Eight to the Bar
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Eight to the Bar

| INDIE

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Band Jazz Blues

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Apr
06
Eight to the Bar @ Amazing Things Arts Center

Framingham, Massachusetts, USA

Framingham, Massachusetts, USA

Nov
12
Eight to the Bar @ Boston Marriott Newton Hotel

Newton, Massachusetts, USA

Newton, Massachusetts, USA

Mar
19
Eight to the Bar @ ETTB 35th Anniv./reunion Gig at the Maple Tree

Simsbury, Connecticut, USA

Simsbury, Connecticut, USA

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Music

Press


EIGHT SQUARED: The state’s venerable swingsters, Eight to the Bar, just released the eighth album in their nearly three-decade history, "Superhero Undercover Swinger" (on its own Jitter Bop label), and while it retains its swing base, it’s definitely a step in a different direction in some ways.

Not only is this the sextet’s cleanest-produced disc (by saxophonist Collin Tilton, husband of bandleader/keyboardist Cynthia Lyon), but it’s their most diverse. "My Boogie Woogie Band" and "It’s a Groove" have the traditional 8TTB big band-meets-Andrews Sisters harmonies. But there’s also the fast jump blues of the title tune, the slower, West Coast swing of "Troubles Drift Away" and "Skeleton Key," the seductive, low-key "Sugar High," the rhumba beat of "Reptile Man" and — in a nod to the band’s original Western swing sound — the cornpone classic "I’m My Own Grandpaw."

The disc was created with their ever-growing audience in mind — especially Rhode Island, where the band is a staple on the playlist of Newport’s swing station, WADK (99.3 FM), and where they played to a packed house with Roomful of Blues last week at the Ocean Mist in Matunuck.

"We really have a core following of swing dancers. We wanted to make it as interesting as possible for them," Lyon said from her North Branford home Tuesday. "Tons of swing dancers buy our records, so we felt the need to find different tempos, different feels. We didn’t want it to all be ‘ding-a-ding-a-ding.’"

Another difference is that 11 of the 13 songs are originals, with four of the band members chipping in. This is the second album with the Keith siblings aboard (singer Megan, with her perfect pitch, and drummer David, the onetime Mighty Purple pounder), and their influence is starting to show.

"The Kids, I call them. I love them," Lyon said. "They’re very high-energy, very positive, very enthusiastic. I need that and I love that.

"I also love the fact they’re related," she said. "All those years in the band, I had my sisters (Barbara and Todd, whose Deep Dish restaurant column can be found in this section). I love that siblings have a sense of humor only they can understand. I eavesdrop a little to see what makes them laugh."
- Fran Fried, New Haven Register


Hey, Sailor!, the latest release from Eight to the Bar, is a dancer's delight. Whether you prefer Savoy-style Lindy hop or the smooth moves of West Coast swing, you'll find plenty of material to work with on the band's seventh CD, a collection of mid-tempo originals and covers that fuses boogie woogie, swing, and rhythm & blues.
The band performs competently on standards like "She's The Most" and "Well All Right", but it's the original compositions by members Cynthia Lyon, Tom Whalen, Collin Tilton and Megan Keith that truly charm. The title track, "Hey Sailor", at first sounds so sweet as to cause cavities, but Lyon's coy come-ons are enticing, and her harmonies with Keith hearken back to the flirty formula of the Andrews Sisters. On "Why Can't You Dance (With Me Like That)", Lyons turns on throatier, full-throttle vocals that really swing, while veteran sax man Collin Tilton struts his stuff on the breaks. But by far the most noteworthy original is "The Existential Boogie", a stomper of a song with classic boogie woogie piano licks that will lift you from your seat. The closer, "Beat Me Daddy, Eight to the Bar" is an obvious choice, but leaves the listener on a high note, ready to hit "play" a second time. Eight to the Bar are not ones to break new ground, but they know the formula for a good time, and musically they've got the chops to deliver the goods. Diehard dancers and fans of bands like Manhattan Transfer will enjoy their sound, and should make Hey, Sailor! a staple in their collection.


