Biography

AndyBaylor-01

“Andy Baylor is one of Melbourne’s greatest musical treasures… he lives by his trade and his trade is music” Keith Glass, Herald Sun.

Andy Baylor is one of Australia’s most  versatile working  musicians.He   has drawn on America’s great 20th century legacy of popular music and his own Australian roots to create an  individual voice.

The Melbourne -born roots writer and multi-instrumentalist has ,musically, seen and done more than most. He has been acclaimed as ” Melbourne’s king of Roots ”

“Melbourne is a treasure-trove of fine music and marvellous musical practitioners. One of the most gifted is Andy Baylor. He is a master of space and time,” Ken Williams, The Age.

flowers-bioAs a guitarist, Andy combines a deep knowledge of blues, jazz, folk and country music. After spending his formative years in well-loved  Melbourne inner-urban bands such as the Blue Rockets, The Honeydrippers and the Auto drifters , he went on to cut his teeth playing with  visiting U.S.A. masters including Jimmy Witherspoon (Legendary blues shouter), Big Jay McNeely (R ’n B saxophone pioneer), Jimmy McGriff (funky Hammond organ virtuoso), Flaco Jimenez (tex mex accordion king), Coco Robicheaux (contemporary singer, songwriter from New Orleans), Louisiana Red (Bluesman), Screamin Jay Hawkins (voodoo blues king) and others

 

 

“Over the years Andy Baylor has taken us on a world tour of musical styles, from western swing to Cajun boogie, country blues to sublime pop…..Like many of the finest things in life, Andy’s new record takes it’s time to reveal its many delights. What at first seems a  record of simple dignity gradually emerges as emotionally complex and full of quiet passion.” Jeff Glorfeld, The Age.

 

AndyBaylor-GuitarDuring the early 1980’s,co-founded the quintessential Aussie roots pioneers, The Dancehall Racketeers.This band  toured everywhere in Australia, from Aboriginal settlements in Arnhem Land to big city concert halls breaking down barriers and introducing such (then unusual and obscure) styles of music as Western Swing, Cajun, Zydeco, rockabilly, country ,hillbilly and blues to Australian audiences.Their self-produced vinyl records on the Preston label are highly sought-after collectors items and offer music that pre-figures  the current “roots”craze both here and in U.S.A.

As a violinist, Andy  has honed a unique Australian sound with elements of swing, Celtic, Cajun, classical and country fiddle styles. In 1989 and again in 2005 he traveled the back roads of the U.S.A. as a fiddler, where he played with many legendary musicians including bluegrass greats David Grisman , Texan swing fiddle master Johnny Gimble (A member of Bob Wills Texas Playboys),Cliff Bruner (Texas fiddle virtuoso), Cajun fiddle greats Dewey Balfa, Rufus and Tony Thibodeaux (Rufus toured with Neil Young for years) ,Dave Greely ,Courtney Granger and others.He was mentored by  accordonists Ray Abshire  and Marc Savoy and composed over 30 Cajunesque fiddle tunes in Lafayette . This first-hand experience has given Andy unparalleled insights into the traditions of  American music.

In 2009 Andy published  an M.A. thesis and CD at Melbourne’s RMIT , “Possum Stole the Pumpkin” -Playing Cajun in Australia.

Also in 2009 Andy spent time in Nashville and West Virginia playing and learning from master musicians such as  mandolinists Mike Compton and Roland White, guitarist Russ Barenberg and fiddlers  Buddy Spicher, James Bryan and Bobby Taylor,Franklin George   amongst others.

Over the years Andy has played all the leading music festivals with his  various line-ups :- The Banksia Band which focuses on original folk-tinged balladry and exotica;The Hip Hillbillies, a western swing band  and his well-known  Cajun Combo  which  specializes in a unique, hybrid mix of Louisana-inspired Cajun dance music ,blues,  and original tunes  delivered with a definitive Australian roots flavour.

Andy continues his unique musical journey with a host of diverse musical projects and his many CDs reflect his wide artistic interests.

Discography

For more detailed information about Andy’s recordings, please visit the discography page on this website.

2014 – REEL OF JOY

2013 – DOWN WHERE THE BANKSIAS GROW

2009 –  POSSUM STOLE THE PUMPKIN

2008 – BLUES IS POETRY

2006 – THE PRESTON YEARS

2005 – CRY FREEDOM

2005 – HOMETOWN STOMP

2004 – BUCKLEY’S CHANCE

2003 – MELVILLE MILK BAR BLUES

2003 – FRONT PORCH FAVOURITES

2001 – THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT

2000 – ARCADIANA

THE CHARCOAL CLUB-MEETING 1

1999 – GUAVA LAMPO

1998 – THE YARRAVILLE SESSIONS

1995 – THE BUSH IS FULL OF GHOSTS

1992 – ANDY BAYLOR’S CAJUN COMBO