Andy Wagner
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Andy Wagner

Chicago, Illinois, United States | INDIE

Chicago, Illinois, United States | INDIE
Band Americana Singer/Songwriter


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



"The Wheel’s Still In Spin - Recommended New Release"

Andy Wagner is back with his third full-length album of uniquely pastoral alt-country music (after releasing one of TWSIS’s favorite EPs of 2009). His voice has a coarse drawl that gives it a weathered and experienced quality, but his delivery keeps his albums consistently rooted with an affable and pleasurable quality. On Silos and Smokestacks, he is supported with the full sound of his backing band. Guitars, synthesizers, and, most notably, a pedal steel allow the music to soar and sashay with a natural ease. - The Wheel's Still In Spin

"An Interview With Andy Wagner"

HR – Who are some of your biggest influences on your songwriting?

A – There are definitely my staples who I’ll probably be inspired by forever: Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Johnny Cash, Lucinda Williams, Bruce Springsteen, Emmylou Harris, Townes Van Zandt, Daniel Lanois and my favorite Willie Nelson. I try to buy a record a week though and some of my most present influences are: Tift Merritt, Mason Jennings, Cary Ann Hearst, The National and strangely, Jamey Johnson. My close circle of friends always influences me as well: Casey Meehan, Josh Dumas, Brother Truck, Ben Clarke, Mark Benson, Kevin O’Donnell, Rachel Ries, and Samuel Stiles.

HR – Why have you chosen to remain a solo act instead of forming a band?

A – I’ve never been interested in forming a band because I know that I’ll never want it to break up. I’ve been a member of many different bands who invited me in but it always upset me when they fell apart and I can’t help but to see the finite nature of bands right from the start. I do play with backing musicians who I form lasting relationships with and right now I’m playing most of my gigs and recording a record with three really great players: Evan Bivins on drums, Samuel Stiles on bass, and Adam Przybyla on pedal steel. Samuel and I have been together for nearly a decade.

HR – Your songs seem to give a sense of time and space. What motifs are common to your songs?

A – Well, I like to think I’m open to writing about anything, but looking back the most common themes that made it onto records are love (mostly lost), death and nostalgia. I often find myself looking backwards when I sit down to write, remembering people and places that I miss and wish that I could once again be a part of. When I look forward, I think it’s to hope that I don’t lose what I have now. So the songs land somewhere in the middle and probably invite that sense of time and space.

HR – How has your songwriting changed over the years?

A – I once read in a Willie Nelson biography that he believes radio waves really affect his songwriting. Ever since I thought about that I realized I always sort of believed the same thing. Collective energy from my surroundings really changes things up for me. I know I’ve channeled very different ideas in Louisville than I did in New Orleans or Chicago or wherever it’s been. Though, I sort of made a pact to myself a long time ago to always stay true to myself though and to understand that if it comes through me it will be original enough. So my approach is often the same, sit down with my guitar or piano, find a chord progression I like, keep searching until the melody comes through all that energy, and then spend time to match lyrics to that body of music.

HR – What song or songs do you want played at your funeral?

A – Oh geeze… I think maybe just the entire “Ring Cycle.” I really want people to stay for a while.

- Homeroom

"Why didn’t I know…Andy Wagner?"

I have to honestly say that I didn’t know Andy Wagner before the good folks at Rock Proper introduced me to this Chicago troubadour. He already has two albums and has transitioned from Chicago to New Orleans and back again. Now settled back in Chicago, he is looking forward to his new album set to be released in February.

The new album, “Those Who Forgive”, will be released via Rock Proper on Monday, February 23rd and from having been listening for a couple of weeks already, this is a great late night experience. I say this as there is a bit of an intro on his website that just might make you think the same thing:

The sheets are crumpled at the foot of the bed and the blinds and orange dawnlight draw telephone lines across her sleeping face. Don’t worry darling, that was only a crow call. Don’t worry dear, this is only a love song. Chicago’s Andy Wagner writes, performs, sings and records dust and smoke and morning songs to wake to, unashamed.

Don’t let his good looks fool you (yes, I said it), this guy has chops. There is grit that one might not immediately perceive from his made for TV leading man jawline. There is a bit of saloon influenced Alt-Country mixed in with this Louisiana guitar slinger at heart. You will find the toned down rocker follow up a more up-tempo song with a pained rendition of lost love - with an almost Calexico feel (you might hear it in “Nothing to Defend” below).

The new album I feel is outright darker, at least by listening and taking it at face value. It has a slower cadence, a touch more production value and has the ache of harmonica (absolutely love the harmonica on “My Blue Sea”). His vocal delivery basically solidifies it for me. He has Sunday morning after a rough night drawl. This is like the good Ryan Adams stuff, if I dare say, as it has the solo and band backed tracks to fill out the full package. Click on the album image below to visit his Rock Proper page, bookmark it, return on Feb. 23rd for a free download of the entire album.

