One of the great joys of my job is learning about terrific Christian artists that are mostly undiscovered. One up-and- coming songwriter is Andrew Greer. I had the chance to talk with him recently, and here's some of our conversation:
DT: When did you realize that you wanted to do music as a full-time career?
Andrew: I loved music my entire life. My mother is a music educator and has been educated in music, so she infused my brothers and I with music of all sorts from an early age. And then, into high school - actually when I began going to live concerts and I began seeing the interaction between stage artists and the crowd... that's where I first realized I wanted to do have a platform because I wanted to interact with people through music.
DT: What led to the creation of your debut album Open Book?
Andrew: In 2006, I went out to Wyoming for about six to eight months just to have some personal time. The purpose was to learn how to be alone with myself and alone with God and to really see God. Fortunately He did show up! Honestly, at that time I was just kind of in a personal wreck where I just needed to get clear headed. I started out at this place at the east entrance of Yellowstone National Park. The owners of this old historic lodge, gave me access to an old upright piano from maybe the 1930's. The Shoshone mountains, and the Shoshone river, national forests, everything was just right outside the window. And that's really where a bulk of the record was either written or inspired by that.
DT: What's the story behind the song "Time Has No Meaning"?
Andrew: Yes, "Time Has No Meaning" is a very, very special song to me - very personal. I grew up in Texas and a good family friend of our entire family, Betty Hicks, lost her husband Gaylon a couple years ago unexpectedly. He just died from a heart attack - boom. She's close to 70 years old and they've probably been married close to 50 years. A lot of people use those kind of statistics to diminish what she was going through and the grief that she has to process through. You know, there's no real formula for how grief hits and for how the death of a loved one will hit us and there's no real quick remedy either. She said to me one time: "Andrew, I have all these things on my schedule book. I have lunches that I need to be at, doctors appointments, church gatherings, etc. But without Gaylon I walk around as if time has no meaning." I thought that was such a poignant way for her to explain what was happening in her life at that very time. I just wanted to coin that into the song, that time has no meaning. I think my favorite line in that song says "Lonely is the word I barely even utter. But man I feel it every time I sit down for dinner." And I just wanted to paint a picture of what this looks like and what the grief looks like.
DT: Finally, do you have any artists that have been an inspiration to you?
Andrew: Yes, this is too easy. You have obviously listened to the record. Good job Dave! There's a song on the record called "Emmylou" - Emmylou Harris is the ultimate for me. Emmylou if you're listening...(laughing) She is an under the radar artist though. There are many other influences - a lot of black gospel influences and New Orleans zydeco. But I discovered Emmylou Harris after college actually - just a few years ago. That's where the melancholy comes from as well. She is known for her sad songs. And she knows how to carry it with her voice. I wish I had that big wallowed out vibrato.
Look for Episode #69 in the archives of "Under The Radar", as Andrew Greer is our special guest all hour!