—Joanne O'Day





- Atomic Magazine


One of the things that make Eight To The Bar an ongoing ultra-presence in the Neo Swing scene is their complete and utter joy at being performers. Serious performers. Cynthia Lyon has weathered the changing nature of the scene, and various incarnations of this super talented troupe, and she's still having a good time. This idea is given the logical next spin (or should it be flight?) in their brand new CD release "Superhero Swingers Undercover."
The super heroic feat of being part of the swing scene and loving every minute of it (and they don't disguise it) gets its day in the aforementioned title track, and acts as an introduction for "My Boogie Woogie Hand," which gives an explanation for the how and why of the band with tongue in cheek frivolity. Don't pass up a nifty cover of "I'm My Own Grandpaw" and the storytelling mirth of tracks like "Romeo" and the slightly naughty "The Shelf."
Cynthia, whose mutant powers include piano, organ, and vocals, is joined by her own Justice League in the spectacular vocals of Michael Corsini (who plays bass), Megan Keith and Tom Whalen, the saxophonic styling of Collin Tilton, and the percussion mastery of David Keith. The CD case is just fun to look at, with its comic book layout and word ballooned lyrics, surrounded by pictures of a band having way too much fun for their own good. Eight to the Bar continues with the sort of stuff that made the band work in the first place, and if you're not just a fair weather friend to the swing scene, climb on in the phone booth and put on your costume, too.
- Frankie Hagan - Atomic Magazine


No one can get a joint jumpin' like Eight to the Bar, whose infectious blend of swing and blues has kept folks off their seats and on their feets for 27 years. The band recently released its seventh album, "Hey Sailor!," and has traveled the world with its distinctly American sound. A Connecticut treasure? Absolutely. - Connecticut Magazine


Discography

ETTB has just released its eleventh CD titled, "The Romper Room" (2010). It's a high energy mix of original swing, jump blues, jazz, vocalese, even a little Latin! A dancer's dream! Songs from the CD as well as from their earlier releases, can be heard at www.eighttothebar.com, cdbaby.com, Itunes, amazon.com, pandora.com, jango.com, and on jazz radio stations throughout New England.

Previous CD titles include:
Calling All Ickeroos! (2007)
You Call This Swing? (2005)
Superhero Swinger Undercover (2003)
"Hey, Sailor!" (2001)
Behind the Eight Ball (1998)
Beat Me Rocking (1996)
Something Old, Something New, Something Rhythm, Something Blues (1993)
Redheads of Rhythm (1989)
Swinging School (1983)
The Joint Is Jumping (1980)

Photos

Bio

Drawing its influences from American roots music - swing, jump blues & boogie-woogie - ETTB is known for its outstanding instrumentalists and sophisticated arrangements, highlighted by female vocals. This powerful sextet performs year-round from Maine to Miami and overseas. They have just returned from a tour of the Republic of Georgia where they were invited to perform by the U.S. Embassy located there.

EIGHT TO THE BAR is:
Collin Tilton - Tenor and alto saxophones. Best known for his sax and flute playing on Van Morrison's million selling Moondance album, Collin also played with Etta James on the Rolling Stones' 1978 U.S. Tour. Most recently, he served as horn arranger with Clarence Clemons and the Red Bank Rockers, and has worked with a number of regional bands, notably the Shaboo All Stars.

Cynthia Lyon - Keyboards, vocals. The band's founder and leader, Cynthia is ETTB's primary songwriter and arranger. She has also played with Amyl and the Icons and the Dirty Blondes of New York City.

Shawn Meehan- Drums, percussion. A graduate of Berklee School of Music, Shawn currently resides and teaches drums in Boston. Besides leading his own bands, he has toured extensively throughout the US and Europe and has played with a number of swing and classic r&b bands, notably Toni Lynn Washington, Eddie Kirkland and Johnnie Marshall.

Michael Corsini - Bass guitar, vocals. A veteran bass player and teacher, Mike is best known for his dazzling work with the Magill-LaPine jazz quartet and a voice that can range from do-wop bass to swing soprano in the vocal trio.

Tommy Whalen - Guitar, vocals. Tommy's exciting guitar playing and powerful singing is well known to New England audiences through his work with several New England bands, notably Cyclone Scotty. Tom also leads his own blues rock band, Tommy Whalen & the Ragged Edge.

Brinna Jones – Vocals, percussion. The newest member of ETTB, Brinna started singing professionally in 2002, working with a Boston-based show band followed by backing vocal gigs with many different tribute artists, from Rod Stewart to Shania Twain. In 2005, her love for singing Big Band and Jazz became a dream realized when she opened for Bob Newhart, backed by a 10-piece orchestra. In 2006, Brinna joined the Northeast-renowned group Souled Out, singing background vocals, and opening for The Drifters, The Pointer Sisters and The Temptations.