Enigmatic Shanneyganock frontman Chris Andrews serves up rootsy folk in his sophomore solo outing, A Bit of Wear and Tear
It took 14 long years for Chris Andrews to follow-up his award-winning solo outing, By The Hush. Not that the stalwart of our traditional Newfoundland music scene was idle, mind you. No, the businessman and life-long musician and song-smith doesn’t know the meaning of stasis.
In that time-frame, Andrews and his bandmates in Shanneyganock released numerous releases and embarked on countless tours of the island and abroad, reinforcing their status as one of the last remaining travelling troubadours of our province.
Hit the Heartstrings
Yes, it took a decade plus four years and eight months, but as the adage goes, this album was worth the wait. A Bit of Wear and Tear is a decidedly folky and rootsy collection of covers (and an original or two) that hit the heartstrings in just the right places.
Andrews enlisted ace producer Craig Young and an all-star cast of guest musicians that includes Cory Tetford, Damhnait Doyle and fiddle extraordinare Jenee Fleenor (known for her work alongside Blake Shelton and Steve Tyler).
“These were the ten songs that I felt strongest about, that were in my mind, in my heart and in my voice,” shared Andrews in a stidown with The Newfoundland Herald. “Craig and the gang did a wonderful job on it.”
While there are twinges of traditional Newfoundland influences to be found on A Bit of Wear and Tear, long-serving fans should be cautioned that this is not a collection of tried-and-true shanties or kitchen party staples.
‘Mid Career Crisis’
“This is a different party,” Andrews says. “I think everybody has a stage in their life. Some would call it a mid-life crisis, so maybe this album is my mid-career crisis. Just a change is as good as the rest. It’s something different.”
From the rootsy and infectious cover of Paolo Nutini’s Candy (with a particularity impactful video created by Roger Maunder and Up Sky Down Films), and a more stripped down version of country star Hal Ketchum’s Past the Point of Rescue, this is a collection that underscores a period of time for Andrews, and one which packs a wallop of emotional significance.
“These are songs that over the last few years reflect that things have been different. Everything from my Dad passing away to one relationship ending and another starting, some guys who played in the band with us for a long time are gone and new ones are in and a lot of things are different. This was my way to say ok, let me do something different before I go back with the band of brothers and go at it again.”
The album is available now on digital and physical formats, including a personal favourite, and something of a milestone for Andrews, vinyl.
“I have no problem in saying the only reason I got that made into vinyl was so that me and Craig Young could say ‘we got a record,” Andrews laughs. “That says I’ve done ok in my music life, that I can afford to take a little bit of vanity and do that.”
Chris Andrews will officially release ‘A Bit of Wear and Tear’ at the Yellowbelly in St. John’s on Saturday April 28th.