Lounge singer continues in the Vegas tradition
By Bob Kostanczuk Post-Tribune correspondent September 12, 2013 9:20AM

Jim Bulanda is a singer from Lake County who performs a Las Vegas-style act. He performs Saturday afternoon at Blue Chip Casino, Hotel & Spa in Michigan City, and then moves on to an evening performance the same day at Amore Ristorante in Crown Point.

Martini culture has been good to Jim Bulanda.
Crooning Frank Sinatra tunes and other lounge fare keeps the Crown Point-area singer hopping.
Right now, I
m doing approximately 260 shows a year, Bulanda said this month.
m always busy.
The 58-year-old vocalist will carry on with his swank offerings from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. Saturday in Rocks lounge at Blue Chip Casino, Hotel & Spa in Michigan City.
Known for capturing the style of Ol Blue Eyes, Bulanda has a repertoire that also affords the chance to mimic other easy-listening favorites.
I m doing Tony Bennett, I m doing Neil Diamond, I m doing Michael Buble, I m doing Johnny Mathis ... Billy Eckstine, Bulanda noted. There s probably around 12 or 15 different voices I m doing now.
Among them is Dean Martin.
Bulanda sings to the accompaniment of prerecorded instrumental music.
A sort of self-contained entertainment system is thus created through the help of what he calls studio-recorded, full orchestra tracks.

But audiences get here-and-now vocals: There
s no lip-syncing.
Although Bulanda basically works in Indiana, his talents are sometimes on display away from Hoosier turf.
I did a show in Dallas, Texas, recently,
he said.
His out-of-state appearances have also included performances in Las Vegas, St. Louis and Arizona.
Locally, Bulanda plans to unload a lot of singing on Sept. 14 by following his appearance at Blue Chip Casino with an engagement that same day from about 7 to 10 p.m. at Amore Ristorante on the courthouse square in Crown Point.
Another Northwest Indiana spot to catch Bulanda is Buddy & Pal s Place on Summit Street in Crown Point.
He has been a Wednesday-night regular for quite a while, catering to an older clientele.
He s a great draw, said Chad Kulavick, general manager of the Buddy & Pal s nightspot in Crown Point. He s the closest thing you ll find to Sinatra in the region.
Buddy & Pal s has been bringing Bulanda back for several years now.
He has a presence, Kulavick assured. He s good with the crowd.
Bulanda continues to find a market for his Vegas-style lounge music, which undoubtedly appeals to the senior citizen set, but likewise carves a niche with more youthful generations.
m even starting to attract the younger crowd now, the singer related. I m starting to get people coming in that are in their 40s, and even some younger than that. I think more of the younger crowd are starting to catch on to it.
Bulanda s solid career is aided by the deep and enduring musical catalog of Sinatra that he draws from.
Theme from New York, New York - that snazzy ode to the Big Apple - is one of the legend s tunes that is particularly popular with Bulanda s audiences.
That always goes over well, Bulanda said.
Another Sinatra song that he heavily relies on is Fly Me to the Moon.
Bulanda is a Midwest guy who makes money by evoking the dapper world of nightclubs and cocktail hangouts.
Bulanda says he lives in an unincorporated area just west of Crown Point, but spent teen years in Illinois, where he was a 1973 graduate of Bloom Township High School in Chicago Heights.
His own biographical material states that he started singing at the age of 7 to entertain his large Italian family.

Slowly evolving into a vocal impressionist, Bulanda has gone on to perform at Chicago sites that include the East Bank Club and the legendary Pump Room. He s also sampled the symphonic realm through performances with the Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra.
Best known for his
Tribute to Frank, Bulanda steps outside of his salute to the Chairman of the Board by mixing in songs of the 1950s and 60s -- and even the 70s.
Being a crooner has turned out to be a successful job.
I don t have any plans of retiring, Bulanda said.