The Narrow Interview - Andy McKee

The NARROW Interview…

With Andy McKee

By Dave Kosciolek

Simply put, Andy McKee is one of the world’s finest acoustic guitarists. His method of using his guitar as a full band, along with his alternate tunings, have become staples of many up-and-coming musicians who have taken on similar traits. I’ve seen musicians perform from the streets of Liverpool to the streets of St. Augustine with similar techniques, but with over 100 million YouTube views, tours with legendary acts Prince and Dream Theater, and being the first artist signed to guitar-great Tommy Emmanual’s record label, CGP Sounds, Andy just stands out.

Here is some of my conversation with Andy McKee.

DK: You have noted several prog rock artists/bands as influences. What is your current thought on that genre, and how it affects your music?

Andy McKee: I guess I still listen to the older stuff mostly, but I really dig Winery Dogs. I’m not even sure they fit into the prog rock category or not, but I love their music. Mike, Billy, and Ritchie are all so amazing!

DK: Speaking of prog rock, Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree) always performs barefoot. Do you have any similar performance rituals/habits?

Andy McKee: I prefer to wear Thai fisherman pants onstage since they’re so loose and comfy, but that’s about it. I like to do a little stretching before I go on too, I’m turning 40 this year so I need a little loosening up before I get out there!

 DK: What could a musician (even a musician of your stature) learn from touring with Prince, which you did?

Andy McKee: I don’t know, it was a bit of an awkward experience in some ways. I’m very laid back. Prince wasn’t very laid back. I guess I learned that I like being laid back.

DK: Are there any up and coming artists you are excited about?

Andy McKee: In the instrumental guitar world I really like Calum Graham and Trevor Gordon Hall. They are great artists with their own identity and I appreciate how they are driven to express themselves with music, not impress you with their ability. I am so bored with guitarists trying to do the next outrageous thing with a guitar. I just want to hear good music again. So I’m listening for interesting ideas and good melodies more than anything.

DK: Anything you’d like to say to our Florida readers?

Andy McKee: I’m very happy to be coming back to play for you again, it’s always a good time in Florida!

Fun fact about Andy McKee: Andy contributed to Josh Groban’s 2007 Grammy-nominated Christmas album, “Noel,” where he played guitar on Groban’s version of “The Little Drummer Boy.” Groban’s album became the best-selling CD of 2007 in the USA according to Billboard Magazine, where it also reached #1 on the Billboard 200.

 Andy McKee LIVE at High Dive, Tuesday, March 26. 7pm.

dave kosciolek