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The best kept secret in music


"Pop Matters"

Singer-songwriters Debbie Andrews and Mike Blaxill front this quintet...great harmony-laced pop with a touch of 70s California. Infectious songs like "Feel You" and "Running Past Rosetta" should be drop-kicking inferior tripe off radio playlists everywhere. They have everything - sing-a-long hooks, strong harmonies, efficient but great guitar solos.

Classical/jazz-influenced Debbie Andrews' work on Wurlitzer and Hammond B3 just as often adds a hip and dreamy edge to the material. Her harmonies with guitar troubadour Blaxill are picture perfect. The material is solidly written, well produced, earnest pop that is appealing on many layers.

Blaxill's vocals might be at least as valuable to the mix. When he's singing lead, you are left wondering where you heard that voice before. Then you realize you haven't - it's just that you can not imagine someone with pipes like that not being better known. Ditto this band, and ditto this record. Gladshot is one of the nicest suprises I have had all year.
- Bill Holmes

"Music Dish"

The group Gladshot and their debut CD "Relic" is a literal jackpot of finely crafted power pop pleasures with many winding and turning musical roads. Pure and sweet like honey, the lyrics ebb and flow from the endless poetic wellspring provided by Debbie Andrews (wurlizter piano, vocals) and Mike Blaxill (guitar, vocals). These people really are poets in every sense of the word, including fine musicians, producers and singers. This is an extraordinary CD. There is simply no other to way quantify it. Every single cut is excellent and radio ready. I can already hear the songs blaring from car radios as they drive by.

Blaxill's vocals are what the whole group revolves around. His smooth as silk delivery allows the marvelous poetic journeys found in the songs to come to life. This music reminds me of groups like the Byrds, with the jangling clear guitar creating a magic carpet the vocalist can ride on. To make it all complete, Andrews' graceful piano stays in accompaniment with the rest of the group taking their sound to another level. It's that dreamy and alluring sound that just sucks you right in and doesn't let you go. It isn't one dimensional music mind you, it's very powerful and reaches you in many ways through the diversity and flexibility of the music, and of course the outstanding lyrical content. "Perfect Kiss", was the one track that really moved me, lyrically and musically.

So are you ready to hear one the best CDs of the year? Count on it, it will be. - Muzikman

"Go Girls"

Gladshot makes warm candid music. It is a tightly woven tapestry of pop and roots with leads from Mike Blaxill, clean, lush harmonies from Debbie Andrews and a backing band as dense and feral as an uncut forest. Their sound is wide as a field of new barley, fluid as a waterfall, open like a backdoor screen...ohmygog, I could go on and on. I'm mad for this CD.

All 12 songs on Relic are listener friendly. They are easy-going, finely crafted and hum-able. They are the types of songs that everyone likes to sing along with - strong, even, melodic, and unpretentious. Lots of bands/songwriters think they have to be outrageous, super-clever, and ultra-hip. There is nothing wrong with chasing boundaries, but it's so great to hear a band like Gladshot making simply good music.

I am so glad I was able to review this CD. I give it the highest rating possible...It is so, so, so good.
- Tanya Goolsby


The different variations and permutations in the configuration of rock bands helps keep the music interesting. Sometimes a group can be distinctive for its material, or for its instrumentation, or for the sound of the lead singer's voice. This week we have another noteworthy variation that combines a number of worthwhile ingredients in one group who make for pleasing, intelligent pop-tinged rock. The group is called Gladshot, and their debut CD is called Relic.

Most bands have a single composer and essentially a backup band, or else work as a kind of musical collective. Gladshot formed from the combination of two previously individually-operating, and acclaimed, New-York-based singer-songwriters, a man and a woman -- a guitarist and a keyboard player respectively -- who have pooled their talents with the help of a sympathetic band. They collaborate in composing, but also include individually-written pieces, all marked by literate lyrics and tuneful compositions.

The principal members of Gladshot are Mike Blaxill, the guitar playing half, and Debbie Andrews, who plays the keyboards, mostly a vintage Wurlitzer piano and Hammond B-3 organ. Blaxill toured the country as a solo singer-songwriter before settling in New York, where he attracted attention performing at the Bitter End folk club, and winning an award from the BMI organization for the "year's most promising singer-songwriter." Debbie Andrews has a long performing career, going back to her appearance on Broadway at the age of 16, playing Crissy in the production of "Hair." She is classically trained on the piano, and also schooled in jazz, winning a jazz fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. They combine their respective musical attributes to create music that bears an outward resemblance to a kind of 60s-2000s pop hybrid, but has a surprising degree of depth and staying power, making it more than just attractive pop.

The songs on this fairly modest-length CD get right to the point, and do it with a nice combination of pop melodicism and instrumental tastefulness. The opening piece, Girl on Empty epitomizes Gladshot's sound, with the joint Blaxill-Andrews composition sung mostly by Blaxill, but featuring Ms. Andrews' decidedly retro electric piano sound, and her supple backing vocals. Ms. Andrews does the lead vocals on another joint composition, Dog on a Skylight, which shows a bit of Ms. Andrews' jazz influence in its harmonic sophistication. The title's curious metaphor makes for some interesting lyrical images. Another example of Gladshot's often distinctive lyrical approach -- this time in a more energetic musical context -- is Running Past Rosetta. Ms. Andrews provides the organ to the straight-ahead rock setting. Ms. Andrews' composition He Dreams Alone is one of the more laid-back musically and melancholy lyrically, while it still manages to keep a kind of positive musical direction. Never Been to Vegas is a narrative song that combines an interesting, though sketchy story, with the group's knack for combining bits of pop influence that can come close to mass-market material while maintaining the group's level of musical sophistication. One of the CD's highlights is No Reason, which is a nice blend of the band's energy and musical acumen for creating a song that combines elements of 60s pop with 21st century influences. The CD ends with a track that allows Ms. Andrews to show her jazzy influence, End of the World. Both musically and in terms of lyrical approach, there are hints of Steely Dan, and the result is also quite worthwhile.

