Band of the Week: Beth Tinnon - Nightlife - Press of Atlantic City

 Band of the Week: Beth Tinnon

 

By SCOTT SEMET, At The Shore | December 12th, 2013

Although Beth Tinnon has been performing in and around the Atlantic City casino scene for more than a decade, even longtime fans will find something new in her recent performances. The Nashville native has returned to her roots, fully embracing the sounds of her Southern home.

 

“Every Thursday, I’ll be at LB1 doing country nights,” explains Tinnon.

She describes her sets as a ‘conversation with the audience,’ and will run the gamut of country music’s rich history.

“It’s a total mix — I’ll do some Patsy Cline and Dolly Parton, all the way up to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood,” she says.

Interwoven throughout the evening will be facts and historical anecdotes about the artists themselves.

“It’s more about the songs, and who wrote them,” Tinnon says. “I try to make it interactive, so it’s educational as well as musical.”

Although the popular lounge performer has always included some country songs, her appearances at LB1 (located at the former Library III restaurant on the Black Horse Pike) will not vary from the genre.

“This is the first time in a long time that I’ve been able to do a night of pure country,” she adds excitedly.

Tinnon is also rereleasing her full length debut CD, “All Wound Up.” The title track, which was co-written by Tinnon, is backed by several classic tunes. “Blackbird,” “I’m in the Mood for Love,” and “Let’s Stay Together” are included along with several other songs, but the real draw are the new bonus cuts. Tinnon draws from her experience as a backup singer for Kenny Roger’s Christmas show, presenting four newly recorded holiday tunes as bonus tracks.

“Originally I was only going to do two,” she explains. “But I had a hard time narrowing them down.”

Although “All Wound Up” is available for download on Tinnon’s website, the Christmas bonus tracks are only found on physical copies of the CD.

The Christmas songs aren’t the only reason to trade in your worn out copy of “All Wound Up,” though. The flip side of the CD will be a DVD presentation of Tinnon’s recent performance at Dante Hall. Titled “A Night at the Speakeasy,” the video bares more resemblance to her lounge acts than her recent country performances. Subtitled “A Musical and Educational Journey from the 1920s to Prohibition,” the show features the music and personalities of the bootlegging era.

Presented chronologically, Tinnon says “I talk about what was going on at the time, with slides interwoven with the dialogue.”

Bing Crosby, Mickey Mouse, the Oscars and others spotlight what the singer refers to as “a classic decade, with lots of neat things happening at the time.”

Coming Up: See her live 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 12, at LB1 in Egg Harbor Township.

 

Beth Tinnon: 'A Night at the Speakeasy'

Sassy singer/songwriter Beth Tinnon brings back to Dante Hall her classy musical retrospective on the decade known 
as the Roaring ’20s.

By Ray Schweibert
Add CommentAdd Comment|Comments: 0|Posted Jan. 9, 2013

Share this Story:

Beth Tinnon

Unlike such variables as song selection, expertise of contributing musicians, commitment to authenticating video backdrops, wardrobe, stage settings and other components, timing is not always something Beth Tinnon, or anyone else, can control.

But when the popular local singer/songwriter first debuted her many-sided show called A Night at the Speakeasy: A Musical Journey through the ’20s, her timing was impeccable in one regard, a bit less so in another.

Tinnon premiered the production to an appreciative audience at Dante Hall in June 2009, right around the same time the pilot episode for another retrospective on Prohibition-era America was picked up by HBO.Boardwalk Empire has since won 12 Emmy awards and counting, in addition to other international awards and nominations. (Volumne One of the show'ssoundtrack also racked up a Grammy Award.)

In the latter case, Tinnon’s one-night production was seen on the same night a Grammy-winning jazz vocalist/pianist headlined in Atlantic City.

“I story-booked it and put everything together, and only then did I notice: ‘Oh my goodness, Diana Krall is in town on the exact same night,'” says Tinnon.

Regardless, A Night at the Speakeasy was extremely well received — so much so that Tinnon tweaked it a bit and strategically brought it back as a unique entertainment option for those who enjoy the resort town during the off-peak seasons. It was originally scheduled for November but pushed to Saturday, Jan. 12, at Dante Hall (8pm) by Hurricane Sandy.

“There’s a lot of change going on in Atlantic City, and I thought why not provide something for the folks who are still here?” says Tinnon.

“There are still quite a few people coming to Atlantic City this time of year who are not just here to gamble, and for some it may be the only time of year they can afford to go away on vacation. I understand there’s a smaller percentage of people coming this time of year, but I’d like to think we could still try to offer something to them that’s educational, culturally relevant and entertaining at the same time.”

