Though she’s celebrating four years with her band this weekend, area resident Jeanne Zano has made music a main focus of her life since a very young age.
She began playing piano at the age of six, then started her foray into vocals in college. She’s been a part of local bands, most notably Flaxy Morgan, and, four years ago, she settled into the groove with a group of her own.
Things took off for the area native in 2005 when she won a vocal talent competition at the Wyoming County Fair, receiving the chance to open for country singer Jason Aldean in 2006. She was then asked back to the fair to open for Lorrie Morgan, which is when she met the singer’s keyboard player and producer Mark Oliverius.
Oliverius invited Zano to Nashville to record, where she then produced her 10-song album, “Here I Am,” finished in 2008.
Zano’s career began in country roots, though it has expanded into other genres.
“I’ve always liked country music; Patsy Kline was a favorite,” she began, “but right now, I wouldn’t say we’re exactly country. We’re bringing in a lot of rock and pop, mixing it up. We do throw in some Johnny Cash, but we also perform songs from Sugarland and Carrie Underwood.”
Zano is going to get back into the studio in June to record another album, one that she said will continue to stick with her sound now without being full-on country. She enjoys the eclectic sound because she believes it only helps build a stronger fan base.
This is what Zano calls a triple threat, covering the main musical bases.
“We call it the triple threat: the country, the rock, the pop,” she said. “You have to do that now, especially with the economy and trying to get people out. You need to be versatile and not only get them out, but make sure they stay.”
The band is also reaching out to masses via a phone app that works for both Android and iPhone that contains show dates, a way to upload fan photos, and songs to listen to, among other things.
Staying power is something the band certainly wields, especially considering the lineup has undergone several changes over the years. The band members are currently Gary Flanagan on lead/acoustic guitar, harmonica, mandolin, and vocals; Mike Dantone on bass; Bob Bartoli on lead guitar; and Joe Partash, who’s been with the band since the start, on drums.
Though member changes could potentially break a musical group apart, it hasn’t slowed Zano down.
“I have been fortunate enough to be successful and have a recognizable name and good reputation, so it seems I’m never lacking with people who I can work with,” she said.
“Honestly, I love playing music, and as long as I can do it, I will. My drive, my love of music has kept me moving on. There are a lot of amazing musicians in this area, and I’ve been fortunate enough to play with a lot of them, and I hope to continue to do so.”
With four years under her belt, Zano is looking forward to many more.
“I’d like to put more albums out, collaborate with more people, get out there and play music,” she said. “It’s getting tricky, of course, because I have two kids and they come first, but so far I’ve been very fortunate to work around their schedules. I mean, they’re involved with everything, but I still somehow do it.”
Anna, 8, and Adam, 10, enjoy seeing their mother on stage and have even started to get involved with her career.
“They’ve really gotten into the merchandise, when I have CDs or t-shirts to sell,” Zano said with a laugh, “and they get very upset when no one comes to their table.”