 Articles)
I am the Father of 5 and a "Would Be Philosopher of Idiocy" - Author and Writer for several Blogs and Online Magazine. Review Journalist, Musician and Audio Buff. Follow Me and I'm Sure to Entertain.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: