Introducing Love’s Proxy to a full house at Walden’s Coffeehouse, Tacy Traverso exclaimed, “They kick big booty!” She may be partial as the opening act and younger sister of lead guitarist, Gabriel Traverso. But when they opened with lead singer Lenora Graham’s sultry rendition of “Ain’t No Sunshine,” Love’s Proxy immediately removed any suspicion that Tacy’s enthusiasm was mere sisterly devotion.
Though the band is less than a year old, Love’s Proxy members have previously worked together in a variety of other projects. Rhythm guitarist J.F. Skipper ("Skip") and bassist Dave Sanders played in the Smokin’ Franklins. Sanders also played in Transfer with drummer Josh Damon, who worked with Traverso on his solo album projects.
Josh and I click instantly on rhythm stuff,” Sanders explains.
Less than six degrees separation may exist between various band members, but Love’s Proxy suffers none of the claustrophobia that often plagues long-term relationships. “We’re on the same page of different books,” Sanders quips.
A fourth-generation Brooklynite who followed her heart to Reno, Graham is still adjusting to living “out West.” This is reflected in her moody, surreal “Elastic Reality,” in which an eerie guitar solo evokes an isolated landscape with “no expressway home.” While the high desert may be unfamiliar territory for Graham, she’s at home musically on the stage. Her vocals have the right mix of soul and moxie whether she’s going solo or singing the blues with Skipper. Affirming screams erupted from the crowd during her intense duet with Tacy on Damien Rice’s “Volcano.”
Love’s Proxy draws from diverse musical influences and personal tastes, ranging from Skipper’s Austin blues roots to Graham’s opera training and traditional jazz background with plenty of solid rock and roll in between.
“Musically, we all know each other so well we take chances on stuff that we normally wouldn’t take chances on,” Gabriel Traverso explains. Adept at shifting gears without losing intensity, Love’s Proxy pushes the limits whether collaborating on a blues improv or taking a Bo Diddley cover tune and making it their own.
“I especially like the fact that anything goes, musically,” says Damon.
Graham says the group’s collaboration provides a broad perspective.
“None of us are musically egotistic,” she says. Original songs from their demo CD embrace the full spectrum of amour. Skipper’s smooth lead vocals on his “Nothing to Say” contrast the building intensity of the edgy guitar and percussion, which hint at the turmoil underlying a relationship that is all but ended. At the opposite end of the relationship spectrum, Traverso’s “Wake Up” is an up-tempo promise of uncompromising love to come.
Yes, the group is aware they share their moniker with the title penned by 18th century French writer, Richard Bagot. Though Bagot’s portrait graces their Web site, they haven’t read his book—they’re too busy rehearsing.
Recently, Graham acquired a vibraphone, which resembles a xylophone but has motor-driven resonators to produce a vibrato. She’s eager to incorporate its tones into their repertoire. For now, the band expects to stay close to home and play local clubs with plans to work on a live CD later in the fall.