Tidewater Women’s Fran Ward talked with Gina Dalmas (GD) early one weekend morning.
TW: Gina, thanks for agreeing to an interview during daylight. I know this is outside of normal honky-tonk hours! What is a honky-tonk anyway?
GD: (laughing) It’s ok! Honky-tonks are bars where country music is most popular— in the South and Southwestern US.
TW: Please, tell the readers of Tidewater Women who you are.
GD: I am a musician, originally from Raleigh, North Carolina; but I’ve been in Hampton Roads about 15 years, and I'm glad to make it home. It’s definitely my home now.I’m very lucky to be playing with a group of great musicians.
TW: Where did the name of your band come from?
GD: It was a group effort; we had a lot of fun coming up with “Gina Dalmas and the Cow Tipping Playboys.”
TW: I had to lookup Cow Tipping. I’ve lived on farms with cattle, and cow tipping was always a standing joke. Cows stand; they’re not pushovers. Cow tipping is not even an urban myth, it’s a rural myth.
GD: Exactly. It’s physically impossible. A cow would just shuffle aside, but can’t be tipped. But it worked for our name.
TW: When did you know you are a musician? Who are your influences? Where does your style come from? What makes you sound like you?
GD: It comes from a combination of things. I had lots of early influences. My father loved old country music; we always listened to it at home in North Carolina. Then I went on to like rock and roll, then jazz. In college I majored in French horn and classical music.
Music has always been a part of me. I was lucky. My mother never pursued music, but she had me learn piano. In school I was in musical theatre. Then I played trumpet, then French horn. My parents didn’t play, but they loved music. My father contended he was tone deaf. My brother, who was into rock & roll, convinced me to learn guitar when I was 12 or 13.
TW: Who are some of your musical heroes?
GD: I love Hank Snow, Loretta Lynn, Chrissie Hynde (even though she’s rock & roll), Wanda Jackson, Johnny Cash, of course. The other musicians have their favorites.
TW: Who are the others? How long have you been together?
GD: I'm lucky to play with excellent musicians (bassistChris May, drummer Gabe Baesen, and guitarist Greg Wikle). We’ve been together 6 or 7 years. We always have so much fun. We rehearse together once a week and practice on our own, too. Everyone is dependable. That is so rare!
TW: How would you describe the sound of “Gina and the CTP?”
GD: We’re that old sound, not modern country. We try to get it right, but not polished to perfection. We try to make it heartfelt—with our little twist.
TW: You range from the sound of heartbreak and Patsy Cline’s cover “She Got You” to a gravelly sound of “Highway to Hell” and everything in-between.
TW: Your awards are well-deserved! 2015, 2014, 2013 and the 2012 Veer Award for Best Country Artist, 2009 Portfolio Award for Best Americana Music, and 2009 Meona Award for Best New Alt-Country Artist!You’re an award-winner now, but where did you get your start? When did you first go pro?
GD: I was paid by the Symphony. When they needed a French horn player to fill in, they would contact a professor at the university.
TW: It all started by being in the right place at the right time and following your path?
TW: Readers can see where life has taken you at Sandler Center's “Out of the Box” Emerging Artist Series, supporting local artists. The event is in collaboration with Paul Shugrue from “Out of the Box” on 89.5 WHRV.What are you emerging from?
TW: What are you emerging into?
GD: A welcoming community. We’ve always had a good response, and something like this introduces us to new audience members. That’s exciting for us.
TW: You've been described as an Indie singer. Indie has many meanings. I like the definition: being in control of your own future. You started singing by yourself, then with a band. You take one step at a time. We’ll see where you go next!
What would you like the readers of Tidewater Women to know?
GD: Hopefully they know it already, but there’s nothing you can’t do. Sometimes working in a male-dominated field helps you grow and open up and expand. It can be rewarding; it’s exhausting and exhilarating!
TW: Yes! As women we have to prove ourselves all the time. And we do!Is there anything you would like to add?
GD: The Tidewater area is really trying to open itself up to more art. I’m very appreciative and hope it continues. There are a lot of great artists musically and visually. There’s great theatre out there! I hope people will continue to embrace it and support it. And we appreciate Tidewater Women for doing the same. Thank you, Tidewater Women, for interviewing!
TW: Gina, I’ll look forward to seeing you at the Sandler Center. I hope many readers will be there!
“GinaDalmas and the Cow Tipping Playboys”, February 17, 2016, 6 – 9pm, Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, 201 Market Street, Virginia Beach • 757-627-8551 (free/open to the public)
“GinaDalmas and the Cow Tipping Playboys” website: http://ginadalmas.com