Andy Park
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Andy Park

Charleston, West Virginia, United States | INDIE | AFM

Charleston, West Virginia, United States | INDIE | AFM
Band Americana Singer/Songwriter

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Andy Park True Love (CD). Longtime Voodoo Katz guitarist Andy Park began expanding his horizons a la a solo project some time ago. “True Love” is the result as is his Kountry Katz amalgam. A long time in the making, Park assembled these tracks with considerable help from fellow Katz, drummer Mark Davis and bassist Deron Sodaro. New Charleston resident (and my high school chum) Tris Lozaw lent a large hand with production, mixing and mastering. There’s a certain warmth and understated (and undeniably quirky) charm to Park’s songs which range from the rolling, acoustic “This is the Beginning” and the dark “Breaking Blues” to the novelty “Theme Park” (with it’s om-pah beat, faux accordion and amusement park sound fx - courtesy of Lozaw). There’s also a certain intimacy and awkwardness to some the performances and his half-spoken vocals that, in the end, serves to draw the listener into the tunes - a (tiny) bit like Skip Spence’s classic 1969 “Oar” LP. “Planets” and “Lava Lamp” are sweet, lush ballads; “Silver Bridge” is a painfully long tribute to the 1967 disaster while “The Way” is a heavily reverbed trip through Park’s psyche. The heartfelt “My Heart is Home” with a wonderfully spacy interlude, closes the disc. Amy Williams created the cover art and Mark Wolfe designed the package. - WVMHOF


Andy Park to host CD release on the Levee July 23

The name on the CD might be "True Love" but the driving force behind Andy Park's latest project has been "determination." After thriving in bands Crazy Jane in the 90s and still grooving with the Voodoo Katz, this Point Pleasant native has created an album of original music from a promise he made to himself as he lay in the hospital in 2005.

Park, a middle school social studies teacher, had suffered a stroke and his future as a musician was in jeopardy.

"I was determined to play music and if I could play, I promised myself I would make a CD." Although that was the stated goal, Park found benefits to the plan. "When I was practicing it was therapeutic to get my left hand working again. I also noticed that the music was soothing to my brain and playing really made me feel good."

Doing what he loves best, Park has dipped into his funk roots, played with metaphors and people's universal insecurities and borrowed from the instruments of his home state, learning mandolin, banjo and fiddle to fill out the sound he was hearing in his imagination.

An example: Silver Bridge is a disaster ballad derived from personal experience as a boy in Point Pleasant. Playing this one to small audiences at Lola's, Taylor Books, Bluegrass Kitchen and environmental fundraisers, Park began to hear the voices of other instruments in the song. He added banjo on Silver Bridge, as well as mandolin on The Beginning and the song True Love. "I didn't play the fiddle on the album, but learning fiddle technique is changing the way I play guitar."

Park got to the point where his rough mixes conveyed his intent with the songs and then he passed them to Katz members Mark Daivs and Deron Sodaro.

Using rough mixes, "there was a structure already there. I had cut some bass tracks on a midi keyboard, but for the most part I gave them room to come up with their own thing."

It was the same band mates, but a different process altogether.

"Up until this CD, in all of my projects I've been part of, I was in bands that were incredibly energetic when we played live. That energy was hard to capture in recordings. So what I wanted to do was reverse the whole equation--make a good recording and make that the starting point, then go out and play that live. That was the idea I wanted to follow through on."

Computer musicians (Self-recording musicians?) will enjoy the results of what Park did using GarageBand on a iMac Mini computer ("I basically recorded this in my bedroom in my apartment at 1573 Lee St in Charleston") and then handing the tracks over to Tristram Lozaw and The Furnace for mixing and mastering.

In the meantime, he met Becky, fell in love and got married. As she puts it, "He went from writing songs about struggling in love, to writing songs full of love, and finally, the most beautiful, settled song at the end is also a very raw recording, where his Heart is Home. It's like he polished up the tracks that tell of the struggle for love, but this home life is so new it still has the string squeaks in it."

