An Interview With Award Winning Actress and Musician, JANE LYNCH On her Brand New Holiday Album, “A Swingin’ Little Christmas”!
Posted On 12 Dec 2016
Emmy Award and Golden Globe Award winning actress, Jane Lynch, is getting in the Christmas spirit with the release of a brand new Christmas CD, “A Swingin’ Little Christmas”!
Following a path set by her role as Sue Sylvester on the musical mega-hit TV show, Glee, a successful run as Miss Hannigan in the Broadway revival of Annie and a critically acclaimed national tour of her own cabaret show, See Jane Sing, this album marks her first step as a international recording artist.
Jane didn’t come to the party alone, inviting her friends Kate Flannery (best known for her portrayal of Meredith on NBC’s The Office) and Tim Davis (vocal producer for Glee and one of the industry’s leading vocal arrangers) to join in as both featured singers and as part of a classic sounding vocal group (under Mr. Davis’ vocal direction). The trio is accompanied by The Tony Guerrero Quintet –– a nationally recognized jazz ensemble in its own right with multiple CD releases to its credit.
“A Swingin’ Little Christmas” is unapologetically sentimental, recalling the classic Christmas albums of the 1950s and 60s. The album features fifteen tracks, including fresh takes on ten classic carols and five brand new nostalgia-inspired originals, penned by bandleader, Tony Guerrero. The disc is ripe with clever jazz arrangements, tight vocal harmonies and features a variety of instrumentations including a five-piece jazz quintet, a full big band and lush string orchestrations. Both Jane and Kate are well known for their comedic abilities, and while the album has several fun, lighthearted moments, there are also plenty of deep, rich and even serious musical moments to balance it out. Jane Lynch’s “A Swingin’ Little Christmas” is sure to become a perennial holiday favorite!
Learn more about Jane Lynch’s first holiday album in the following All Access interview with her:
Thanks for your time! Now that 2016 is just about over, what are some words you would use to describe this year? What have been some of the highlights for you? What are you most excited about for 2017?
I rarely look back or too far forward. I’m kind of smack dab right here in my present. Blame menopausal memory loss. That being said, putting this Christmas album together (A Swingin’ Little Christmas) has been quite the joy of 2016. I’ve been touring with Tony Guerrero and his quintet plus Kate Flannery and Tim Davis for about two years now. We have become deeply in love with each other and this Christmas album was surely a labor of pure love!
As for the future, we are all hoping that this album will become a perennial favorite for Christmas time. And since it’s such a musical throwback to days gone by, hopefully this album will prove to have staying power and endure for many more Christmases.
Growing up, did you always know that you were going to be an entertainer one day? Can you recall your first acting and/or musical memory?
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be an actor or singer! I remember seeing a play when I was very young at the local high school. We were in a dark gymnasium and when the lights went up we were all of the sudden transported into a whole new world. It was so exciting and I knew I just had to be a part of this. My mother always played musical soundtracks on our stereo. I grew up singing to the scores of Funny Girl, The Sound of Music and The Music Man.
You recently released your debut musical album and it just so happens to be a holiday album. How did you decide to put out a holiday collection? Have you always loved all the classic Christmas carols?
I always adored the music at Christmas time. I was also in charge of the lights and the ambience and come to think of it, the smells. I used to burn pine incense in a tiny toy replica of a log cabin. Performing with Tony Guerrero and his band along with my fellow singers, Kate Flannery and Tim Davis, gave us all the idea to do a holiday album. We all love the music of the late 1940s, 50s and early 60s, when almost every enduring Christmas song was recorded. Tony increased his quintet to a full orchestra, Tim Davis arranged all the tight three part harmonies, we chose 10 classic carols that were public domain, Tony wrote five more that sound like they been around forever, and we were off and running.
What was it like working with Kate Flannery and Tim Davis on “A Swingin’ Little Christmas”? How did you decide who to work with on it? Was it difficult for you three to decide which songs to cover and re-imagine?
Kate and I have been friends forever having met when we were both kicking around in the Chicago theater scene. We have been singing together just as long. I met Tim Davis on GLEE where he arranged every vocal on all 600 songs recorded in that series. Kate was first on board with me to do a traveling cabaret show and we added Tim shortly thereafter. He introduced me to Tony Guerrero and his quintet and the rest is history.
How do you think all of your varied acting and musical experiences have helped you create this album? How is making this collection different than any other recording process you’ve been a part of?
We are all lovers of the big band era and the jazz world. Tony Guerrero and his quintet have been playing jazz around Los Angeles for years together. Tony is a huge fan of Louis Armstrong and in fact possesses almost as much memorabilia as the Louis Armstrong museum in Queens. Which we got to visit when we were performing at Joe’s Pub in New York.
What if anything has surprised you about the music industry? What do you think has been your biggest challenge? And what do you think has come really naturally to you?
We made this album on our own nickel and figured out how it all works as we went along! At every turn when we were baffled and didn’t know what next step to take, someone would show up and help us out. It was a very charmed process.
Every time I received a new arrangement by Tony recorded by the band, I was in heaven! Working with these guys who are masters at what they do, has been the greatest joy of my life
Can you think of any artists today that you would love to collaborate with in the future? Do you think that you will record another album one day?
I love Richard Marx! He has become a friend and I would love to do something with him someday.
We hear you are taking your Christmas show out on the road. What can fans expect from these live shows?
We will be performing the album live at the Nikko, Michael Feinstein’s Cabaret space in San Francisco December 8m, 9 and 10th. We will also be performing the album at Largo in Los Angeles on December 21.
At the end of the day, what do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope listeners take away from your songs?
I hope folks will be uplifted and moved by the gorgeousness of all of Tony and Tim’s musical arrangements in this album. There’s quite a range emotionally and musically to be had in this experience! We go from a very peppy and upbeat Up On The Housetop to a gorgeous Instrumental version of Silent Night to an mournful a cappella version of the Coventry Carol.