Arts & Entertainment

Press Pass: Jill Andrews

presspassWhen it comes to writing and performing her own music, there’s one quality Knoxville, Tenn. artist Jill Andrews loves most: Honesty.

Ask her fans and you may find a number of different answers, among them her ambrosial voice, her impassioned delivery, her catchy compositional prowess. But for Andrews herself, it’s simply the genuine nature of her music that stands out the most.

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Jill Andrews (Courtesy Photo)

 

When it comes to writing and performing her own music, there’s one quality Knoxville, Tenn. artist Jill Andrews loves most: Honesty.

Ask her fans and you may find a number of different answers, among them her ambrosial voice, her impassioned delivery, her catchy compositional prowess. But for Andrews herself, it’s simply the genuine nature of her music that stands out the most.

“When a song comes to me, it definitely means a lot to me,” she says. “It’s my therapy. I’m a really happy person for the most part, but that’s how I get a lot of the other stuff out.”

It’s an approach that’s paid dividends over the course of a career that began in 2003 as a full half of the founding members of The Everybodyfields with Sam Quinn and now continues on a solo basis. Already Andrews has released a self-titled EP and is currently working on a full-length album that will ideally hit stores this spring.

Andrews has given the album something of a working title, dubbing it “The Mirror,” a handle that fits well for a collection of inward-looking tunes spanning the past year of her life.

“I’ve had a whole lot of changes in my life, a whole lot of introspection,” Andrews says. “The album looks at relationships. I have a son now and there are a few songs about him as well.”

Like every artist, the road Andrews has traveled has had its ups and downs, but she says she’s kept an even keel simply by having a level head.

“I think I deal with the [the life of an artist] really well. I don’t think about things too much, I just sort of go with it.”

As Andrews has progressed from a fledgling artist in her hometown of Johnson City to a full-fledged name on the Knoxville music scene, she says the biggest change she’s noticed in herself is her confidence.

“When I started, I felt like, who am I to feel like I can write these songs,” she says. “Now my confidence comes through a little more, just from the number of songs I’ve written.”

Another change has been opening up herself and her writing to new musical influences, branching out from the humbly picked first-position-chord folk songs to today’s beautiful full-band compositions like “Sweetest in the Morning,” and even better demonstrated on “Worth Keeping.” The latter track begins meekly, with Andrews’ softly-sung words before expanding outward into a full-blown country ballad that mirrors the building emotion of which Andrews sings.

With a soft southern twang and a warmth that reminds of Hem’s Sally Ellyson, Andrews’ songs stay with you long after the final note is sung and haunt you throughout the day. (Put it this way: Andrews’ son is going to have some seriously sweet lullabyes.)

The older audience can sample Andrews’ talent when she swings into the Northern Virginia area for a show at Arlington’s IOTA Club and Café, Nov. 18, the first stop on a tour that will take her out to Chicago. After that tour wraps, in addition to a handful of winter shows, she’ll return to her work on her upcoming album. Beyond that remains unclear, though Andrews alluded to the fact she’s interested in doing some more collaborative work in the future (she squeezed in this interview before a show with John Oates, yes, of Hall and Oates), but there’s just one major obstacle.

“You have to be really organized to do collaborations … and I’m not,” Andrews jokes.

I guess the honesty factor doesn’t stop with her music.

• For more on Jill Andrews, visit www.jillandrews.com.