"[Andy May] is an awesome... singer and entertainer. He's been around for years, but he's as fresh as today. I love this CD!"--Matthew Gillian, WSM-AM, Opry Star Spotlight, Nashville, TN
"Blackberry Jam" is a tasty batch of a dozen original songs written by Andy and Lauren May and performed by Andy and a world-class acoustic band. The recipe features cuts with a traditional flavor and an innovative zip. The rip-roaring "Bound for Tennessee" and the contemporary bluegrass "They Put the Blue in Bluegrass" are tributes to legendary musicians of other eras, and the melody of the title song is based on the old fiddle tune, "Blackberry Blossom". There is also a taste of acoustic rock ("I Think I'll Move"), and contemporary folk ("My Dad") in the mix. There is plenty of food for thought here--as in the gentle, "Love's the Greatest Gift of All" --as well as for the heart and ears. There is heartache in the country ballad, "I'll Meet You in My Memory", and bluesey wistfulness in "Cloudy, With A Chance of Pain"... balanced by a dollop of humor provided by the swampy "Stan". The musicianship is delectable throughout. "Little Bird", for example, features an ear-catching three-finger roll guitar style Andy began developing in the 1960s.
Andy May: Vocals, guitar, mandolin
Jim Heffernan: Dobro, guitar, pedal steel, banjo
Kenny Malone: Percussion
Dennis Crouch: Bass
Rick Lee: Piano
Tim Crouch: Fiddle
David Talbot: Banjo
Larry Marrs: Background vocals
Craig Fletcher: Background vocals
The CD contains a 6-page booklet with lyrics and notes.
"These are fine songs.... A real winner." --Dave Higgs, Bluegrass Breakdown, WPLN, Nashville, TN
"Andy May is no high lonesome singer. He has a graceful baritone and an easygoing manner. But make no mistake. The man appreciates bluegrass, and he proves it with two songs on the new CD 'Blackberry Jam.'
"'They Put the Blue in Bluegrass' is a song that bluegrass lovers will want to own. It commemorates the birth of bluegrass and the roles that Bill Monroe, Earl Scruggs and Lester Flatt played. 'When [the] people heard that sound / It just turned their heads around / I wish I'd been there that day,' sings May. Fans who share his nostalgia will enjoy this song; those who didn't know about the roots of bluegrass will benefit from this history lesson.
"Less academic but more fiery is 'Bound for Tennessee.' May again references Monroe as well as heroes Uncle Dave Macon and Fiddlin' Arthur Smith. This kind of uptempo song would be a workout for any banjo player, and frequent May collaborator Jim Heffernan handles the task beautifully. Fiddler Tim Crouch steals some attention, too.
"In addition to the bluegrass celebrations, Andy May and co-writer Lauren May mix healthy doses of the introspective and the inspirational. 'My Dad' delves into the personal, using recurring phrases and cold facts to build the picture of a relationship. Heffernan again shines on the track with a guitar solo that captures the mood of the song. 'Big Wings' uses the imagery of a blue heron and an airplane to capture a moment of personal conviction. Closing the album is 'Love's the Greatest Gift of All,' constructed around a syncopated chorus that holds both tension and reassurance.
"Rounding out the release are some lighthearted songs, including the honkytonk shouter 'I Think I'll Move' and the wry diner ballad 'Stan.'" - Seth Bate, Walnut Valley Occasional, Winfield, KS
Andy May is a critically acclaimed songwriter, singer, producer and performer. He is an award-winning guitarist, playing both finger- and flat-pick style, and a world-class old-time and bluegrass mandolinist. His deep-rooted music brings together old-time and contemporary country music, new acoustic music, bluegrass, folk, blues and good ol' rock-and-roll in a unique and exciting way. His music is always uplifting, rewarding and fun, and his songs have been heard around the world on TV series, as well as on radio.
Andy's career began in the latter half of the '60s. As a teenager, he performed at Carnegie Hall and won the 1967 Grand Championship for guitar at the Union Grove Fiddlers' Convention in North Carolina.
Before moving to Nashville in 1996, Andy spent seventeen years crisscrossing the Northeast, playing his music for concerts, clubs, colleges, festivals and schools as a soloist and bandleader, and nine years in Colorado, writing, performing, and producing music.
"[Andy May is]...a fine vocalist and an exceptional guitarist and mandolinist. His distinct style of writing and performing-with a mixture of warmth, sensitivity and good nature-has won him friends and admirers. He bridges the gap between traditional and contemporary American music with purity and exuberance. --David Sokol, Editor, 'Disney Magazine'; founding editor, 'New Country' magazine
Check out the artist's website:
1. Blackberry Jam
3. I'll Still Want To Be With You
4. Bound For Tennessee
5. They Put the Blue in Bluegrass
6. Cloudy, With a Chance of Pain
7. Big Wings
8. Little Bird
9. My Dad
10. I Think I'll Move
11. I'll Meet You in My Memory
12. Love's the Greatest Gift of All