Tinnon never goes away during the summer months herself since that is when resort-town entertainers make most of their money. It was when she used to do a jazz gig at the former Top of the Trop that she was inspired to write and produce A Night at the Speakeasy, as she began delving, more out of curiosity than anything, into the history of some of the jazz numbers she was covering and the artists who originally performed them.

“I tweaked it this time around — I added a couple of things and changed a couple of songs,” she says.

“The arrangements are a little tighter, which I’m pretty excited about. There’s dialogue that goes along with every song, usually in the beginning but sometimes in the middle. The songs progress in chronological order through the ’20s and I’ll talk about what was going on at the time as far as the architecture, gangsters, crime and the St. Valentine’s Day massacre, women voting for the first time in the national election, the Great Depression. But the whole thing that ties everything together is Prohibition.

“[The dialogue] helps the audience establish a relationship between some of the people who wrote many of the songs they’re likely familiar with, but maybe not always with the artists themselves,” she adds. “[The format] works especially well in a small, intimate theater like Dante Hall, which is my favorite kind of venue to play. It’s just big enough [seating about 240] where you can get a nice-sized audience and also get that buzz, that vibe that’s such a part of the room.”

And once again, Tinnon has surrounded herself with a quartet of musicians who are not only among the best the Atlantic City area has to offer, but anywhere. Their collective pedigrees, based on formal training and those they have toured with or backed up in recording studios, reads like a who’s who among musical legends of modern times. They include Andy Lalasis on upright bass, Jeff Turner on piano, Harry Himles on drums, and John Guida on tenor sax, clarinet and flute.

“They are all sensational,” says Tinnon. “We do a four-song Duke Ellington tribute and those guys are just cooking [on the first three], and I’ll come in and join them on the fourth.”

The production includes three costume changes. Among the period-appropriate dresses Tinnon wears is one she traveled up to a New York City vintage shop to purchase. An aficionado of antiques, Tinnon adorned the stage set with some of her own memorabilia, including an authentic [although not functional] 1920s radio.

“I love antiques. When I was moving out on my own my mom would always find things and say ‘oh look what I found for you to put in your music room.’ I have an upright piano my father purchased — an old player piano from the 1920s that someone had gutted and shellacked — it was awful. When I moved up here and started getting steady work I had it refurbished, and now it looks like it just came out of the factory.”

Among the genres of music A Night at the Speakeasy embodies are country (catapulted into popularity in the mid-1920s by the Grand Ole Opry radio broadcast, which originates from Tinnon’s home town of Nashville, Tennessee) and gospel, also made widely popular by radio in the 1920s.

“In the country section I wanted to touch more on the recording industry and bringing country music to the airways, and the Carter Family was synonymous with that,” says Tinnon. “So this time we decided to do ‘Circle Be Unbroken,’ which is actually a song that I grew up singing and know like the back of my hand.”

The final song is a gospel number for which Tinnon enlisted the help of high school children from the Charter Tech School for the Performing Arts in Somers Point.

“It’s a number that is designed to lift people’s spirits after the Great Depression,” says Tinnon, “and one that sort of captures the essence of our coming together as a nation by trusting in one another, and leaning on our faith.”

 

EVENT INFO

Saturday, Jan. 12, 8pm

Stockton’s Dante Hall Theater, 14 N. Mississippi Ave., Atlantic City

$20 adults, $18 seniors and 
Stockton students (with ID)

For tickets visit stockton.edu/dante 
or call 347-2162


RELATED ARTICLE: THE MUSIC OF BOARDWALK EMPIRE

RELATED ARTICLE: BOARDWALK EMPIRE WINS A GRAMMY

RELATED ARTICLE: THE SOPHIE TUCKER OF 'BOARDWALK EMPIRE'

 

A.C. singer Beth Tinnon puts the 1920s back in style with show at Dante Hall Saturday

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size
Promo-300x250-ACInsidersRestaurantAdPromo-300x250-ACInsiders Facebook Promo

Posted: Monday, January 7, 2013 2:22 pm

From flappers to Prohibition, from the opening of the Grand Ole Opry to the first Walt Disney cartoons and the stock market crash of 1929, the 1920s were a decade of decadence and history.

For singer/songwriter Beth Tinnon, it was a decade ripe with material for a new, original stage show. For Atlantic City, basking in the spotlight of the “Boardwalk Empire” craze, the timing couldn’t be better.

