Next Friday night the Cell Block will rock 'n' roll with the rhythms and melodies of Gypsy Wisdom, a six-piece band hailing from Philadelphia that plays an array of cover songs - including pop, rock, R&B, alternative and country.
The band formed when Gypsy Wisdom's lead singer and her husband decided to start a new band.
"Most of us were working with Frank Annunziata and his booking agency, AEM Inc.," Courtney Jansen, lead singer of Gypsy Wisdom, said. "Myself, my husband (Danny), and Joey were in a previous band together. After a few auditions, we found the perfect fit with Joe and John. "
Once formed, this new band needed a name - one that was appropriate to the lifestyle and attitude of a group living on the road.
"My brother had mentioned the name to me years ago and I always dug the ring of it," she said. "When this project came about I thought it fit perfectly. I describe us as a pack of traveling gypsy musicians who pick up wisdom from city to city."
Although each member had experiences in bands playing original material as well as cover songs, Gypsy Wisdom chose the latter for the musical direction of the band. It was a pragmatic decision bred from necessity.
"The fact that there is an opportunity to make a living taking stages with people I consider family and playing music," she said. "What's to decide? It's a beautiful thing and we're all grateful to be able to do this full time."
"A few of us have and continue to write our own material, occasionally performing in original side projects," she said. "The main difference is the presentation. In my opinion, all cover band musicians do a bit of acting to sell a song in their way, while original music is an organic expression of the musicians' personal stories."
Onstage, Jansen is joined by her husband, Danny Gunz, on drums, rhythm guitar and vocals; Joey De Noble on rhythm guitar, lead vocals and drums; John Mangan on bass; and Joe Horak on lead guitar and vocals.
"We're an eclectic bunch, so we all have our roots that inspired our passion to pick up instruments and microphones - Whitney Houston, Led Zeppelin and Elvis to name a few," she said.
Gypsy Wisdom combines all those eclectic influences in a tight package of performance and showmanship when the group hits the stage to play.
"I always tell people that they have to be there to feel it," she said. "I think if you asked any of the band members, they would agree that it goes beyond the music. Chemistry is something that can't be forced. It's just there. This line up has it. We have a blast whether there are 100 people or a thousand."
One of the challenges facing a band that plays popular material from renowned artists is staying current and successfully adding new material to their repertoire.
"We stay up-to-date on modern tunes by choosing current hits that we feel play to the strengths of the band, while also playing classics that we fell in love with growing up," she said.
No strangers to Williamsport, Gypsy Wisdom calls the Cell Block a "band favorite."
"We've played a handful of shows at the best club in town, the Cell Block," she said. "It's always a blast when we travel to Wilpo. The crowds are always amped up and ready to rock the roof off the gallows."
According to Jansen, those crowds are treated to diverse material that lets different band members shine.
"Our guitarist, Joey De Noble, kicks into a college favorite, 'Hands Down' by Dashboard Confessional," she said. "The way that our drummer Danny orchestrates Madonna's 'Like A Prayer' is always a crowd pleaser as well."
"I just want to add that when we take the stage, we are home," she said. "Every show is like a house party with a swinging door open to anyone and everyone who wants to celebrate nothing and everything."
Gypsy Wisdom will perform at 10 p.m. Nov. 11 at The Cell Block, 154 W. Third St. For more information on Gypsy Wisdom, visit their Facebook page or www.coverbandcity.com /band.php?bid=130.