Updated: Feb 13, 2019
Back in 2008, there was a band rehearsal at my house. Quite an informal rehearsal, really. Four of us were getting ready to perform a bunch of original songs at the Sheldon Concert Hall in mid-town St. Louis. The lineup consisted of me, Johnny Henry on guitar and vocals, Darrin Pierce on keyboards, and Andrea Young on fiddle. We gathered around my piano for 3-4 hours that evening, drank beers, played songs, laughed, and created this very cool, indelible memory that I’ll carry around for a lifetime.
But here’s the important footnote that punctuates that already perfect night. Unbeknownst to any of us, my then three-year-old twin daughters were watching. They were watching Andrea. Closely.
By 2008, I had known Andrea for several years. We first met when we were both members of the Candy Coburn Band. She started in that band around the time I was finishing. We ended up playing a handful of shows together, and I recall having a great “get-to-know-you” conversation in the van on the way home from some road gig. A year or two later, I would find out that she was friends with my new music partner, Johnny Henry. Andrea began sitting in with us during our regular Friday night gigs at Donahue’s Bar and Grill. It was there that I learned about Andrea’s magnetic personality, her infectious laughter, and her incredible musicianship. That fiddle…when she played it at Donahue’s, every head turned.
It seems that Andrea had turned my daughters’ heads as well. The next morning after the rehearsal, one of my girls tucked a spoon under her chin to simulate Andrea’s fiddle and dragged a butter knife back and forth to emulate her bow. This went on for weeks and months, and Andrea became the hero of my household. Ten months later, that daughter would begin taking violin lessons, and all these years later she has stuck with it. My other daughter followed the same musical inspiration by taking piano—an inspiration that started on a fateful night in 2008.
Andrea has moved on to Nashville where she is finding incredible success with her band Farewell Angelina. We continue to stay in touch, and over the past few years I’ve had the privilege of sharing the stage with her and the other inspiring women in her band. Last year, my family joined me in Florida where I opened for Farewell Angelina. My girls hadn’t seen Andrea in quite some time, but with all her typical love, humility, and kindness, Andrea hugged my girls, took photos with them, and spent time asking about their paths.
Andrea is still a hero in my house. She is strong, talented, and successful; everything I want my girls to be around, and everything I want them to be.