“I had a lot of experience from working in Nashville,” recalls Tinnon, well known in the area for her popular headlining act at the former Top of the Trop lounge inside Tropicana Casino and Resort. “I was involved in a show at Opryland … doing four shows a day, all year long. You tend to learn a lot of things doing that … how a show comes together, how the crowd responds. You have a certain formula, you know? And I thought, ‘You know, I can do this. I can write my own show.’”

So, Tinnon did just that.

“A Night at the Speakeasy” first premiered at Atlantic City’s Dante Hall Theater in June 2009. The show — rescheduled from an October date following Hurricane Sandy — will return to Dante Hall 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 12. The show runs about 75 minutes.

Tinnon, who describes her sound as a soulful mix of country and jazz, has toured with country greats such as Kenny Rogers and worked alongside stars such as John Rich of Big & Rich and Lonestar. She also appeared in the off-Broadway version of “Always, Patsy Cline.”

Now, as Tinnon, who also directed “A Night at the Speakeasy,” prepares to take the Dante Hall stage yet again, she is reflective on what brought her to this point.

“I did the show at Dante Hall about three years ago, and I loved the music of the ’20s,” Tinnon says. “Being from Nashville, I already knew about the Grand Ole Opry opening in the 1920s. So, that kind of spiked my interest (in creating a stage show). When I recorded my CD, I did a couple of Cole Porter tunes. It all inspired me ... and then after ‘Boardwalk Empire’ on HBO, people began getting more interested in that era. It was really weird how it all fell into place.”

“A Night at the Speakeasy,” Tinnon says, is a chronological journey through the decade, touching on each major event while weaving in what was happening in the country musically. The show walks the audience through a bit of a 1920s history lesson — in an entertaining way — touching on everything from the introduction of Mickey Mouse, the first films with sound (known as “talkies”), the first Ford Model T and the fashion styles and dance crazes of the era, including the Charleston. The show also includes a tribute to Duke Ellington, performed by Tinnon’s live, four-piece band. Throughout the show, a 74-photo slideshow can be seen in the background, with images Tinnon researched and put together.

“It just wrote itself, really,” Tinnon says of the show. “I did a lot of research. I went back and went online and found slides that go along with what I was writing about.”

The show, Tinnon says, is fun and fast-paced. The best part, she says, is that audiences will walk away not just entertained, but learning something.

“And here’s the great thing too — it’s family friendly,” Tinnon says. “Yes, I do touch on Prohibition briefly … but yet, in between, it’s a very educational show.”

