Andy's problem: Too good for his own good
Last issue, the guy who writes the column to the right of mine and I scrambled to bring you a accurate and relevant cross-section of the Charlottesville music scene. Judging by empty Hook boxes up and down the town, the "Sonic Boom" issue was a success.
Unfortunately, we could not cover everyone who deserved recognition. In retrospect, we didn't get close. The task is rather difficult considering the breadth of talent in this little 'ville.
One man who has given his music and his soul to Charlottesville time and again unabashedly is Andy Waldeck. The depth of his musical understanding has given him the freedom to dabble in hard rock (Earth To Andy), funk (The X Porn Stars), and new age (The Civilians).
Whereas many blessed with the wealth of experience are forced to reinvent themselves over time, Waldeck casually swims through the tributaries between genre pools in order to challenge himself and his fans to a new way of thinking and listening.
One of his many hats is that of acoustic muse. Andy has proven over the years to be one hell of a singer-songwriter. His recent involvement with Starr Hill for the Songwriters Workshop series has done wonders for bringing together the song writing community. So intense is his passion for the art that he has released an acoustic EP recorded in Charlottesville's new recording Mecca, Crystalphonic.
The EP entitled Offering is just that: six songs of psalms dedicated to the most recent leg of his journey though life. From the first track, it's evident that these tunes were written as a catharsis, a necessary good, for a man who has been down the road and back again and survived with few scars and an open heart.
The album opens with "Angel" followed by "Stars," both heartfelt songs about his soul mate. Each includes infectious hooks that, if not careful, will get stuck in your mind for days. The highlight is "Love Has Spoken," a beautifully crafted collaboration with sometimes X Porn Star Tevis Marshall on keys. The closing track ,"Victory March," pulses semi-Latin strumming and features Andy singing like an all-American mariachi. I listened to "Victory March" on repeat without tiring of it. The über emotional song left me with the taste of inspiration in my mouth.
Andy has always been a phenomenal guitarist. "Offering" gives us a chance to pay extra attention to just how gifted he is. I could go on for days about his technique, chord choice, and arrangement, or the accuracy with which he hits every note, the clarity of his words, the way he delicately intertwines it all. That would just reinforce my fan status. But I'm also a critic.
In that role, it hurts me to make this assessment of the album: Offering is almost too good. It lacks the very human element of error. The recording is polished to a blinding shine, the playing so immaculate it lacks spontaneity. Depending on the listener, that can be a very small or a very big thing.
In Andy's case, I believe that if being good is wrong, he doesn't want to be right. I'm not hating on him, by any means. As a matter of fact, you'll probably see me at the next Songwriters Workshop at Starr Hill July 9 where Andy will perform his new material. In the live setting, I'm sure that all the human elements lost in the recording will be on dazzling display.