MP3 Jeff Andrew - Vagabonds & Wastrels
"A two-sided record on a one-sided disc, the album begins with familiar folk fare: love, drunks, killers and working-class heroes, before descending into an underworld of faeries, ghosts and madness." - BC Musician Magazine
13 MP3 Songs in this album (58:58) !
Related styles: FOLK: Anti-Folk, SPOKEN WORD: Storytelling
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With a voice like rusted steel creaking in the wind and a pawnshop''s worth of instruments at hand, Jeff Andrew sings like a hard-traveling vagabond spinning midnight madrigals with the ghosts of the modern world. For years he''s been a frequent sight on the highways and dusty backroads of North America, thumb to the sky and guitar case in hand. Now Andrew is releasing his first full-length album, Vagabonds & Wastrels, recorded in Victoria with engineer Corwin Fox.
"There''s something here for everybody," says Andrew. "Whether you''re a hardworking hobo struggling against the system, a heartsick pilgrim searching for love and freedom on the highway or a demon playing fiddle in the Devil''s string band, there''s a song or a story here for you."
The album is a patchwork of travel songs telling the story of a world filled with dreamers, freaks, poets and ghosts - the vagabonds who wander forgotten highways or live and die in places like Vancouver''s Downtown Eastside. Accordionist Larissa Ardis, harmony singers O''Mally and RadaR and trumpeter Shelder Footz appear and disappear in a swirling fog of banjo, fiddle, piano, harmonica and slide guitar, anchored by Andrew''s percussive acoustic guitar and the mad bowing of classical bassist Tobias Meis. Standouts include Rebel Girl, an epic work-song dedicated to the heroes of early 20th century labour battles and Truck Stop Wall, a haunting first-person ballad about the women who''ve disappeared from the Highway of Tears in Northern BC.
On Side 2 the album shifts into the world of dark fantasy. Rumbling bass drones, driving percussion and eerie soundscapes on tracks like Faerie Music and Shapeshifter (an atmospheric spoken word piece told by a mysterious drifter with a revelatory secret) set the stage for a nightmarish journey down the cobblestoned paths of the faerie underworld. "It could be the long-lost soundtrack to a play written by Tom Waits and H.P. Lovecraft, with set design by Brian Froud," says Andrew.
Born and raised in the Ottawa Valley, Andrew spent his high school years playing guitar, bass and drums in a series of classic rock and metal bands. Sometime around the turn of the century he traded in his Epiphone SG for an old backpack and hit the road. New instruments found him along the way: a battered acoustic guitar in a tree planting camp; an abandoned violin in the alley behind a pawnshop. His first dance with the music industry came in 2005 when he co-wrote the song "Dark, Now" with Sarah Noni Metzner (Best Solo Artist at the 2007 Canadian Folk Music Awards) and sang on her album Daybreak Mourning (Dog My Cat Records).
In the spring of 2008, Andrew hitchhiked from Vancouver, BC to St. John''s, NFLD with spoken word artist shayne avec i grec. As Ghosts of the Highway the pair performed a mix of original and traditional folk songs, spoken word and fiddle tunes to audiences across Canada. Andrew has also appeared at the ArtsWells and Robson Valley Music Festivals and shared stages with artists such as CR Avery, Rae Spoon and Geoff Berner. Live, he is a dynamic, engaging performer who frequently works straight from the floor, stomping his boots and belting like a born-again carnival barker. This winter he will be touring BC, Alberta and points east, appearing solo and with the Joey Only Outlaw Band, which he recently joined as a fiddler.