Titled Party of One after a co write with her producer Boo Hewerdine, the working title had beem Tales from the Wilderness’. “It’s felt like I’ve been negotiating my way through a lot of unfamiliar territory since Nashville – both personally and professionally. I think that shows in the way I’m approaching my second album – both in terms of writing and production. I’m mapping the journey I’ve been on since releasing Stood Under Stars.” Stood Under Stars is all about the desire to escape and explore.
It is a record awash with truths; telling tales of stagnant lives, the perils of love, deceit, boredom and longing. “I’ve spent a lot of time wanting to be somewhere else. It’s more than just geographic – I mean emotionally and socially too.” Pre-Nashville, Andrea worked as a teacher in London although she only ever really wanted to be a musician. “I did it because I felt I ought to have a ‘proper’ job and it’s helped in so much as it taught me to work hard under some tricky conditions! But it was never my ambition or my dream and though I gave a lot to it there’s only so much you can do when your heart belongs somewhere else.” Whilst teaching Andrea wrote most of her debut album, released three limited edition EP’s, and played open mic nights in London.
It was at this time Andrea caught the attention of Nashville singer-songwriter Kevin Montgomery via MySpace. He suggested she should have him produce her debut album in Nashville. “I’d posted songs on the internet and talked to a couple of producers in England and Scotland but I knew I wanted to go as soon as Kevin approached me. There’s a lot of good stuff coming out of Nashville and a wealth of great musicians who I really wanted to work with.” One such musician was legendary steel player Al Perkins.
Perkins is best known for his work with The Flying Burrito Brothers, Manassas, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris and Gram Parsons but has done session work and toured with many artists over the years. The album was recorded at 16 Ton Studio, owned by Danny White who played bass on the album. With Paul Griffith on drums and Shawn Byrne on guitar, the core members of the session band were joined by Andrea Zonn and Ashley Monroe on backing vocals – both successful singer-songwriters, John Hobbs – pianist for Vince Gill, Steve King – also on piano and Mike Webb on Hammond. Kevin too added backing vocals to the opening track ‘We Could Be Over’ and ‘North Wind’. The album was recorded, mixed and mastered in less than three weeks, all tracks being recorded live with only a handful of overdubs.
“I loved the fact that the guys had all worked together a lot so they knew each other and it felt like a band right from the start. People have asked me a lot about whether I was nervous about recording but from the minute I walked in it just felt right. We nailed three songs on the first day. That really boosted my confidence.” With Stood Under Stars released Andrea hit the road.
Whilst she was on tour with Kevin, BBC Radio DJ Bob Harris emailed Andrea, asking for a copy of the CD to play on his Radio Two Country show. “I’ve long been a fan of Bob and it was a dream come true to have my songs played on his show. Bob Harris and BBC Lancashire’s Joe Fish really got behind me and I’m really thankful to them for that.” She’s done live sessions for both, as well as Five Live and numerous other local radio stations since and toured the UK extensively. “I’ve had the privilege of playing alongside a great variety of musicians in a very short period of time and when you’re gigging you’re constantly learning – how to use your voice, what works, which songs communicate best.” There’s no alter ego or rehearsed routine to what she does.
She’s warm, honest and open with her audience and surprisingly light hearted between songs. “I try to vary the mood. I know a lot of my songs are deep and inward looking, so it strikes the balance when I have a bit of banter with the audience. And generally I think I’m a pretty cheerful person and so I should be – I’m doing what I always wanted to.” Read more on Last.fm.
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