My Heart is Home also sports an audio episode of Sunday night thinking, as portrayed by sound man Lozaw. "I told him 'Let's do a Beatles thing, inserting bits of the other songs played backwards.'" The result is the the ambiguous effects that sound like an outgrowth of the ceiling fan.

Now that the CD is in-hand, Park hopes it will open doors in the region. "It's a lot easier to get a gig when you have a recording to represent what you can do." Watch for up-coming performances on his schedule at myspace.com/AndyPark2 or write jandrewpark@gmail.com. - Press Release


The gazz audio blog SoundCheck is back on the web. We begin with an occasional “Song of the Day” feature on area musicians with “Theme Park” by Andy Park of Charleston, W.Va. Beware! The song’s hook may lodge in your brain all day: “Your love is a theme park — of personality disorders…” - Charleston Gazzette


Written by Shep   
Thursday, 05 August 2010 08:00
Mountain state music aficionados are no stranger to the name Andy Park. A Point Pleasant native, Park has made no small name for himself playing with two well known W.Va. bands: Crazy Jane and the Voodoo Katz. After 15 years of playing lead guitar with other bands, Andy Park has released his first solo project.

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Titled "True Love," Andy's first solo venture carries a distinctive folk-funk feeling. Soulful and entertaining, it seems "True Love" runs the gambit of the obstacle course known as love. "Theme Park" is a dark and satirical look at the adventure of dating crazy people, while "Beautiful Impossible" is a heartfelt song of adoration to a soul-mate. According to the release, during the recording of "True Love" Andy Park met and married his own love, Becky. The songs themselves sing of struggling at love to finally finding your true one with "My Heart is Home." It feels very much like a chronological accounting of Andy's own life. Anyone familiar with musicians and their writing will hardly find this coincidental.

Regardless of his inspiration, Andy has recaptured the soul and funk of his professed roots. "True Love" shows an inspired album with a mountain style I would call Blues meets Bluegrass and simple yet striking harmonies. Andy also picked up the mandolin, banjo and fiddle to flesh out the sound of his first solo album. Consider that and the fact that the entire album was recorded in a bedroom on Lee Street with an iMac, "True Love" is a labor of love, and it shows.

Andy himself hopes the new CD will open doors and lead to more live gigs. Keep an eye on Andy's schedule on his Myspace page here.

To book a show or contact Andy Park, email andypark2@mac.com . - kvlive.net


Discography

2010 True Love, available on itunes.

W/Crazy Jane:
1993-Choice Oranges,1996-Pilot, 1999-self titled.
W/Voodoo Katz:
2002-self titled, 2007-Glimpse

Photos

Bio

After nearly 15 years playing lead guitar in West Virginia bands the Voodoo Katz and Crazy Jane, Andy Park is going solo. It will be no surprise to fans that Andy's latest creations are edgy and spiked with surprise.
     Steeped by his parents in funk and soul music, Park's innate sense of rhythm remains a trademark of his guitar style. His romance with the guitar began at age 14 and became his energy through his college years at WVU in Morgantown, WV.
     Back home in Point Pleasant, WV, Park gigged in local cover bands until he helped form the alternative rock project Crazy Jane. With a solid regional following, Crazy Jane released three successful independent recordings, toured from Boston to Oregon, and twice appeared on the internationally syndicated radio program, "Mountain Stage."
     For the past ten years, he has been playing guitar and singing with the world-beat ensemble the Voodoo Katz, who recorded two of Park's songs: "Suffer" and "Mothman."
     Having explored his electric driven playing with Crazy Jane and the Voodoo Katz, Park is crafting his solo material with acoustic guitar, supplementing with newly acquired West Virginia-traditional music skills--picking up the banjo, mandolin and fiddle, and adding ambiance inspired by Daniel Lanois and others.
     His new CD "True Love" holds lyrical and instrumental treats, ranging across the board from the drama of the "Silver Bridge" tragedy to the irony of love as a "Theme Park."  This collection takes the listener across the map of musical exploration and provocative lyricism.  As John Lilly said on first hearing Park's solo work, it is "surprisingly eclectic, relentlessly original. . ."