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For most of my life I have been fascinated by words and music. Whether a song is simple and traditional or experimental. Whether lyrical or instrumental, silly or serious, heavy or soft. Music has always kept me dreaming and excited about life's possibilities and how to set them to melody.
As a boy in the '80s, I grew up with the tapes and records my father would play for me. He was really interested in a variety of contemporary artists. We'd listen to The Doors, The Band, Harry Nilsson, John Prine, J. Geils, Ricki Lee Jones, Randy Newman, Pink Floyd, John Mayall, Bob Dylan, The Grateful Dead, The Georgia Satellites and countless others. He loved Delta Blues and anything that spawned from the 60s counterculture. Even classic Steve Martin comedy albums or the spatial melodies of Ray Lynch. He was a wonderful educator of the arts and taught me how to really listen to a song, albeit never a musician himself. As a result, I simply became captivated by Rock & Roll and all its subgenres. My dad would recall that, while most other 6-year olds were watching Sesame Street, I would hunker down in front of the box for a choice viewing of MTV's Top 20 Countdown each week. As I grew, my older sister exposed me to more popular artists of the time, like The Cure, Depeche Mode, Psychedelic Furs, and Paul Westerberg. When I was about fourteen years old I received my first acoustic guitar - a beat-up old Yamaha - and wrote my first song within the year.
““There’s always a sense of spontaneity when Andrew hits the stage… he makes me want to drink beer, clap my hands and dance. His sound is so distinctive and varied, he possesses the unique capability of evoking multiple responses: he’ll have listeners anywhere from swaying in the daisy fields to boot-stompin’ in the clubs.””
— Kyle Deven - OC Arts & Culture
My musical career began in Southern California back in 1998 as bass player in the Reggae/Hip-Hop band Badfish: a nine-piece group based out of Santa Ana. We recorded two albums at The B Room in Long Beach with producer Smokey One (Sublime, The Ziggens, Slightly Stoopid) amidst a non-stop circuit of parties, shows and music festivals. We had a big sound and the good fortune of performing alongside a lot of big artists. It was here where I was exposed to a wide array of instruments (bass, drums, guitars, keys, percussion, trombone, flugelhorn, and even turntables). Then in 2003, after a year-long overseas travel stint, I came home and formed the Indie/Pop outfit Handsome Grandpa along with friends Jay Akins and Ali Zakka (Ted Z. & The Wranglers), assuming the role of lead singer/songwriter/guitarist/keyboardist. Through 2010 we built strong artist friendships and a solid fan base, releasing two records with producers Lars Stalfors (Cold War Kids, Matt & Kim, The Mars Volta) and Jon O'Brien (Young The Giant, Brittany Myers, Moostache) and tirelessly wearing out local LA and Orange County haunts. After six years of continuous performing, we amicably sought out new individual projects. I welcomed the singer/songwriter in me, wrote some new songs, and went off on my own. In 2012, after two years of weekly residencies, I recruited six other companions (Ben Wagner, Rob Boyd, Jeni Watts, Morgan Burrell, Joel Meyer, and Daniel Blank… all brave and gentle characters, willing and skilled) to help bring my songs to life a little bit. Everyone felt right at home with the music, and thus Andrew & The Tall Ships of the North was born - a Folk/Americana septet featuring violin, lap-steel guitar, mandolin, upright bass, backup singers and a washboard. Also around that same time I started meeting with close pals Russell Long and Jonathon Staph. We were shaping an idea for a project called A Tale of Kings, which was to be a loose blend of old country acoustic mysticism and psychedelic improvisational rock & roll… a sort of "Grateful-Dead-meets-Fleet-Foxes" -type of sound. We wrote and recorded four songs, still yet to be released.
As a multi-instrumentalist and avid harmonica player, I continue to wear the hat of the session musician, both in the studio and onstage, having supported fellow artists Michael Rosas, Robert Jon & The Wreck, Russell Long, Micah Brown, Anesha Rose, Parker Macy, and The Dupp Brothers.
“ “Packing crunchy guitars and light-hearted soul, Andrew’s recordings are a mesh of attitude-inspired rock and roll and taut indie pop with warm, buoyant melodies. This couldn’t have come at a better time. The diversity from tracks such as the angst-driven ‘Fads’ to the charming lullaby-esque ‘Baby Girl’ to the old-time mountain sound in ‘The Year Quinn Brought Back The Sun’ makes for one incredible ride. He even lets us in on his flare for the comedic in ‘My Rocking Chair’ and ‘Giving Up My Pride.’ The appeal of his sound lies in his mix of good humor, sparkling soul and a folk simplicity that happily chases the colors of summer into the midnight bar scene. His music is as infectious as it is timeless. And it all lies within his irrepressible, natural ability and delivery; it’s just that simple. Quality songwriting and lyrical aptitude mixed with this welcoming, ancestral outlook on music and life has led to a strong foundation and will continue on the road to a limitless future for this whimsical troubadour.””
— Nate Jackson - OC Weekly
I currently live in Haiku, HI with my wife Brita and two beautiful baby daughters, Alabama and Ruby. I work happily from 'Three Trees Music Studio,' a boutique project studio on the property where we live. From here I record and produce music for myself and other artists.
Over the past sixteen years I have had the privilege of befriending so many creative and inspiring folks and sharing the stage with some amazing talents, for which I remain extremely grateful.