Homegrown talent hoping for hit with nostalgic song about Louisiana

Published 8:44 am Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A young woman from Bogalusa recently hit the local radio airwaves with a song that told of her passion for living in Louisiana.

Annie Gambino sang “Louisiana Livin’,” on WNOE’s Country 101 on Friday, June 6. It embodied all the best aspects of living in Louisiana. The song was written by her father, Tony Gambino, who owns Bino’s Seafood Restaurant in Bogalusa.

“If I had to describe (the song) in one word, I’d say it’s Louisiana,” the 20-year-old Annie Gambino said. “It’s everything I’ve loved and missed about home. The song talked about snoballs, the best football team in the world — the New Orleans Saints — the second best football team in the world — the LSU Tigers — fishing and sitting there getting my hands dirty eating crawfish, and of course, the best thing about Louisiana is Mardi Gras.”

Annie Gambino just completed her sophomore year at Young Americans College of Performing Arts in Corona, Calif. She participated in a 41/2-month summer tour with the Young Americans earlier this year and also performed in Europe in 2013.

“When I came home from Germany and the tour, my dad asked me if I wanted to do a demo for him,” Annie said. “We did two demos — one with him singing for a guy and one with me singing for a girls. When we got to the end of the track, the producer told me to improv. We had more music than we had words.”

“Louisiana Livin’ ” was recorded Aug. 24, 2013, at The Studio in the Country in Varnado.

“What makes this so special for us is that my brother, David, plays sax on the recording,” Annie said. “It’s a family effort with the help and support of local musicians.”

Along with her brother, band members backing up Gambino included Keenan Knight, guitar and accordion; Herchel Dellingham, piano and drums; David Hyde, bass; Thomas Jenkins, fiddle; Miles Lyons, tuba and baritone; Harry Mortor, trumpet; and Lisa Miles, backup vocalist.

Annie Gambino said the song generated 175 likes on WNOE’s Facebook page, along with 142 shares. She said her personal Facebook page generated more than 100 shares and more than 200 posts. She said from Friday, June 6, to Monday, June 10, she had more than 9,700 views on YouTube.

“All I did was post her link to WNOE’s Facebook page,” Tony said. “The station’s operations manager asked me to send them a copy of her song. He was positive and excited about the song.”

Annie said she hoped the song becomes popular throughout the state.

“We’re excited and we’re hoping (WNOE) will continue to play it,” Annie said. “We’re hoping Louisiana will accept it. I literally haven’t promoted my song at all. It’s just been crazy how much feedback I’ve gotten by not even saying a word (about it).

Tony Gambino said the words to the song came about from a conversation he had with his wife, Lennice.

“Driving into work one day, the words ‘there’s no place I’d rather be/Louisiana livin’ is fine with me’ popped into my head. I said ‘that sounds like a song there,’” said Tony.

“I’m hoping this song takes off for my dad because he’s always writing music,” Annie said. “It’s his passion and his dream. And it’s my dream to perform, so we make a pretty good team.”

Annie said she planned on finishing requirements for her bachelor’s degree in general studies with a focus on musical theater. She said she planned on remaining in Bogalusa to see how the song fares.

Fans can download the song on iTunes or purchase a CD on CD Baby.com. They can also pick it up at Bino’s Seafood Restaurant at 1101 S. Columbia St. in Bogalusa.

“I have so many options for the future,” Annie said. “I’m a big musical theater person, so my dream is to be on Broadway, but I like every aspect of the arts. Just to be able to do what I love to do is what I plan to do any way possible, no matter what comes.”