Lindsay Meredith drinks a lot of coffee, and last month, she decided to put that fact to good use. During one of her frequent trips to the Wooden Spoon Cafe & Bakery, the Highlands-area singer-songwriter gathered a notebook, a pen and a large coffee together to brainstorm ways to promote her gypsy rock band, Lindsay and the Lost Caravan. "That's when I realized I had basically memorized all of the words on my coffee cup -- all of those ads and details in the thirty minutes I was sitting there," Meredith says. "So I thought: Why can't those words be about my music?"
One week later, Meredith searched online and ordered 3,000 custom coffee-cup wraps, which will serve the dual function of protecting their users' hands and selling them on Meredith's music: "Hi, my name is Lindsay Meredith, and I have a gypsy rock band, Lindsay and the Lost Caravan ..." So far, Meredith has distributed the promotional hand-savers to the Wooden Spoon and Masterpiece Deli, two of her favorite Highland hangouts.
"The last time I went in to the Wooden Spoon, an employee was telling me she overheard people talking about it," Meredith says. "Let's hope it works. At the very least, it's interesting."
In the meantime, it's a break from online promotions, where the full-time artist spends hours updating her Twitter, Facebook and ReverbNation accounts between bouts of passing out show fliers around town. Inspired equally by Gogol Bordello and KT Tunstall, Meredith spent years developing her sound, transitioning through countless youth choirs before aging into what she thought would be a role in rock. "But my attempts were short-lived, and the music I was making didn't move me," Meredith admits. "I got this nervous pressure to be more creative and unique, to stop emulating what I heard on the radio, and it kept building."
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So she started over, and her latest genre developed by accident. Eight years removed from Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Meredith began playing Django Reinhardt in the background of her daily life, and the gypsy-jazz influence caught up with her. In the studio for her latest EP, You Don't Know Me, Meredith felt the pull of jazz guitar and modified her original approach to solid rock, combining the two genres into what she calls, in conversation and on coffee cups, "gypsy rock."
The shift required no shortage of research: For months, Meredith checked out books on both jazz and traditional gypsy music and purchased albums of each, all the while recruiting studio musicians to play guitar, mandolin and brass and developing her sound. "If you enjoy the music (gypsy rock = pop/rock + gypsy/jazz) -- and I'm confident you will," Meredith concludes her coffee pitch, "please come to one of our shows, download a single or tell a friend."
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