Singer, songwriter, guitarist, mandolinist, producer, and educator
Andy May continues a good run. By his twentieth birthday in 1969,
Andy had played Carnegie Hall and won the Grand Championship on
guitar at the fabled Union Grove North Carolina Old Time Fiddler's
Convention. His music has been heard around the world on
recordings and TV shows. In 2008, Swift River Music, the record label
Andy started and runs, received the IBMA Recorded Event of the
Year award for Everett Lilly & Everybody and Their Brother, to which
Andy also contributed mandolin playing and production skills.
Through the years Andy has appeared with artists as diverse as
Merle Haggard, Pete Seeger, Mike Seeger, Nickel Creek, Brownie
McGee and Sonny Terry, Tom Paxton, Jerry Jeff Walker, and many
others. He has been a regular performer and workshop leader at
MerleFest since 2001 and at "Winfield" (the Walnut Valley Festival)
As a teenager in New York City in the late 1960's, Andy performed
often at Izzy Young's Folklore Center concerts (where Bob Dylan cut
his teeth a few years earlier) and on WBAI-FM. He left the city in
1970, moving to Massachusetts where he played the club, honkytonk,
concert, and festival circuit full-time throughout the Northeast. In
1987, Andy moved to Colorado, continuing to perform and write, as
well as produce records and teach. Production work and songwriting
opportunities led him to Nashville in 1996. Still in Tennessee, he
continues to write for a variety of projects, produce all kinds of
recordings, play diverse venues, and work as an educator, most
recently presenting workshops at the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Andy has been called a “troubadour of life,” an “Americana pioneer,”
a “master of traditional American musical styles,” and an “upbeat
roots rocker.” His music can be exuberant, thoughtful, funny, or
bittersweet, but it’s always a joyful experience. Andy’s originality and
optimism and his love and respect for our musical roots always shine
For additional information and to listen to all of Andy's recordings, please visit andymay.com.
Andy: Guitar (Flatpick and finger-style)
Andy plays solo or puts together bands to meet the needs of the client. These "custom bands" always are made up of top-notch musicians. Some musicians who have played in Andy's bands are listed here.
Bass: Dennis Crouch, Victor Krauss, Todd Cook, Rudi Weeks, Jeremy Shearer
Guitar: Darrin Vincent, Keith Little, Joe Belmont
Fiddle: Kenny Kosek, Shad Cobb, Craig Fletcher
Dobro/Pedal Steel: Jim Heffernan, Texas Tabby Crabb
Banjo: Jim Heffernan, Curtis McPeake, Dave Talbot
Percussion: Kenny Malone, Tim Griffin
Piano/Keyboards: Jeff Potter, Rick Lee
Dance of Life--A Mandolin Celebration
Ride With Me
Andy May & Atlantic Express: Friends
Star Spangled String Band
Liberty String Band
Andy May is an awesome performer... He's been around for years, but he's as fresh as today."
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[Andy May is]...a fine vocalist and an exceptional guitarist and mandolinist. His distinct style of ...[Andy May is]...a fine vocalist and an exceptional guitarist and mandolinist. His distinct style of writing and performing-with a mixture of warmth, sensitivity and good nature-has won him friends and admirers. He bridges the gap between traditional and contemporary American music with purity and exuberance.
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It was obvious after four encores that the audience loved your music. You have a special rapport tha...It was obvious after four encores that the audience loved your music. You have a special rapport that gives the listener the feeling of sharing your creativity.
--Marblehead Festival of Arts, Marblehead, MA
Our enthusiasm was shared …by the 50,000 strong in the audience… We couldn't have been happier with your performance.
--Peace Train Foundation, Inc., Hartford, CT
Andy… communicates all the exuberance there is to be found in music.
--Jordi Herold, The Iron Horse, Northampton, MA
Your show was tops-great!
--Lincoln Center, Fort Collins, CO
Andy May… knocked me out!
--Mayor's Office for Cultural Affairs, Springfield, MA
Great performance… The reception was fantastic.
