Jennifer Scott organizes Bands for Bounty. Her trio performs in it, Friday night in Hannah Flanagan’s.
By Pete Zamplas-The Bands for Bounty musical fundraiser Dec. 6 for the Bounty of Bethlehem Christmas community dinner features a night of Beatles music, with audience members singing lead for a donation of $5 per song.
This new twist to an event in its 14th year is like karaoke, but without words on a screen. However, the trio performing will sing backing vocals and fill in lead for anyone forgetting some words or who gets the jitters affecting their voice.
“Singing along with someone makes more sense than trying it alone acapella,” event organizer Jennifer J. Scott said. “We’ll help those brave souls who take the microphone, and sing along with us.”
Those not wanting to sing can help by depositing a $10 bill or other donation into the large Christmas basket in front of the band.
The musicians are Jennifer Scott and the Guys from New York — singer Scott, lead guitarist Hank Bones and Bruce Lang on bass. “All three of us sing,” often in three-part harmony a la Peter, Paul and Mary, Scott said. Their vocal-range roles vary per gig. “I’m more of a melody person. They’ll look at me, and ask if I want to take the lows or highs that night. We decide on-site, who takes what.”
The veteran trio will sing about 100 Beatles songs spanning each Fab Four album in Bands for Bounty, 6-10 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 6. Admission is free, but donations are encouraged. The event returns to festive Hannah Flanagan’s pub in Downtown Hendersonville. Rather than the usual half-dozen Bounty acts, Scott’s trio handles the music.
On Friday, they will take requests solely of Beatles songs. They will not sing Christmas songs. But they will mix in a few non-Beatles classics into their four-hour show. Focusing on the Beatles’ sound fits Scott’s specialty, reaching reminiscent Baby Boomers and others. “People love The Beatles,” she said. “So we’ll give ‘em a full night of Beatles music, to bring smiles and raise money for the Bounty.”
That complimentary dinner is on Christmas afternoon, in the Immaculata Roman Catholic School gymnasium-auditorium.
The playlist Friday includes up-tempo “Can’t Buy Me Love,” gentle flowing “Blackbird,” more obscure “Mother Nature’s Son,” sarcastic ‘Tax Man,” somber “Strawberry Fields Forever,” frivolous “Yellow Submarine” and inspirational ballad “Hey Jude” which remains The Beatles best-selling and now most-downloaded single.
“We won’t play songs chronologically. We’ll mix it up,” Scott said. “We’ll extend some songs, for more lead work.” These are largely the ballads and pop hits in the Beatles catalog, which soared 50 years ago (as of next month) with “I Want to Hold Your Hand.”
Beatles songs vary in emotion, fitting holiday happiness but also feeling left out and loneliness. This mirrors the role of the Bounty of Bethlehem to feed not only the poor, but those who otherwise would dine alone.
“‘All You Need is Love’ is what The Beatles were trying to convey,” Scott said. To perk spirits now, “all we need is Beatles music. I love various love songs, that have to do with losing somebody, too.”
For instance, one of her favorites is “It’s Only Love.” “It’s so hard loving you” ends a chorus which John Lennon sang emotionally, sprouting from his resonant poetry over flowing melody. Scott also likes reflective themes in “The Long and Winding Road” and “Let it Be” with Paul McCartney’s smooth voice, and “Eight Days a Week” and other silly love songs.
Licensed clinical social worker Scott’s psychotherapy includes music and other sound. “It’s incredibly healing. It’s a great distraction making us feel good about ourselves, and free” of troubles, she said. “People feel music all the way through their bodies. As a therapist and singer, I’m in the best of all worlds. Singing is a way to release stress, to practice what you preach.”
Music helped her deal with cancer. She was diagnosed 10 years ago, but fended it off with two years of treatment. She then resumed her musical career, forming Jennifer Scott and the Guys from New York. The trio has released five compact discs in eight years. Scott also recorded CDs with B.B. and the Chick Band, which recently reunited.
Scott and Lang have teamed for 15 years, often doing Beatles music. Scott has also performed with Bones in recent years, including a current regular gig in the Green Room on Main by Sixth Avenue in Hendersonville. They perform jazz standards, Beatles and pop classics. Scott lives in town, Bones in Asheville. Lang runs a recording studio in Barnardsville.
Scott locally sang mostly jazz, before turning to The Beatles. She liked Broadway tunes, since her mother was an actress. Like Lang, she started with folk rock. Lang released a CD of George Harrison songs, such as “Something.” Bones is “The Man of a Thousand Songs,” Scott said. “He can do anything 1930-80.”
Jennifer Scott plays acoustic guitar in solo gigs. When Scott, now 58, was 7 she learned guitar. She was 8 when Beatlemania launched the British Invasion, in early 1964. “I remember walking down the street with my mother. I saw the Meet the Beatles album in the storefront, and said ‘please, please (buy it for me).’ That was her take on “Please Please Me.” In ‘64, she learned words to Beatles songs. Soon, and soon got their records and dolls.
In that era, Grace Slick then Janis Joplin had rare roles of fronting rock bands. “I wondered why there wasn’t a girl in The Beatles band,” Scott said. With her help there will be — in spirit, in town this Friday night.