Wing and a Prayer
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Wing and a Prayer

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"WING AND A PRAYER"

WING AND A PRAYER

Imagine if Stevie Nicks was singing about Jesus. That's what local teacher-by-day Lynne Jacob of Pendleton, New York, sounds like when she assumes the role of lead vocalist for the band Wing And A Prayer, a musically-tight group playing Christian music in Western New York.

Seeing Wing And A Prayer perform live makes for a refreshing, entertaining evening out. I recently enjoyed their diverse original music with a couple covers at a coffeehouse at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in North Tonawanda. The place was packed-- standing room only-- and with good reason. Wing And A Prayer has been playing together since the mid-1990s, and over time they've not only built up quite a following, but also musically matured along the way.

The band--which reminds me of The Mamas & The Papas, Peter, Paul & Mary, and for those of you who are a bit younger, SmashMouth--recorded a CD in 2001 featuring a cool, heartfelt song about loss ("When I Came Home"), and since then they've had one or two line-up changes, and their sound has matured. The CD, entitled “Heart of Worship,” is a decent representation of the band, but not the best, since they've come a long way during the past decade, especially with the addition of a new keyboard player, the versatile Joe Cirillo, who brings his experience playing with Top 40 bands for almost three decades to Wing And A Prayer.

While most Christian bands all “sound the same,” which means they sound like Paul Baloche, Chris Tomlin, and/or Delirious, thankfully Wing And A Prayer is wholly original, and since the members are seasoned, they borrow from the 1960s surf rock sound generously, and do it well. Imagine if the Beach Boys or other harmony groups from that era were making music about and for Jesus these days-- that's what Wing And A Prayer sounds like.

Gordon “Gordy” Goodearl seems to be the backbone of this energetic band because he's the talented drummer who not only enjoys what he's doing, but also manages to really get a good groove going on the band's faster songs like “Can't Make It Without Him” and “Heart's Desire,” which reminded me of Martha and the Vanedellas' “Heatwave.” The musicianship of the band cannot be underestimated.

Interestingly, when I first heard I was going to see “some band” at a Lutheran church in North Tonawanda, I did not expect much at all. I figured about 10 people would be in attendance and the music would be lame. Then I walked into the church's gym, which doubled as a well-decorated, winter-themed coffeehouse featuring free food and drinks, and the place was over-filled with people to the point where we had to get our own chairs from storage and find a spot up in front to squish in together.

Wing And A Prayer plays a wide variety of musical styles, from rockabilly (“Glory Be”) that would do Chuck Berry proud to the Southern Gospel/country show stopper “Tell Me,” which reminded me of Tina Turner doing “Proud Mary.” When Lynne started singing “Tell Me,” the tempo was a slow ballad, and then out of nowhere, the tempo goes frenetic and people just had to get up out their seats and dance. This band knows how to boogie...for the Lord. They also did an instrumental Brazilian samba-jazz concoction ("San Paolo") featuring Goodearl on the bongoes, "Hallelujah Time," a lively song featuring a train whistle, and crowd sing-a-longs with “Just A Closer Walk With Thee,” “You Are My All In All,” and “Amazing Grace.”

Guitarist/songwriter Kevin Jacob was away at a funeral for the concert I saw, yet the other members, including Cirillo on keys (playing bass using the keys, I might add), Rick Strusienski on acoustic guitar, Goodearl on drums, and Lynne as the main vocalist managed to hold my attention just fine for two hours. I truly enjoyed this band and wouldn't mind seeing them again live.

If you would like to book Wing And A Prayer for your event, please email Kevin Jacob at wingpr72@hotmail.com or call 716-946-4797. You can also hear their music online at http://wingaap.googlepages.com/home

--Mark Weber, BuffaloChristian.com 2/09
- www.BuffaloChristian.com


Discography

"Heart of Worship" CD recorded in 2001 at Outer Limit Studios in Buffalo. Working on a new CD later this year.

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Bio

Wing and a Prayer has been together for 15 years. We love to play out and each Wing and a Prayer concert is a new experience. Our style of music can't be described in one or two words as it really doesn't fit into any one category. There's a little bit rockabilly, jazz, funk, soul, folk, gospel and lots in between. Almost our entire set is made up of originals, tunes written from the heart by band members to express the testimony of Christ in our lives. It is our ministry to nurture the Christian community as well as bring the Gospel of Christ to those who do not know the Lord. We have played all over Western New York and even took a band trip to New England when all our kids were young - 5 carloads (not new cars!) and 23 people traveling to 3 states and even playing on beautiful Fisher's Island! We had a ball when all our kids came along to concerts as our roadies and sold the CDs and T-shirts at the card table! Now we look forward to our grandkids helping out soon! We love what we do - we continue to write music. Sometimes one member writes the lyrics and then we all collaborate on the tune - they become band songs. Having played in secular bands early on and having been musicians most of our lives, it's hard not to have a retro feel to our music as influences from the 60's and 70's come through. We all contribute to the vocals and it has been said that Wing and a Prayer puts out rich and creative harmonies. We all have our day jobs - but when it comes to band night, month after month and year after year, there's nothing like it. We are truly thankful to the Lord for continuing to use us through the years - for His glory.

WING AND A PRAYER WEBSITE:

http://wingaap.googlepages.com/home