About Andy

My first instrument was the autoharp.  I learned how to play “what shall we do with the drunken sailor” from my father when I was 5 and I would play it over and over again.  I also learned the recorder and played trios with my father and sister from the Von Trapp Family songbook.  This has come in handy with my new position at Lake Lure Classical Academy (thanks dad)!

I am fortunate to have had a stellar bunch of music teachers in my life who inspired me musically as well as personally.  I started piano lessons with Mrs. Burke in fourth grade.  In fifth grade I took up the clarinet and played for four years in the school band.  I switched to bassoon in eighth grade and studied under Rick Hambright.  I also began taking guitar lessons from a truly inspirational teacher, Mike Novakowski.  I played bassoon through high school and also played guitar in rock and blues bands in my high school with other kids, playing Clapton, Led Zeppelin, John Lee Hooker, Blues Brothers, but mostly just having fun.  I also started dabbling with the harmonica.

In college I decided to study music and happened to fall in to an amazing jazz program at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.  I studied jazz guitar under author and performer Mark Boling, former Jazz Messenger Donald Brown, and acclaimed educator Jerry Coker.  I received a BA in studio music & jazz.   I played with “Alexander Snide and the Tone-Def White Boys” for a year or two before graduating and setting up shop in Memphis.

I began my teaching career at Lane Music in Germantown. I was fortunate to be mentored by a stellar group of professional musicians including Scott Lane, Richard Graham, Ed Finney, Buzz McEntire, and John Gloria.  I also started practicing upwards of 15 hours a day and composing in earnest and performing regularly, culminating in two CDs under the name Klarcnova with Shayne Heather on bass and Scott Glenn (first CD), and Robin Tolleson (second CD) on drums.

The band and my wife relocated to Asheville NC and continued playing Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville, Hendersonville, Columbia SC, Greenville SC, and Charleston SC.  We opened for Colonel Bruce and the Code Talkers, Dr. Didg, and have featured stellar steel pan player Jonathan Scales and rapper Chach on a number of gigs.  In Asheville I began teaching at the Asheville Music School.  At the time, they didn’t use me as a guitar teacher but had me teaching harmonica and banjo.  After a while I was able to teach four days a week and stayed busy gigging.  I co-wrote and played guitar in Ruby Slippers with Molly Kummerle (vox) and Robin Tolleson (drums).  We recorded one CD and played the SOS fest, Bele Chere, Idfest, and toured constantly throughout the Southeast.   At the same time I began to learn the chromatic harmonica as a way to introduce a wind voice into my music.  I learned many of the jazz standards I play regularly on guitar (Satin Doll, Night in Tunisia, Black Orpheus…) but focused more on emulating the clarinet from players like Naftule Brandwein, Dave Tarras, and David Krakauer which led me to Klezkamp in 2003 where I was able to study with clarinetist Ken Maltz.  I attended Klezkanada from 2004 to 2008 and studied with David Krakauer.

At Klezkanada I hooked up with a bunch of klezmorim at an informal jam session and formed the band Lithuanian Empire with Fern Lindzon (piano), Kinneret Sagee (clarinet), Ryan Purchase (t-bone), Becky Wexler (clarinet), Randy Pierce (piano and accordion), Lorie Wolf (drums), Eva Boodman (trumpet), Moti Ludmer (accordion), and Alexis Basque (trumpet and bratsche) and myself on chromatic harmonica and electric bass.  We arrange traditional klezmer (and klezmerized non-klezmer) tunes and compose originals.  We have toured Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg, and QC.  We played Quebec City’s 400th anniversary, Ashkenaz Festival, Ottawa Folk Festival, Markham Jazz Festival, Mameloshen Festival, and received airtime on CBC radio.  We are in the planning stages of recording a second album at the end of summer 2012.

Currently in Asheville, I play bass and harmonica in MAR and the Marmeladies.  We are an eclectic bunch of queer and queer friendly musicians featuring MAR (vox, guitar, harmonica), Elizabeth McCorvey (vox, cello, violin), and Zack Downes (drums and percussion)

I also play in Bandana Klezmer which formed from a class I was teaching at the Jewish Community Center in Asheville.  When I pitched the idea to the JCC, they were thrilled and the class was quite successful, bringing in locals, members and nonmembers of the Jewish community, and a handful of accomplished musicians from the Burnsville area who had played some klezmer already.  From this class I joined a jam session and Bandana Klezmer was born.  We play a style of klezmer familiar to 18th and 19th century inhabitants of the Carpathian mountain regions in eastern Europe.  Michael Hunt (tsimbl [yiddish hammer dulcimer] and poyk [bass drum with cymbal]), Meg Peterson (accordion & vocals), Naomi Dalglish (fiddle & vocals), Rob Levin (guitar and pirate yelling) , and Marc Rudow (fiddle and vocals), I play cello, harmonica, and pirate yell.  We have played for the Hard Lox festival; Java Jam in Burnsville; Khanuka and Purim events at the JCC, Beth Israel, and Beth Ha Tephila synagogues; house parties; and are also available for private parties, corporate events, weddings,  and bar-mitzvahs.

My current mania has been practicing the recorder. I’m getting pretty good at getting high D which I’m only allowed to practice when my wife is not around. I also found another player named Tom Hudgin and we are currently booking our duet for events.

Since the pandemic I’ve also teamed up with one of my students, Espen Raustøl. We went busking in the downtown and have since played at the Blackbird and are branching out to other venues.  We are performing as Telemark Pass