Twenty-four year old singer/songwriter Andrea Davidson began her love affair with performing and composing music when she was a senior in high school at the age of 17. She wrote her class graduation song after playing the guitar for only 3 1/2 months. Following high school graduation she worked at a law firm long enough to save for all the necessary equipment she needed to make a living playing music. At the age of twenty she left Madison, Indiana to broaden her performing skills in a more fertile music environment. She chose her birth place, Louisville, Kentucky, as a first professional home.
As she began gigging throughout the Louisville scene, playing bars, clubs, music venues and private parties, time proved the singer and the city to be a fabulous musical match. Davidson is blessed with a powerful roomy voice that retains emotion, unique timbre and uncanny dynamic control. More importantly she has a special connection to her many fans that can be witnessed singing along to her most familiar songs.
"There have been countless amounts of outstanding songs and enlightening conversations that have played a part in what I write," Davidson says, "However, I've been most influenced in my life by the giving and receiving of love and compassion." It’s this love and compassion that punctuates her songs with insight and depth far beyond her twenty-four years.
Her honest lyrics and soulfully intense voice can be experienced with the release of her new album Retracing Steps. Embracing skills earned and perfected from her 800 plus performances since she's been to Louisville, she draws 12 songs from her vast catalogue of original compositions into an astute and musically incisive album. Through this sparkling debut, Andrea is feeding her fans an intimate invitation into her emotions. Her music is suffused with a multitude of influences ranging from the melodic vibrations of The Beatles to the lyrical resonance of Bob Dylan, the soulful sounds of Bill Withers and Marvin Gaye, to the acoustic feel of Ray LaMontagne and Patty Griffin.
Andrea interrupted her year long recording process of Retracing Steps to travel to Cape Flats in South Africa where she taught music to a school of children living in highly underprivileged areas for two months. Her main interest lies in making change through her music whether it be awareness in areas of social justice, the environment or through any other forms of activism involving peace/nonviolence movements. She is a humanitarian and is looking for ways to merge her music and global betterment into one powerful package.
flexible....bass, percussion/drums, cello, electric/slide guitar, acoustic guitar, harmonica
All songs written by Andrea Davidson. Ghosttown was cowritten with Karsten Nelson.
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For singer-songwriter Andrea Davidson, songs come when she surrounds herself with nature — “when I’m...For singer-songwriter Andrea Davidson, songs come when she surrounds herself with nature — “when I’m outside, lots of trees, or when a storm is coming.”
On her second CD, Retracing Steps, Davidson reached for a more personal theme. “There’s one thing that ties (the songs) together, and that’s honesty,” she says. “These songs came from the right place.”
Davidson is the kind of artist who will point out her flaws when you ask about her forte.
“I make a living playing in bars,” says Davidson, who’s done so for three years. “So I was trying to write with the people who come out to my shows in mind. And sometimes the things I’m writing about are not happy, get-drunk-to songs.”
She sought to abandon her please-’em-all tendency with this new set.
“These songs are for me. I’m starting to learn what my passions are, what my beliefs are, and what matters to me and what doesn’t.”
Davidson takes listeners through different venues on her alt-pop album. The title track hops along to the kind of squealing brass you’d sample at a jazz club. “Kentucky Road” puts you alone at a piano bar at closing time.
Davidson credits the variety of “feels” to engineer and co-producer Brian Cronin. He also balanced her out in terms of patience, she says.
“The first record — I had set the CD release before we were done recording it. This is different. This is a different approach,” she says. “We decided to do the record with patience, with experimentation.”
The pair took about a year to record it. Not all of the 12 tracks that appear on the new disc were written when the process started. And there were times when they didn’t get together for weeks.
At one point last spring, she walked away from the project to teach guitar to children in South Africa. “It put a lot of things into prospective for me. I’ve been kind of opening my mind to everything.”
None of the tracks on Retracing Steps were directly written about those experiences, the musical experimentation, nonetheless, proceeded once she got back.
“It was all about bringing in different musicians, trying different instruments, trying different feels,” she says. “The coolest part was that I could express my ideas and be creative and try things that seemed totally left field.”
Andrea Davidson CD Release
Saturday, Feb. 20
1575 Story Ave.
$7; 8 p.m.
Louisville Music News
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Unfortunately, when you’re a musician you always risk dropping a stink bomb on your audience. It can...Unfortunately, when you’re a musician you always risk dropping a stink bomb on your audience. It can happen anytime in a career. But when you admit that your first effort was a hurried-through mess that you wanted to just get into peoples’ hands, and that you now think every copy should be land-filled or treated like nuclear waste, you can either use it as a crutch to hinder any aspirations you might have had, or you can use it as a chance to call a do-over, to find where you tumbled or just where you need to tweak.
Louisville singer-songwriter Andrea Davidson called a do-over on herself. In her LMN cover story last year, Davidson claimed her debut effort, Pick Your Poison, made her cringe. And now by being her own harshest critic and best cheerleader, we get her latest release, appropriately titled Retracing Steps – a dozen tunes of varying styles that truly showcase her big-as-a-blue-sky vocals and intricate songwriting talent.
Things kick off with the saucy cabaret stylings of the title track (muted trumpets, trombone, saxophone, tuba, brush drums, and all that’s missing is an introduction by emcee Joel Grey: “Meine Dammen und Herren, la chanteuse de America Fraulein Andrea Davidson!”), then a segue into a touch of Bluegrass with “It Will Come” that’s followed by the rainy-day solo acoustic blues of “Too Fixed to Fight.” Later, there’s a smoking alt-country selection called “Leave,” and “Sun in Georgia,” a pining, tender love ballad.
For her do-over, Davidson has pulled in some stellar Louisville music talent, including Paul Culligan, Justin Shaw, Dave Chandler, Steve Cooley, Peter Searcy, Emily Caudill, Maurice Hamilton and several others. The entire production was engineered by Brian Cronin, and co-produced by Cronin and Davidson.
To be sure, musicians are never entirely satisfied with their work. There’s always one song that could have been done better in one more take, a vocal track that’s not entirely balanced with another instrument, or there are entire albums that they think need to be not just shoved under the rug, but buried under the foundation. Of course, there’s always the next album to make things right, and done in a way where the performers present the true musicianship they’re capable of.
Just what Andrea Davidson gives us in Retracing Steps.
Davidson's music can be heard at www.myspace.com/andreadavidson. You know what to do.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.