Take a few older tracks, some newer and some fresh from the recording boards of Jay Bennett’s Pieholden Suite Sound studio in downstate Illinois. Don’t be shy and visit him on his Website or his MySpace page.
- You Crazy Dreamers

"Andy Wagner’s “Those Who Forgive”"

So I have been listening to the new EP from Andy Wagner for about a month now and it was officially released on Rock Proper this past Monday as a FREE Digital Download. This isn’t your standard complimentary download, this is probably my favourite EP of the year so far, and includes the potential to hold onto that title for longer.

I first posted on Andy Wagner’s album over on You Crazy Dreamers here. To quote myself:

“There is grit that one might not immediately perceive from his made for TV leading man jawline. There is a bit of saloon influenced Alt-Country mixed in with this Louisiana guitar slinger at heart. You will find the toned down rocker follow up a more up-tempo song with a pained rendition of lost love - with an almost Calexico feel…”

I still stand by it, good Americana/Alt-Country from this Chicago Native - and I cannot get enough of “My Blue Sea” and it’s harmonica - nothing gets me more than a great sombre Americana ballad with harmonica (or banjo). This song hits the spot every time I hear it. And to quote my magnificent self again:

“His vocal delivery basically solidifies it for me. He has Sunday morning after a rough night drawl. This is like the good Ryan Adams stuff, if I dare say, as it has the solo and band backed tracks to fill out the full package.”

So make sure to go over and check out the You Crazy Dreamers post (more mp3s from earlier Andy Wagner works) and pick up a copy of the newest release on Rock Proper by clicking the image below:

Visit Andy Wagner on his Website or his MySpace page.

- Slowcoustic

"Best EPs of 2009"

Those Who Forgive is an alt country album recorded at the late Jay Bennett’s Pieholden Suite Sound studio and is rooted in acoustic guitar, piano, and harmonica. So, yes, it has a sound similar to the better days of Wilco. But these dulcet songs, which are available for free download from Rock Proper, are more reminiscent of Jay Farrar, Ryan Adams, or Bob Dylan.
- The Wheel's Still In Spin


Silos and Smokestacks
Those Who Forgive
Horse Year



“Even from the very beginning, at age 8, I knew songwriting and composition were more interesting to me than learning other people’s music,” he says. “It was just more natural for me to sit down and play whatever I was feeling.”

Andy Wagner started young but over time has found great inspiration in songwriting from artists like: Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, Lucinda Williams and Daniel Lanois.

“They have a special gift to transcend and take us to a different world. Still reflecting on what’s right here in front of us but looking deeper to see something the rest of us would have missed.”

“It took me a long time to piece everything together but I care equally about playing my instruments, writing lyrics and making records. The artists I admire the most do all of these things well and they find a way to reinvent themselves year after year.”

Colorado, Louisville, New Orleans and Chicago have all been home to Andy, and his musical journey pays homage to all of these great American cities.

After moving away from his birth state of Colorado, Chicago would be Andy’s first stop and would prove to be fertile ground for strong roots and steady growth. It was 1998, and at age 20, Andy aligned himself with an instrumental quintet called The Tundra Survey. Together, they released one self-titled 7inch, one CD single on Day Release Records and one self-released full-length called Cracked Radiator, Bum Transmission.

The Tundra Survey lasted for two years and somewhere in there an artistic community/record label/printmaker called Tense Forms was born. While Tense Forms continued to grow, Andy moved to Louisville, KY in 2001 where he would spend the next year working on his debut solo release called Horse Year which was originally released on Tense Forms in 2002.

In 2003, Andy moved back to Chicago to reconnect with the Tense Forms community and spent the next two years playing live with his own band, and also with Casey Meehan and the Delta Still, and would make his theatre debut as a guitar player for “San Valentino and The Melancholy Kid”, with an up and coming company called The House.

A twist of fate in the summer of 2005 brought Andy to New Orleans to tour with World Leader Pretend (Warner Bros) as a piano and guitar player for their new record Punches. Highlights included two main stage appearances at the New Orlean’s Jazz Fest and an appearance on The Today Show.

Before World Leader Pretend disbanded in 2006, Andy was introduced to Theresa Andersson, and was hired to co-produce a self-titled, five song EP with her. The EP was the best selling CD at the 2006 New Orlean’s Jazz Fest and was voted as one of the top ten best releases for the year by the Times-Picayune. Andy toured with Theresa for the next year and in between tour dates, he recorded his second album called Departures which was also released on Tense Forms in 2006.

Later that year, Andy headed back to Chicago where he now currently resides. Although Tense Forms ended operations, many of its artists are still in Chicago and continue to play live and record together. It was the vision of Casey Meehan’s to form Rock Proper in 2009 to function as a net-label that offers free downloads of albums from former Tense Forms artists and more. Andy released his most current 6 song EP called Those Who Forgive on Rock Proper in 2009. The Wheel’s Still In Spin considered it one of the top ten EPs released that year.

Andy also maintained his relationship with The House theatre company and was the musical director for their original productions of “The Attempters” in 2008 and “All The Fame Of Lofty Deeds” (a play inspired by the music and art of Jon Langford) in 2009. The band formed for “All The Fame Of Lofty Deeds” found a great natural chemistry with each other and have stayed together as Andy’s backup band. They have recently completed a new 9 song LP of Andy’s new songs titled Silos and Smokestacks.