Andy Baylor was born in Melbourne in 1954 and is a respected and influential Australian musician known for his multi-instrumental skills, songwriting and versatility. Andy’s early life was spent living in St Kilda with his father, Jack Freeman, a leading social realist Artist before eventually settling with his mother,politician Gracia Baylor, in the small mountain town of Healesville.
Early lessons on violin and singing in church choirs led Andy to an interest in music which blossomed in the late 1960’s with the Beatles, Dylan and other rock music icons.He moved past mainstream rock’n’roll and pop music when he was introduced to records by Lightnin’ Hopkins, Fats Waller, Django Reinhardt and other legendary blues,folk and jazz artists of the “pre-Beatles world”.“When I heard these musicians, I knew there was something else, something deeper than the pop music on the radio.This happened pretty quickly for me and by the early 1970’s I was immersing myself in the roots of popular music and flying an ‘alternative’ flag”
In the heady days of Melbourne’s busy music scene in the 70’s and 80’s, Andy was a key figure in the formation of several popular bands such as the jump blues band, The Honeydrippers (pre-dating the band of the same name formed in the mid 80’s by Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant) and the much-loved Western Swing band, The Dancehall Racketeers.Both of these bands were hard-working touring bands who introduced many different styles of music to Australian audiences.
After freelancing, touring and supporting many leading American musicians, the 90’s saw Andy forming his Cajun Combo with the famous Daddy Cool rhythm section – drummer Gary Young and bassist Wayne Duncan, plus guitarist Sam Lemann. The impetus for this band was a long trip to USA in late ‘80’s where Andy came into first-hand contact with Cajun music of Louisiana.The mix of Southern blues, funky rhythms, hot fiddle and Australian bar-room music resulted in residencies at many Melbourne venues, several best-selling CDs, and assured Andy’s reputation as a leading musician in the Blues and Roots trend that was emerging.
Through the 1990’s and well into the millennium Andy continued to produce a string of well-received CD’s and worked with a who’s-who of Australian music. He toured the USA several times, completed a Master’s Degree on playing Cajun music in Australia -Possum Stole The Pumpkin, worked in theatre with Richard Frankland’s Charcoal Club , played blues bars, performed at festivals and further developed his voice as a songwriter.
In 2012 Andy released ‘Reel of Joy’- a CD of jukebox favourites, crossing genres from Cajun to Blues and Country. That year also saw him move to Sydney where he has spent several years playing clubs and festivals around NSW. These days however, finds him living out in Central West NSW ,in Cowra, busy raising a young family, while still writing and performing regularly in Melbourne and Sydney with his Blues trio and various other bands.
Andy has recently formed the bar-room blues band The Excello Allstars with Continental Robert Susz, created and toured the show ‘Songs From the Lost Highway-The Songs of Hank Williams’ and formed a new western swing band –The Hip Hillbillies.
Late 2018 sees Andy release a new LP, “Blues From The Irene Building” – a collection of original songs with a strong blues feel. Andy will be releasing the album in October and has a series of showcase gigs booked in Sydney and Melbourne.
Thu 8 Nov Dog’s Bar, St Kilda (9pm)
Fri 9 Nov Lomond Hotel, East Brunswick (9pm)
Sun 11 Nov Drunken Poet, West Melbourne (4-6pm)
Fri 23Nov Gasoline Pony, Marrickville (7-10pm)
Sun25th Nov.Marrickville Bowling Club (4-7)
BLUES FROM THE IRENE BUILDING: ANDY BAYLOR
Andy is proud to announce the release of a new album of cool original blues, funky instrumentals and ballads – an album about changes all around us, Blues From the Irene Building.PLEASE EMAIL ME AT firstname.lastname@example.org to purchase a copy of this limited edition album
This is the first new release in sometime for Andy, (his last release was 2012’s Reel of Joy) and is a musical testament to his dedication and long-time love of the blues in all its forms.
As the face of Melbourne continues to change and evolve at what seems an ever-rapidly pace, the old warehouses and factories are being replaced with a new high rise apartment skyline. One of the last of the factory/warehouse spaces is The Irene Building . Once a family-run lingerie factory,it has been operating as a multi-purpose community-run arts space.
Andy, always on the lookout for a recording space that’s real, lowdown and funky , discovered the recording studio and holed-up one long hot summer with his long –time collaborators, Pete Beulke on bass and Sharkey Ramos on drums. Together they cooked up a collection of songs and instrumentals –off the-cuff, no frills, raw emotional riffs and heartfelt playing, with Andy furiously writing ‘ stream of consciousness’ poems and lyrics on scraps of paper. Now, several summers later Blues from the Irene Building is the result.
The album opens with High Risin’Apartment Blues ,a hypnotic minor blues with Andy rolling out subdued but intense guitar licks over a funky groove. The album moves into a swing number Some Love, a chocolate box list of assorted states of love and switches gear into a powerful riff–based lost love blues ballad The Look In Your Eyes.
A centrepiece of the album is Restless Spirit Blues– a “manifesto song” dealing with the fact that so many things in our life are beyond our control – it’s perhaps the pivotal song in the collection…a declaration of strengths and weakness.“If you can understand this song you can understand my whole musical journey” says Andy.
Good Good Good Rockin’ Guitar is an old style jump blues song that gives a nod to Andy’s long-time love of roots style R’n’B and Melbourne’s bar-room culture. Blues is Real is a funky soul–type number while Money Talks is a heavy dropped tuning riff with a gospel message.
There are several instrumental tracks featured on the album which not only highlight Andy’s skill as a composer but also display his diverse guitar talents- from swing-driven jazz, funky Southern–style and finger-pickin’ High- Life .The album was engineered by Steve Fraser and mixed and mastered by Sharkey Ramos.