Westside Andy Bio
Born in 1952, Andy caught the music bug young, and picked up his first harmonica at age 11 in Madison, WI, which he still calls home. Listening late at night on KAAY AM Radio in Little Rock, AR, he got turned on early to Muddy Waters, Little Walter, James Cotton, Sonny Boy Williamson, Howlin' Wolf, and Big Walter Horton, to name a few. And at that time, there were so many great, iconic players to learn from in the nearby Chicago area. Junior Wells, Charlie Musselwhite, Jim Liban, Corky Siegel, Paul Butterfield. Lots of information and inspiration for a young, hungry player.
He's played over 10,000 gigs over some 45 years, working with a Who’s Who of the Blues: Luther Allison, Ben E. King, James Cotton, Pinetop Perkins, Barrelhouse Chuck, Hubert Sumlin, Tab Benoit, Gary Primich, Mel Ford, Billy Flynn, Glenn Davis, Paul Black & the Flipkings, Reverend Raven, Jon Nicholson, Corky Siegel, Jim Schwall, Ben Sidran, Tino Gonzales, Clyde Stubblefield, The Doobie Brothers, Richie Havens, and The University of Wisconsin 250-piece band (!).
The Blues is the center, yet Andy plays the harmonica with no genre limitation. His drive to push the envelope has led to many sessions in R&B, Jazz, and Country. He also makes sure to take time to share his love and appreciation for his craft, by playing for and teaching school kids, via "K-12 Blues in the Schools".
Listening to Andy's live and recorded work, you get a sense of the many harpists that have inspired him. Blend that with his own unique tone and style, and you know instantly who you're listening to. It's that "player's player", Westside Andy.
by Bob Harris 2014