Gill Landry, also known by the stage name of Frank Lemon, is a singer/songwriter and guitarist born in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and a member of Old Crow Medicine Show and founding member of The Kitchen Syncopators.
He got his first guitar when he was 5. Landry started The Kitchen Syncopators with his friend Woody Pines in 1998 spending many years busking the streets of New Orleans, the Northwest, and Europe. As he tells the story:
"The Kitchen Syncopators came out of a Vaudeville show that Me, Felix Hatfield, Woody Pines, and Huck Notari were doing called The Songsters. It was a Bread and Puppet--inspired cardboard theater which featured a lot of early American music we were picking up off of our friend Baby Gramps. We'd been starving in shacks in Eugene, Oregon, when me and Woody went to the Oregon Country Fair one day to try busking. I think we made $300 bucks that day, which to us was a fortune at the time."
Old Crow Medicine Show:
The Kitchen Syncopators recorded several self-released albums and disbanded in 2004 when Gill began to lend vocals and play banjo and steel guitar for Old Crow Medicine Show. When Old Crow co-founder Chris "Critter" Fuqua "went on hiatus" from the group in 2007 to pursue "recovery from a longtime alcohol addiction", the group looked for a suitable replacement, finding it in Gill Landry, whom they'd first encountered in New Orleans in 2000, where they were "both busking over Mardi Gras." As Landry tells the story:
"Our mutual friend, Sam Parton, suggested I give Ketch a call. So, I did, and he...asked me how my clawhammer and dobro playing was, and I said it was rusty but good. I didn't even own a banjo at the time and hadn't heard of clawhammer before. I was a guitar player."
Recovering quickly, he "went to a place called The Folkstore in Seattle, and bought a Goodtime banjo." He got a five-minute lesson from the store owner, then "practiced it for two weeks before I went to meet the boys. I played it on the Opry and at Doc Watson days. I must have just been god awful (sic)." Something must have worked, because "they kept calling me back."
In 2007, Landry released a solo album titled The Ballad of Lawless Soirez on Nettwerk Records. "Coal Black Heaven" from this album was hailed by one reviewer as "something of a hobo haiku to the national collapse and depression looming over every hollowed-out and rusted-through US river town."
In October 2011, he self-released his second solo album titled Piety & Desire -- featuring the Felice Brothers, Brandi Carlile, Jolie Holland, Ketch Secor, and Samantha Parton (of the Be Good Tanyas) -- where he "creates a whole film and stereo hi-fi noir milieu" by realizing "a dozen rootsy, ambient and mostly catchy hardscrabble southwestern tinged originals."
His third, self-titled album was released by ATO Records on 3 March 2015.
Landry appeared at the end of Be Good Tanyas video "The Littlest Birds".
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license