While you may not recognise the name, chances are you’ve heard the songs of singer-songwriter Paul Andrews. Whether that be from his prolific band Lazy Susan that had huge Triple J airplay in the early oughts, or the critically acclaimed Family Fold debut Lustre Glo. With a catalogue spanning two decades and two bands, Paul Andrews is among a new generation of accomplished Australian songwriters.
Having racked up a laundry list of career achievements, Paul decided to take Family Fold’s latest album Ashfield Skyline into completely uncharted territory, opting to record the album in the heart of country music heritage: Nashville, Tennessee. We caught up with Paul to discuss the new record and its unique recording process.
TEO: So, you went to Nashville to record the album. How was that experience? Did you find it hard not to be swept up in the place’s heritage?
Paul: It was an incredible experience; it would’ve been so easy to do another album with people I know but I’d reached a stage in my life where I wanted to do something out of my comfort zone. So, I connected with this guy called Brad Jones who is a producer in Nashville and managed to cobble it together. The session musicians Brad found were of a calibre I’d never played with previously.
In terms of getting swept up, I went into it wanting to be produced rather than having total control. Brad has produced some of my favourite records and I trusted him not to take me down a path where I was suddenly wearing a cowboy hat, writing songs on pedal steel guitars.
I don’t think the album would have been what it is had you not gone over.
It was exactly what I wanted it to be, and I’ve never been stretched this hard. I’d send Brad 10 songs and he’d only like one. It was like a dagger to the heart, it was hard, but it was brilliant in that respect and I think this is the first time I’ve been truly proud of every song on a record.
Between Family Fold and Lazy Susan, you’ve changed your song-writing style significantly over time. Was this a conscious choice?
I think it was unconscious. Recently, I was reflecting on the fact that my song-writing style has changed over 20 years. I used to write lyrics first then try to set it to music, then I went through a period where I would write a song title first, but nowadays I try to write the music and melodies first. For this record, I did something I’ve never done before…try to write melodies without an instrument, because with a guitar you get into habits and end up writing the same song over and over.
What’s coming up next for Family Fold? I understand you have a couple of shows planned?
Yeah, we’re just going to continue playing live; if the Australian Arts Council gives me a grant to do some touring I’ll do more touring. At the very top of my wish list is going back to Nashville next year to play the Americana Fest. Even though I’m not Americana, I could probably stretch the envelope slightly.
Ashfield Skyline is out now.
You can purchase Ashfield Skyline here.
Catch Paul Andrews & Family Fold live on Sunday, 25th November at The Union Hotel, Sydney.
Follow Family Fold