--Clinton Museum, Clinton, NJ
A blazing guitar picker and mandolinist!
--The Springfield News, Springfield, MA
I hope that you had as wonderful a time…as the people who heard the concert.
--Trinidad-Las Animas County Chamber of Commerce, Trinidad, CO
Your exuberant performance and the vitality of your music changed our reserved audience into a foot-tapping, hand-clapping crowd.
--City of Pawtucket, RI
Cafe' Americana: CD Review
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Andy May's grasp of what makes good listening is impeccable. His warm and mellow voice invites the ...Andy May's grasp of what makes good listening is impeccable. His warm and mellow voice invites the listener to relax and let the music move around the edges of consciousness. He ...cuts to the heart of a concept and brings it to life in song. With samplings of bluegrass, country, folk and acoustic swing styles that evoke many nuances of emotion this is a great album for any collection. - Walnut Valley Occasional
Dance of Life~ A Mandolin Celebration: Review
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... Andy has brought together Kenny and his fiddle, Jim on dobro and banjo, David Dick on banjo, Rud...... Andy has brought together Kenny and his fiddle, Jim on dobro and banjo, David Dick on banjo, Rudi Weeks on bass, and another New Yorker, Roger Mason also on bass, for "Dance Of Life (A Mandolin Celebration)." This release features eight traditional bluegrass tunes, jigs and reels as well as Bill Monroe's "Bluegrass Stomp" and two May originals, the title track and "Bay Of Fundy Reel." On "Dance Of Life"..., Andys light, bright mandolin picking sets the lead for Kenny's swinging fiddle and the combination results in a sassy, foot-stomping, tune. You can't help but like this number! The old classic "Bill Cheetham" follows and here Andy's quick tempo is embellished by Kenny with a hot, bluesy fiddle lead. The banjo playing is also strong....
The Celtic-flavored "Swallowtail Jig" is next and by now it's hard to hold your seat as Andy and the boys beckon you to get up and dance. The version of "Soldier's Joy" that follows is enhanced by raspy vocals: "I am my Mamma's darling boy, I'll play a little tune called Soldier's Joy!" [On] the immortal "Bluegrass Stomp"...we finally get to hear the fine Dobro work of Jim Heffernan, although it's just a lick or two. Jim is one of America's best kept Dobro secrets....
[Other] ...highlights include a lightning-paced version of another mandolin number, "Devil's Dream," as well as Andy's second original "Bay Of Fundy Reel." This slower paced, methodical tune has a beautiful, timeless sound.
"Dance Of Life" is a light, enjoyable frolic through traditional mandolin standards. The musicianship is high, the original works strong and the [project] is really a lot of fun.
Blackberry Jam: CD Review
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... I thoroughly enjoyed this fine CD. The music is all original, well written, and fresh. Andy's...... I thoroughly enjoyed this fine CD.
The music is all original, well written, and fresh. Andy's vocals are clear and clean and he is an excellent guitar player as well. One cut, Little Bird, I especially enjoyed features Andy playing some fine finger-style guitar with a banjo-like roll....
Blackberry Jam is compelling, fresh music.... Fans of acoustic music... will enjoy this album. --JP, Bluegrass Now
Blackberry Jam: CD Review
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Andy May is no high lonesome singer. He has a graceful baritone and an easygoing manner. But make no...Andy May is no high lonesome singer. He has a graceful baritone and an easygoing manner. But make no mistake. The man appreciates bluegrass, and he proves it... on the new CD Blackberry Jam.
"They Put the Blue in Bluegrass" is a song that bluegrass lovers will want to own. It commemorates the birth of bluegrass and the roles that Bill Monroe, Earl Scruggs and Lester Flatt played. "When [the] people heard that sound / It just turned their heads around / I wish I'd been there that day," sings May. Fans who share his nostalgia will enjoy this song; those who didn't know about the roots of bluegrass will benefit from this history lesson.