Exploring the '20s A musical retrospective written and produced by Beth Tinnon visits Dante Hall this Saturday evening By Ray Schweibert Add Comment|Comments: 1 |Posted Jun. 18, 2009 Beth Tinnon The musical birthplace of Beth Tinnon's versatile vocal talent was Nashville, Tenn., home of the renowned country radio program Grand Ole Opry, which first hit the airwaves in the middle of what was arguably the most exhilarating, influential and tumultuous decade of the 20th century -- the 1920s. Tinnon expanded her country-music roots to include jazz and contemporary classics, singing with various ensembles in and around Atlantic City since relocating here from Nashville in September 2000. Recently she started delving deeper into the history of some of the jazz numbers she'd perform at the former Top of the Trop, and currently every Wednesday evening at Cape May's Congress Hall Brown Room. "Before The Quarter opened [at the Tropicana, where she presently performs a variety of styles at the Tango Lounge most Monday nights] I did a lot of jazz at the Top of the Trop," says Tinnon. "It came to my attention that many of the songs I loved to play then, and many of the artists whose songs I perform today, originated in the 1920s. That sparked my interest in exploring and researching more about the songs and who wrote them, and what was going on in the nation at that time." The "roaring '20s," as they were called, inspired Tinnon to write and produce a show called A Night at the Speakeasy -- a Musical Journey Through the 1920s, which will be presented this Saturday, June 20, starting 8pm at Dante Hall Theater of the Arts. "The '20s was such a neat decade, from the flappers age to art deco to what was happening in architecture -- so many interesting things took place back then," she says. "Prohibition was a noble experiment that we all know didn't work, and while it was in effect [1920-'33] there were over 100,000 speakeasies in New York City alone. Then came the St. Valentine's Day Massacre, [in Chicago] which was followed by a conference of mob bosses held in Atlantic City in 1929." A Night at the Speakeasy Where: Dante Hall, 14 North Mississippi Ave., A.C. When: Saturday, June 20, 8pm (doors open 7:15pm) How Much: $20 Details: The show revisits historical aspects of 1920s through music, costume changes, stage design and a video backdrop. On the Web: dantehall.org or bethtinnon.com Backing up Tinnon's vocals during A Night at the Speakeasy will be Lisa Tee on piano, Andy Lalasis on bass, Harry Himles on drums, and Steve Lombardelli on tenor sax, clarinet and flute. Tee is also the show's musical director. There will be three costume changes during the production that reflect the whirlwind fashion trends of the era, and an authentic stage set and video backdrop produced by Ryan Long of the Riddlesbrood Theater Company. Prior to Tinnon's final costume change, a choir directed by Drew Harvey will perform a Duke Ellington medley that will include songs that helped spawn "The Charleston" dance craze among others in the '20s. The first part of the show kicks off with the famous "Foxtrot" number "Ain't We Got Fun?" and will lead into a tribute to legendary blues pioneer Bessie Smith. It will include the songs "My Man" (popularized by Fannie Brice in the Ziegfield Follies, and later made famous by Barbra Streisand in the film Funny Girl), "Lovesick Blues" (later covered by Hank Williams), and two '20s songs popularized by Al Jolson -- "Blue Skies" and "April Showers." The show will include the 1927 Gene Austin hit "My Blue Heaven" and the Cole Porter sensation "Let's Do It, Let's Fall In Love." A song that Mickey Mouse (created in 1928 by Walt Disney) helped popularize when he crooned it to sweetheart Minnie, called "I Can't Give You Anything But Love, Baby," will be part of the set list, as will a blues standard written by Jimmy Cox in 1923 and covered by Eric Clapton, among others, called "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out." That rather melancholy ballad will precede an upbeat gospel hit from the '20s, says Tinnon, which will conclude the show. "We'll come out of that rather sad moment into a nice gospel number that will lift people's spirits, which is sort of indicative of the times," she says. "The hardships of the Depression left most people down and out, but we pulled together as a nation by leaning on one another and trusting in our faith."

Seascape & Song


A clone of the classic supper-club vibe, the Beth Tinnon Piano Duo provides dining entertainment with a panoramic view at Blue Water Grille.

By Ray Schweibert
Add Comment Add Comment|Comments: 0|Posted Jun. 19, 2014

Share this Sto

ATLANTIC CITY — Like other artists in high demand during the summer months, Nashville-born singer/songwriter Beth Tinnon never takes a vacation when the pickings for prime gigs are at their peak.

Her plate was already pretty full when she got word of an idea the recently renovated Blue Water Grille wanted to try out on the seventh floor of the Flagship Resort, overlooking the Absecon Inlet and Brigantine island. Fashioned around a Saturday night supper-club format, it was similar to a jazz gig Tinnon used to do at the former Top of the Trop — a sort of throwback format that later inspired Tinnon to write her multi-faceted musical called A Night at the Speakeasy that, thus far, has made two successful runs at A.C.’s Dante Hall.

Teaming with pianist Jeff Turner — part of the talented quartet that backed her up in Speakeasy — the Beth Tinnon Piano Duo plays a free gig every Saturday night (7-10pm) through September at Blue Water Grille. Their repertoire covers artists like Sinatra, Michael Buble, Diana Krall, Norah Jones, Billy Joel, Elton John, Lionel Richie, and sees romantic numbers from a compilation CD Tinnon made occasionally tossed in.

“Sometimes I’ll mix in some adult-contemporary and pick it up with a Michael Jackson, George Benson or a Quincy Jones kind of arrangement, the kind of music you might hear on light-rock stations,” says Tinnon, a five-time "Casino Lounge Act of the Year" winner in AC Weekly’s annual Reader’s Choice Nightlife Awards. “We start at 7 so it’s before the sun goes down, and you can see all the boats coming back in. It’s just like the Top of the Trop but not so high up, so you really get a nice view of everything going on down below.

“They made it a bit more upscale and brought in a wonderful chef with a great menu — it’s like a dinner theater-type show you might see at the Rainbow Room in New York [a supper club on Rockefeller Center’s 64th floor that opened after the repeal of Prohibition in 1934].  It’s the only thing like it in Atlantic City, and I think Atlantic City needs a room like that — a place where concierges can send people who might be looking for a nice sunset with a dinner show-type atmosphere.” 

Beth Tinnon Piano Duo 

Blue Water Grille, Flagship Resort
60 N. Maine Ave., Atlantic City
Saturdays, 7-10pm. No cover, free parking.