We see plenty of hybrid genres here at The Ark, but rarely do we see completely new genre creations all together. The Vignatis have broken the mold of normalcy with the creation of their trademark sound and self-proclaimed genre Gypsybilly, combining sounds from Gypsy Jazz, Rockabilly, Country, and Jazz, for a sonic creation that is wholly unique.
“We are saying that we don’t like confines, and want to encourage others to experiment and push boundaries. Experiment with sound, harmony, melody, visuals, etc. Think outside of the box and push traditionalists to react, whether negatively or positively.”
The Vignatis (say it with us: vin-YAW-teez) is comprised of husband and wife duo Fabrice (vocals, acoustic & electric guitar, banjo,ukulele) and Tracy (vocals, clarinet, keys, kazoo) Vignati. Fabrice is originally from France, and Tracy, a California born Air Force brat spending half of her childhood in Georgia. The couple was brought together by both a karmic connection and love of music. They’ve released quite the catalog of their trademark Gypsybilly music, including Birth of the Gypsybilly (2009), Birth of the Gypsybilly Vol. 2 (2012), and Let’s Hit the Road: Gypsybilly Vol. 3 (2018), and currently culminating in their 2020 release: Red, White & Blue: Gypsybilly Vol. 4. This project is an energetic, toe-tapping, truly fun exploration into a wide but complementary selection of tones and styles that you just won’t find anywhere else.
HERE’S WHAT WE DUG MOST…
The album opens with Bop, Hop & Roll and lives up to its name instantly. This track immediately transports you to a sock hop in the 1950s, despite the lyrical references to both past and present music and style icons. The thumping bassline, catchy guitar riffs, and impeccable harmonies set the tone for the entire album.
Oh La L’amour beautifully incorporates Fabrice’s French heritage into the album on this swanky and lighthearted track. Most of the lyrics are in French here, but the message praising French culture and those who’ve brought it to the masses rings loud and clear. It’s cadence is slightly reminiscent of La Mer originally by Charles Trenet – laid back, easygoing, and expressive, even if French is not your native language.
But don’t get comfortable, because New Direction aptly and abruptly drops us into a completely different sound, a modern beat and a driving rhythm, though not without what has quickly become an identifiably and uniquely Fabrice style of chromatic guitar riffs. This track also includes a rap, cementing its modern feel. Reflecting its name once more, this track speaks of forging your own path to happiness and inner transformation. This record discusses a lot of relatable themes, but this one is especially important in a time where so many plans have gone awry due to situations out of everyone’s’ control: “Make a plan and change the things you do instead“.
Tahiti is yet another trasportative track, sending the listener on a tropical respite to paradise. The strummy guitars are undeniably beachy and warm – it’s hard not to picture yourself on vacation while this track is playing. And the ukulele solo at 2:08 is a wonderful and unique addition, as if you needed more convincing about this track’s island vibes.
We also love Red, White & Blue for its definitively country/rock vibes and energy. The Vignatis have created such a unique Americana tone that really does a great job at encapsulating the pride for America that comes through so clearly in their music. Their patriotism is a recurring theme across the album, and it’s a welcome one. It’s recently been a trying time for most Americans, and this track and the others like it on the album are a great reminder that it’s okay to be proud of your country, and that you can still have a good time doing it.
OUR FAVORITE TRACK…
Silent Heroes pays long overdue homage to those who keep society moving – the postal workers, the soliders, the farmers, the factory workers and bus drivers. The past year has been turbulent for nearly everyone, but if we’ve collectively learned anything in this time, it’s that these silent heroes The Vignatis elevate in this track are more crucial to our lives all running smoothly than we ever imagined. Many times, songs written about folks who are giving their all for society are melancholy ballads, but not here – Silent Heroes is a bouncy, dynamic, and uptempo number that has allusions to zydeco tones and is brimming with energy. It’s a nice change from the usual moroseness – these people deserve to be celebrated, and The Vignatis know it.
The Vignatis know no genre bounds – and we mean this as the highest of compliments. Few would be so bold as to create an album that includes rap, clarinet solos, and ukulele all in one place. Not only have The Vignatis managed it, they’ve created a listening experience on this album that makes these out of the box choices feel completely natural. Each track tells a definitive, relatable story, and each story is tied together with a complex and constantly rotating selection of instruments that creates cohesion and flow where there could easily be chaos. It’s no wonder that they’ve needed to create their own genre to define their sound – after listening to Red, White & Blue: Gypsybilly Vol. 4, we think you’ll agree that nothing else would do their experimental and genre-bending style true justice. For fans of music that pushes the envelope in all kinds of ways, this album is most definitely worth a listen.
BELOW: Check out our full artist interview with The Vignatis, listen to Red, White & Blue: Gypsybilly Vol. 4 and connect with their website and social media platforms, watch their music video, and find their booking & contact information. Please support The Vignatis by visiting them online, and playing, downloading, and/or purchasing their music, or attending a live show! And, as always, thank you for supporting real music!
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Check out our interview with THE VIGNATIS:
INTERVIEW: The Vignatis (Click HERE)
Follow, stream, download & connect with THE VIGNATIS online:
Listen to RED, WHITE & BLUE: GYPPSYBILLY VOL. 4 by THE VIGNATIS:
Watch THE VIGNATIS’s music video for the song SILENT HEROES:
Booking & contact information for THE VIGNATIS:
Contact: Fabrice & Tracy Vignati