A universal thought that has surely been echoed by each and every one of us at some point in our lives; “Get me out of THIS place”
! Whether it’s a physical place or a career or a bad blind date, just the phrase alone allows one to envision that time you couldn’t wait for the situation to end. Portland based David Andrews wants you
to get OUT of that place too. On his newly released CD, David has concocted a comforting antidote with a palette of sanguinely desolate Americana that’s sure to make you solemnly gaze out a rain splattered window on a dreary day. A collection of songs sure to make you consider your alternatives.
Andrews’ wears his influences like a well worn coat with a vocal style and delivery reminiscent ofDavid GilmourandJackson Browneand fits right in the pocket with contemporary artists such asJoseph ArthurandJohn Oszajca. Upon hearing “Make Me Happy”, I entertained the bizarre idea of David Gilmour backed by the Jayhawks engaged in a version of Gilmour’s“There’s No Way Out of Here”and on the opener “Runnin' Away Again”, Andrews portrays yet another poet exposed, ready to startRunnin’ on Empty.
Musically, on record, Andrews is firmly entrenched in the roots rock realm but as evidenced by a recent swing through Los Angeles which found him at the ultra hip Luna Park, he also knows how to pull out all the stops. Though he primarily drew material from “Get Me Out”, Andrews did debut two new songs, one of which found David at his electric Rhodes in an emotionally laden outpouring called “My Invitation” which hinted at even better things yet to come. And from there, Andrews wasted no time in shifting the dynamic back into overdrive. Backed by Tim Donahue on drums (original drummer for Cherry Poppin’ Daddies) Chris Murphy on violin / mandolin and Ted Kamp on bass (Kamp and Murphy front a trio called Ponticello), he flashed his jamband badge and led the procession into the stratosphere. And feeding off of this cue, it didn’t take long for the enthusiastic crowd to put their boogie shoes to the test.
This is actually familiar ground for Andrews as he spent the majority of the 90’s touring relentlessly while putting out five releases as the lead singer ofCalobo, who are widely regarded as the Northwest’s top drawing live act, having opened for String Cheese Incident on various occasions. But, as I alluded to before, something on his path was amiss. A sign that he was ready to take a moment and get out of the space he had created came in 1996 when he released The Little Things EP. The EP received rave regional reviews but it wasn’t until 2000 that he finally released Get Me Out of This Place.
To help him get to another place, Andrews has assembled a superb cast of characters. This collective shines throughout with eloquent coloring that adds an extra layer to nurse the heartstrings that David touches with his lyrics. Evidence to this lies in the haunting title track and the album’s closer “Stitched in Wool”. On this track, Andrews laments “He sits quietly in the kitchen, in the dim light, drinks his coffee and gets stoned. Tea for two is something he won’t do this morning. He’ll be talking to himself. He won’t believe what he conceded. Hanging on the wall the burden Stitched in Wool. He won’t believe who he’s dancing with tonight cause Nancy’s gone and he’s dancing with a ghost”.
“Stitched in Wool” features vocals by Stephanie Schneiderman who is a pleasant mix between Emmylou Harris and Julie Miller. Stephanie sings back-up on most of the album and showcases as David’s alter ego on the reflective “Ballad of the Sad Café” and the seven-minute personal journey entitled “Mistress of the Moon”. Elsewhere the band blends up a hippie hippie shake on songs like “2,000 Miles” and “The Little Things” (which did not appear on the EP) which are sure to be embraced by both Phish fans and Dead Heads.
This album is direct in its investigation of the struggle that ensues when the frailty of the heart subliminally influences the decisions we sometimes make. Soon after the last strum of the guitar has faded away, I, too, am left to ponder the choices I’ve made in my life. What have I conceded? “ I Believe in the candle light on a dark stormy night”, I believe I need to get me out of this place. At least, up to the corner for a cup of coffee, so I can withdraw a little further within my thoughts as I search for The Little Things in life that Make Me Happy. One often has to glimpse deep inside the night to see the sun glowing outright.
Personnel: David Andrews: Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Rhodes; Chris Murphy: Mandolin, Fiddle; Ted Kamp: Bass; Sean Shacklett: Drums; Stephanie Schneiderman: Vocals; Spencer White: Congas, Percussion; Dan Balmer: Electric Guitar; Mike Walker: Hammond Organ; Chris Funk: Lap Steel.