Andrew Francis
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Andrew Francis

Chicago, Illinois, United States | SELF

Chicago, Illinois, United States | SELF
Band Folk Singer/Songwriter


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"His music speaks to common folks"

LOGAN SQUARE | Singer takes on soaring taxes, CTA, and much else that bugs us

Typically, I agree with Camper Van Beethoven: "What the world needs now, is another folk singer, like I need a hole in my head."

But Logan Square songwriter Andrew Francis changed my mind.

Chicago needs more folk singers -- guitar strummers, banjo pickers and harp blowers with husky voices; heck, even a good rapper or metal head spitting fake blood -- so long as they're telling the story of what neighborhood folks are up against today.

I caught Francis' act at the Pullman Hobo Gathering, where he performed a bittersweet tune about a wanderer finding true love in our gritty city.

"I live in a city called Chicago," he slurred. "And it's a hard ol' place to call home."

Chicago is a hard place to call home. Especially these days, when so many neighborhood folks are being laid off, foreclosed on, overtaxed and, well, stuck on slow CTA trains as the last of summer slips away.

The 28-year-old doesn't call himself a folkie. But when he's on stage, the guy is equal parts Bob Dylan and Arlo Guthrie, with the sly smile of Johnny Depp's character in "Benny & Joon." An entertaining fellow. You should check him out.

He's written a few foot-stomping protest songs that capture the angst of Chicago neighborhood living at a time when there's plenty to get worked up about in our town.

Take his "Talking CTA Blues," which tells the story of the 2006 Blue Line train derailment to express our collective mass transit frustrations.

Now I went down to a Blue Line station
to see what kind of delays I'd be facing.
They told me everything was fine
that I would be right on time
as long as I didn't mind
a little smoke in my face
and being stuck underground for fifty-nine minutes straight. . . .
I sat in a seat that was facing backwards
so I wasn't quite sure where we were.
Felt like I was going back
straight into the past
before I had an iPod
or a cell phone
or any electrical gadget
that could distract me
from how bad Chicago's public transportation is.

In a li'l ditty about Cook County's sales-tax hike, Francis offers Mayor Daley a suggestion for filling the city's own budget deficit:

If the mayor is really smart
then he'll start
taxing anyone for having a heart.
And then
if he gets brains enough
he'll even start charging for that red stuff
coming out my vein
looks green to me
Maybe you could use it to pay for all those police brutality legal fees.

That's the kind of stuff folks talk about with their friends and neighbors. A folk song can make you feel like you're not struggling alone out in the neighborhoods. Francis says he's not doing anything special -- just "singing words that need to be sung" in a "hard ol' place to call home." - Mark Konkol - Chicago Sun-Times

"Review from songs:illionis blog"

I live near Chicago. I follow the local scene pretty closely. In the last six years of blogging I have only found a handful of Chicago artists to get excited about. I think I’m about to get excited about Andrew Francis. Andrew is a member of a local jugband (The Barehand Jugband) so that’s automatically a plus in my book. His delivery is a nasal concoction equal parts Bob Dylan and Pokey LaFarge. Musically the songs are simple guitar and voice (with occasional amateurish harmonica – and I mean that in a good way). On the song “I’m Only Trying To Say What Comes To Me” he admits his songwriting naivite but then goes on to speak from the heart and string together an unusual but affecting chorus. Andrew has just released two records. The first is his solo self titled debut and the second is a collection of songs inspired by and about Chicago called It’s Chicago!.

Buy them here and here. - Craig Bonnell - songs:illinois

"Review of It's Chicago! from the Record Dept. Music Reviews blog in Seattle"

Chicago based singer/songwriter Andrew Francis self-released his second album, It’s Chicago!. Francis – also a member of The Barehand Jugband (mouth harp, guitar and vocals) – possesses a distinctly nasal voice reminiscent of Bob Dylan and is an accomplished guitar player. It’s Chicago! showcases his entertaining yet simple solo blues and folk songs, which are written in the tradition of the Guthries, ruminating on everyday life, the working man, and living in Chicago. Francis is a prolific and disciplined artist who uploads a new song every Monday – check them out at: - Record Dept. Music Reviews, Jason Felton


It's Chicago (EP) - Released August 10, 2010
Andrew Francis (LP) - Released August 10, 2010

New song released every week at

Radio play on Chicago's WLUW 88.7fm


Feeling a bit camera shy


Currently at a loss for words...