Relic the new debut CD by the New York-based group Gladshot, is one of those albums that proves to be more impressive the more you listen to it. The combination of the influences and talents makes for a recording with surprising depth and musical interest. There's adroit lyric writing, tunes you can find yourself humming, an instrumental sound that juxtaposes Ms. Andrews' decidedly retro keyboard sounds with occasional hints of trendy drum loops, and pleasing vocals from both of the principals. It's classy pop music in the best sense.

Sophisticated pop music may seem like an oxymoron to some, but creating music that you can tap your toes to and hum, that also has a degree of depth and staying power is a skillful balancing act. Gladshot have achieved that equilibrium their first time around, and that makes their CD all the more notable. - Scranton NPR DJ George Graham

"Daily Progress, Charlottesville Va"


Debbie Andrews and Mike Blaxill often overlap in conversation. He finishes her sentences, or one chats over the other's thoughts. It's a true partnership in music as well.

Their group, Gladshot, arose from a thoughtful pop songwriters' community in New York. Andrews, who plays keyboards, and Blaxill who plays guitar, share vocal duties on their debut album "Relic". They will open here Saturday for local blues artist Corey Harris and the 5x5.

"We met as writers and kind of hooked up that way" Blaxill says. "We got a lot of great feedback" Andrews adds. They often write lyrics and music apart and combine the best features. Many of the best songs, Andrews says, are finished in a day or two. "A whole chorus will come with all the words and that's the best", she says.

One exception is "Resurrection", a song on "Relic" that took six months to finish. Parts were done early, but Andrews and Blaxill kept returning to the tune, sometimes plugging in "five-year-old ideas" that were often no good. The duo was careful because "You don't want to wreck the original idea", Blaxill says.

Gladshot's already gained exposure on such television shows as "Jack & Jill" and "Higher Ground" in which their song "Feel You" was background for a scene in which "Star Wars" alum Hayden Christensen announces to his father that's he's sleeping with his stepmother.

It's a long way from Andrews' classical beginnings. "It helped me move my fingers easier" she says of her classical training. She quickly fell in the thrall of jazz, which served as a bridge to Gladshot's pop. "I really like Steely Dan" Andrews says. Elton John and Joni Mitchell, who has her own jazz leanings, are favorites as well.

Andrews first arrived in New York as part of the Broadway cast of "Hair". Then 16, she landed the role of Crissy, who sings "Frank Mills". Although Andrews seemed a little reluctant to discuss the nudity-heavy hippie musical, Gladshot's publishing company is called Frankly Mills Music.

One unforgettable sight in Detroit - during her first dress rehearsal, or "undress rehearsal" - where she performed "Hair" before joining the Broadway cast, was Meat Loaf ("really nice guy"), who sang Age of Aquarius. "He was the first man I saw naked!" Andrews exclaims.

Blaxill took a quite different route to pop singerdom, bouncing between Nashville and New York. After singing to a bunch of blue hairs bussed to a show at Nashville's famed Bluebird cafe, Blaxill came to the realization that he was more of a New York kinda guy. - Kate Andrews


Relic - 2002
Stand - 2004


Feeling a bit camera shy


Gladshot is a New York City band from Deborah Andrews and Mike Blaxill, two musicians who've gotten together to prove that literate, finely-wrought pop can spring from the combination of two quite distinct musical minds.

The band, whose website receives over 1,000 visits a month, released their 2nd CD "Stand" in March 2004, the follow-up to their successful 2002 debut "Relic" which got great reviews and lots of radio airplay across the country. "Stand" is now playing on over a hundred radio stations nationwide, was Top 30 CMJ on two Chicago stations and went to #5 CMJ in Los Angeles.

Other radio highlights include an appearance on Joe Franklin's WOR radio show "Memory Lane" in NYC, as well as live performances on NPR stations WDIY in Easton and WVIA in Scranton (where their record went to #2). Their songs have also appeared on the WB television show "Jack & Jill", and the Fox show "Higher Ground".

Mike Blaxill first appeared on the NYC scene at the Bitter End Songwriter's Circle and the Songwriter's Hall of Fame Showcase, and performed many times in Nashville at the famed Bluebird Cafe. He recently received BMI's Abe Oleman Award as "the years most promising artist". Mike, who sings and plays guitar in Gladshot, brings a rootsy vibe to the project.

Raised in Detroit in the middle of the turbulent '60's, Deborah Andrews, a singer and keyboardist, is also a solo artist with an impressive history. At the age of 16, she made her Broadway debut as Crissy in the hit musical HAIR singing Frank Mills. She received a piano Jazz Fellowship Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and behind the scenes played some of the finest piano rooms in NYC. Deborah gives Gladshot a layered, jazz component.

Deborah and Mike teamed up with talented NYC musicians David Ross (former Jabber drummer), guitarist Spencer Katzman, and bassist Vinnie Puryear. Gladshot appears regularly in New York City as well as clubs and live radio venues throughout the Northeast.