Less academic but more fiery is "Bound for Tennessee." May again references Monroe as well as heroes Uncle Dave Macon and Fiddlin' Arthur Smith. This kind of uptempo song would be a workout for any banjo player, and frequent May collaborator Jim Heffernan handles the task beautifully. Fiddler Tim Crouch steals some attention, too.
In addition to the bluegrass celebrations, Andy May and co-writer Lauren May mix healthy doses of the introspective and the inspirational. "My Dad" delves into the personal, using recurring phrases and cold facts to build the picture of a relationship. Heffernan again shines on the track with a guitar solo that captures the mood of the song. "Big Wings" uses the imagery of a blue heron and an airplane to capture a moment of personal conviction. Closing the album is "Love's the Greatest Gift of All," constructed around a syncopated chorus that holds both tension and reassurance.
Rounding out the release are some lighthearted songs, including the honkytonk shouter "I Think I'll Move" and the wry diner ballad "Stan". --Seth Bate, Walnut Valley Occasional
Dance of Life~ A Mandolin Celebration: CD Review
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...Andy is joined by several stellar musicians including Kenny Kosek on fiddle, David Dick on banjo,......Andy is joined by several stellar musicians including Kenny Kosek on fiddle, David Dick on banjo, and Rudy Weeks on most of the bass tracks. The songs are traditional except for Bill Monroe’s "Bluegrass Stomp," Andy’s own "Dance of Life" and his Celtic flavored "Bay of Fundy Reel." A highlight of this collection is a vocal version of "Soldiers Joy." The tunes on this CD are performed tastefully at a cool tempo. These arrangements provide a relaxed ambient atmosphere and allow the novice picker (like me!) a chance to play along with tunes like "Bill Chatham," "Cripple Creek," and "Devils Dream" at a pace I can keep up with. My favorite is "St. Anne’s Reel." Many flat pickers have turned the bridge section of this song into a samba, a Cha Cha or one of those Caribbean things. I thoroughly enjoyed this recording and thank you Andy May for keeping "St. Anne’s Reel" a real reel. --Ernie and Patti Hill
Walnut Valley Festival Program
MaySongs: CD Review
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MaySongs, the album notes say, is a compilation of "the kernels of living...winnowed out of...the la...MaySongs, the album notes say, is a compilation of "the kernels of living...winnowed out of...the last 15 years." Here in one convenient CD is Andy May with a plethora of pickin’ pals.... Taking tracks from many different sources to create this CD, Andy has created a best-of-Andy May recording.
And best it is. "MaySongs" reflects the spirit of this troubadour of life. The album is easy listening country music with a kinder, gentler focus than the down and dirty themes of much mainstream country music. The life May sings of is simple, joyful, nostalgic. Among other themes, he sings of the endless road ("Night Drive," "Travelers"), connecting with true love ("Easy Street," "Sight for Sore Eyes," "Raise My Voice"), and nostalgia for places past ("Quabbin Moon," my favorite cut).
This patchwork quilt of Andy’s writing skills would be a pleasant addition to the music library for May fans, but more importantly, it could serve as an excellent introduction to his music for those who have not had the "May experience."
Set lists really vary depending on the venue. A typical Andy May show would be mostly original and traditional material, with a few classic country songs (from the 1920s and 30s) and bluegrass pieces mixed in. Andy also does straight bluegrass, old-time, country rock, and solo instrumental shows.
Examples of songs Andy performs:
Original (you can listen to these songs on andymay.com):
It's a Brand New Day
If She'd Never Been to Boulder
Bound For Tennesee
Dance of Life
Bay of Fundy Reel
Sight for Sore Eyes
Sweetest Story Ever Told
...and many more
Traditional/Old Time/Country covers:
There's a Rabbit in a Log
Keep on the Sunny Side
Waiting for a Train
The Dying Ranger
St. Anne's Reel
Bunch of Rushes
Roll On, Buddy
...and many more
There are no upcoming dates at this time.