This Ginger’s got Soul
Ginger Fawcett, Liquid Ginger’s charismatic lead vocalist, has begun branching out on her own, writing and performing on her first-ever solo album, “Fly on the Wall.” A departure from the band’s rock-forward sound, Fawcett’s solo debut skews closer to adult contemporary.
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Ginger Fawcett how long she’s been singing in public, and she immediately responds, “All my life.”
The band she’s speaking of is Liquid Ginger, a well-known and award-winning fixture on the regional bar, restaurant, nightclub and festival circuit. Following that pop-rock combo’s debut in 1999 at McDonough’s (Fawcett says the late Billy Lee, owner of that iconic downtown bar-restaurant and karaoke spot “welcomed us with open arms, even though he’d never hired a live band before”), they quickly amassed a large and loyal following from Tybee Island to the far west side of greater Savannah.
Before long, they were steadily playing shows at most every local music venue, and regularly hitting the road to perform throughout the Southeast (particularly in and around Atlanta).
“Back in the day, we gigged quite a bit,” muses Fawcett. “It was not uncommon for us to play 20 shows a month, as far away as Maine.” The group’s original lineup of guitars, bass, keyboards, drums and vocals was made up of seasoned players (three of whom still remain onboard to this day), yet everyone knows it takes more than talent and chops to earn fans. That requires onstage charisma (which Fawcett and her compatriots have always had in spades) and an undeniable zeal for the art of live performance — which Fawcett acknowledges with no small amount of pride. “We love what we do,” she opines, “and I think that shows.”
“I’d sung in pageants, church, high school, karaoke… Really anywhere I could,” the Savannah area performer and private vocal coach explains. “But singing with a live band is something special. It’s a rush. It’s hard work, but it’s fun and incredibly fulfilling — because the bandmembers truly become like family.”
Right from the beginning, that sincere, guileless devotion to embracing the feel-good ethos and glitzy showmanship of mainstream popular music stood — and still stands — in marked contrast to the majority of area acts, whose reflexive — if not downright dogged — pursuit of the ever-elusive “indie-cred” inherently limits their potential commercial appeal. Liquid Ginger smartly never fell into that trap, and as a result, the band has been rewarded handsomely with a diverse and loyal fanbase.
The group’s shows, whether featuring the six-piece, full electric band lineup or their stripped-down acoustic quartet form, are explicitly geared toward rewarding listeners. The group’s visual image and enthusiastic delivery reinforce the members’ heartfelt affection for mainstream pop music (which, broadly speaking, includes the band’s own original tunes), rather than pushing an unknown, off-kilter commodity on the general public and hoping for positive feedback.
Despite the fact Liquid Ginger has written, recorded and released two full-length independent albums of catchy original material over the course of their lengthy career, they remain primarily known as an extremely high-energy cover band, well-versed in doing justice to an unusually wide variety of instantly recognizable modern pop, hard and classic rock hits.
“We play everything from Led Zeppelin to Lady Gaga,” Fawcett says with a laugh.
These days, however, Fawcett is both thrilled and nervous about musically challenging herself in ways she never has before. For some time now, Fawcett has quietly been writing new material for her first-ever solo album, “Fly on the Wall,” which will be released and promoted simply under the name “Ginger.” The album is something of a stylistic departure for Fawcett, who says those who’ve heard some of the as-yet-unreleased tracks have likened the material to that of pop divas Adele and Sara Bareilles.
“It’s a much more mature ‘female contemporary’ sound,” she explains, adding, “I have never been more excited about anything in my entire life.”
According to Fawcett, composing the tunes for this new solo debut challenged her creatively in ways she could never have imagined. “This is huge for me,” she reveals. “I’ve always been a wordsmith and am pretty clever with hooks, but I’ve also always depended on ‘the guys’ (in the band) to handle the instrumentation (and arrangements), so I’ve never really written a song entirely by myself. They taught me everything I know about music and the music business, and I’d be nowhere without them. It makes me appreciate (even more) what my guys’ roles are in making what we do so successful.”
“Now, I’m writing everything on my own, on piano. It’s hard, as I am not a pianist! I am playing by ear and loving every second of it. I’ve just been allowing my personal stories to flow into the music and words, so that I can share my often messy, sometimes difficult, but ultimately magical and beautiful journey with the world.”
Fawcett says she hopes the sentiments and emotions expressed in this new collection of songs will have mass appeal and speak of universal concepts which every listener can relate to in his or her own way. Which is, after all, the very definition of mainstream pop music: its ability to forge instantaneous connections with the widest possible range of audiences. To hear Fawcett tell it, her desire for “Fly on the Wall” is for it speak to the “secret, hidden life we all share,” which is inherently full of heartbreak and fear, but ultimately of triumph and hope.
It would appear she is in very good hands for this first solo outing, as the sessions are being overseen just outside Atlanta by Zack Odom. He’s part of the Multi-Platinum music industry team ZK Productions, whose lengthy and impressive career includes work alongside such esteemed pop, rock and R&B superstars as Whitney Houston, Jamie Foxx, Elton John, Usher, Jimmy Eat World and Fergie — to name just a few.
Looking to the future, Fawcett says that in addition to chasing stardom as a solo act, she hopes to eventually compose and sell original tunes to established performing artists, in hopes of also achieving behind-the-scenes success as a hit songwriter. Regardless, she insists she will continue to perform onstage as long as she is able — both on her own as “Ginger,” and in a parallel career as lead vocalist in Liquid Ginger.
Fawcett says she remains “blown away and fascinated” by the musicians in her group and their skillsets. “I knew the first minute I met them that this was going to be something special,” she admits, adding, “It was where I truly belonged.
“I see myself as always being involved in music,” she adds wistfully. “I think I’ll be the Stevie Nicks of Savannah and keep rocking out… Then maybe wind up like (the late, great Georgia singer-pianist) Emma Kelly. I’ll be really old, sitting on a stool somewhere in a little piano bar,” she laughs.
“But, in all honesty and wishful thinking, I hope to be writing and selling songs while performing and earning a living doing what I love most.”
Where to Catch Liquid Ginger
The full, electric lineup of LG plays about four times a month, mostly at outdoor festivals and indoors at the Wild Wing restaurants in both Downtown Savannah and Pooler.
The acoustic LG quartet plays eight to ten times per month at the aforementioned Wild Wings, as well as at Flashback in Richmond Hill and Boomy’s on Congress Street (both of which Fawcett cites as favorite venues for their excited, supportive crowds). They can also be found outdoors in City Market as well as at a number of venues on both Tybee Island and Hilton Head Island. Liquid Ginger’s June and July shows hadn’t been announced as South was going to press, so follow them on Facebook for up-to-the-minute dates: facebook.com/liquidgingermusic.
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