Building on the tremendous success of his debut EP, western North Carolina based Americana singer-songwriter Andy Ferrell is back with his first full-length release: “At Home and in Nashville.” Assisted by an all star production team and cast of seasoned studio musicians, the new release delivers 12 brand new, finely crafted, genre defying original tunes ranging from Woody Guthrie inspired outlaw tales that conjure images of hundred year old six shooters and whiskey stained wanted posters, to pedal steel and fiddle laced honky-tonk, to heart felt, piano infused ballads capable of making even the most callous of listeners double take the sentimentality and heart felt honesty of the lyrics and musical arrangements.
Andy Ferrell grew up in the small Blue Ridge Mountain town of Boone, North Carolina, not far from the birthplace and home of his greatest musical influence, bluegrass/country/folk music legend Doc Watson. The multi-talented performer began performing his music in bars, honkytonks, and roadhouses in western North Carolina in February 2013 and by May he was playing full time. He launched his first solo tour in February, hitting coffeehouses and clubs everywhere from Nashville and throughout Tennessee to Missouri, Kansas and Texas. In Summer of 2014, Ferrell hit the road again, this time traveling as far west as LA and Seattle for a national tour backed by his trio, Oncoming Train. It was on this second tour that Ferrell met acclaimed producer Lance Bendiksen, who would go on to be a major component in the making of Ferrell’s new album.
Comprised half of songs recorded with a full band at historic Quad Studios- one of the last projects produced in the same room as classic albums such as Neil Young’s “Harvest” before the studio was remodeled- in Nashville, TN and half in front of a live audience in Ferrell’s hometown of Boone, NC, “At Home and In Nashville,” promises something for any fan of Americana and traditional music. “I love the way this collection of songs sounds very different from track to track, yet manages to remain a unified and consciously constructed piece of work,” says the 23 year old, who cites his guitar playing father’s love for a wide variety of music as the driving force behind his own passions. An integral part in the album’s creation was mixing engineer Snake Reynolds, who’s years of experience mixing and engineering for country music giants like Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, and George Jones made him an obvious choice to mix the Nashville sessions.
The very nature of the album, half live recordings and half from the studio, is a unique approach in itself and does an extraordinary job of illuminating Ferrell’s masterful songwriting from two unique and equally powerful perspectives. For instance, “Nobody to Answer To” sounds like it could have been a cover of a Bob Wills’ song, with its dynamite fiddle and pedal steel turnarounds laid over a country strong bed of slap bass, drums and electric guitar where as the very next track, “High Water Low Bridge,” features a solo acoustic performance with a guitar arrangement reminiscent of early-mid 20th century piedmont guitarists and quirky, blues/ragtime like lyrics.
“At Home and in Nashville” is a collection of highs and lows, of triumphs and failures of the human spirit. “Poor Man’s Son” is a heartbreaking tale of a life that has been lived countless times over, a tale of perpetual poverty and setbacks. “A major theme of this album is why people do the things they do, what has made them into who they are,” says Ferrell. On the opposite end of the spectrum, “Never Grow Tired of You,” is a somewhat apprehensive yet endearing love song that exudes a lighthearted sincerity enviable by songwriters twice his age. Ferrell has his sights set on putting together a new band for live shows and aims to return to touring in support of his new release.
This is a special collection of songs, channeling the old familiar voices while creating one that is brand new at the same time. Producer Lance Bendiksen sums it all up: “Andy is one of those writers that we come across only once or twice in a decade in this business. He paints a picture with his words and stories as good as anyone in the business. His music rolls along and supports his stories with well phrased and smartly written melodies. This is a great project and I see a classic recording being made right before our musical ears. A true gift.”