Glen David Andrews - Redemption

Glen David Andrews
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Gospel, blues, funk, jazz, soul, marching & world music constantly rub against and off on each other in the artistic gumbo of New Orleans. The same can be said about the art and life of Glen David Andrews, one of the Big Easy’s native sons.
 
Andrews, the New Orleans based trombonist and vocalist, hails from one of city’s legendary musical families. He is the cousin of Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews, so we know that Glen David Andrews can make great music. However, his struggles with addiction almost sidelined the artist.
Gospel, blues, funk, jazz, soul, marching & world music constantly rub against and off on each other in the artistic gumbo of New Orleans. The same can be said about the art and life of Glen David Andrews, one of the Big Easy’s native sons.
 
Andrews, the New Orleans based trombonist and vocalist, hails from one of city’s legendary musical families. He is the cousin of Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews, so we know that Glen David Andrews can make great music. However, his struggles with addiction almost sidelined the artist. He had to check himself into a Boston based rehabilitation center in 2012, and that wise decision became the first step that birthed the excellent and appropriately titled album Redemption.
 
Redemption is an album that is fun and funky while also managing to be a personal statement of Andrews’ struggle and the role that his personal faith in God and in himself played in allowing the trombonist and composer to overcome. The story starts at the beginning with the blues/rock “NY to Nola,” a gritty piece that sports Andrews wrapping his raspy yet rangy vocal around stark vocals that tell the tale of the status of his life before. “New York to Nola/Rikers or Angola/Probation or parole/east coast swagger with that southern soul/Hook or a line/line or a verse/Four door Chevy/Or a brand new Hearse/My life is like a mockery/Dope deals and robbery/Keep having dreams of demons in my sleep."
 
 
Andrews’ life and his music embrace both the sacred and profane – as does the city he calls home. That likely explains why a song such as “NY to Nola” can be on the same album with a remake of “Didn’t It Rain” that includes a sample of Mahalia Jackson singing the hook to open the tune. That piano and organ open fades into a percussive upright bass slapping blues guitar accompanying Andrews giving the piece his best gospel lead vocals. He could have been a singer with the Dixie Hummingbirds.
 
“Didn’t It Rain” is just one instance where Andrews dips into the past to reacquaint listeners with one of our musical greats. Another instance comes on the track “Bad By Myself,” a title that brings to mind a great Southern Soul tune. The track that finds Andrews lending his mature vocals to a story of a man who is weary of a dysfunctional relationship borrows the bass line from Carl Carlton’s great 1981 funk hit “She’s A Bad Mamma Jamma.” Andrews’ repurposing of the bass line stands as an innovative and inspired flipping of Carlton’s script. The former tune finds Carlton exulting over the fineness of the object of his desire. Andrews uses that same bass line to set the bottom on a story of someone who will gladly take the uncertainty of being alone over the certain misery of being hooked up with the wrong person.
 
Then there is the dirty ultra funk of “Lower Power.” This is a song where Andrews plants both of his feet firmly on both sides of the gulf separating the church house and the roadhouse. This is a song about temptation and the daily struggles that Andrews faces to keep his demons in check. It is a rollicking, blaring funky tour de force that leaves the listener thoroughly entertained but wondering whether you just listened to a gospel song or a secular song. I know that might offend some people, but that fusion of church and world is what makes “Lower Power,” and every song on Redemption such a pleasure to play. Highly Recommended.
 
By Howard Dukes
 
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