Andy Velo - Half-Truths & Other Lies
"Wouldn't Be the First Time" studio performance
Andy Velo - Wake Up, Boat, Drink, Repeat
Andy Velo in Ponchataula, Louisiana
Andy Velo Live in Chicago
Andy Velo - Album Release Party (Buford, GA)
Andy Velo | Bio Video
Total Streams on Spotify alone
Age: 23-45, 50-50% male to female ratio
*avg using Spotify, Pandora, and Facebook Data.
20-25k+ avg. Monthly Listeners
Monthly reach across socials
“I should be able to take a song off this record, and know it sounds even better live.. I try to imagine all these songs live, – a little syncopation, a triplet to add something interesting, a little conversational, because ultimately, that’s what we’re doing.”
Andy Velo is old school. Not a hip-hop drop, nor pop collaboration in his pocket. He'd rather dive deep into a conversation about Brooks & Dunn, Shenandoah, Mark Chesnutt, or Vince Gill than worry about keeping up with today’s contemporary country music. Nothing against anybody else’s kind of country, but the Georgia-born son of hard-working lower middle-class parents in a very small town would rather stick to what he knows and loves.
“There’s not a single loop on Way Out,” he begins. “I’m proud of that. Listening to those ‘90s and early 2000s records, the rawness of actual playing. There’s an element of country music that’s missing today: the real music, fiddle and steel, a real emotional drummer whose feeling comes through the playing.
From the blue collar punch of “Drinkin’ Friends” that evokes Brooks & Dunn’s churning honky tonk to the Muscle Shoals languor of “Wouldn’t Be The First Time” as steamy as it is wistful, the muscular vocalist shifts through the gears of modern masculinity with a full-on commitment to be real and embody the small details that anchored the best country of the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s. Laughing, he says, “When Bro Country decides it’s going to leave its hometown and create a life, it’s going to be more than just the party. That’s where I come in. I’m with all the good ole boys who’ve found the next stage of life; they know there’s a whole lot more to life and love, but they’re still getting out there and having fun.”
Authenticity is everything to the young man who opted to follow music instead of college. “Football, baseball, wrestling, homecoming king, but it wasn’t where I wanted to be.” Falling in with Georgia country sensation Corey Smith, who’s sold over a million tickets, 1.5 million digital singles, and over 5.76 million Spotify followers with over 73 million streams, Velo worked merch, road managed, drove all night. He saw the power of connection with bar owners, other artists and especially the people coming out to hear the music. That human interaction is about people feeling what’s in the songs, building something more than a mere stream or download.
“He was going out on his first college tour,” Velo says. “And I was college age, so this was a huge education for me. Corey instilled a whole lot of ‘figure it out’ in me. So, I’ve been that guy, sleeping on a blow-up mattress in the backseat. That doesn’t scare me, but changing my music does.”
So, the freewheeling performer bided his time, made friends and kept talking music with likeminded people. When he met industry vet Carole-Ann Mobley, who’d served as A&R VP at Sony and Warner signing Brett Eldridge and Frankie Ballard, he had an ally. A champion of artists who define their own lane, she recognized the true country Velo embedded his songs in; she introduced him to Jimmy Ritchey, who’d written hits for George Strait and Mark Chesnutt and produced Clay Walker and Jake Owen.
“I’ve never had somebody get my creative vision like Jimmy. It’s like we speak the same language.”
The two clicked as writers over their shared vision of what country was, is, and could be. Suddenly, Velo had a multi-instrumentalist and proven producer who understood what he wanted. The pair went into the studio with an emphasis on live, on real instruments, on classic meat and potatoes music.
Four songs slated for drummer Shannon Forrest’s studio turned to nine in a matter of hours. “It’s largely an analog studio, so when everyone got in there, it just felt good...and we just kept going.”
Whether the stand-tall “We Don’t Mess Around,” the sneaky Chesnutt-evoking good time’n’good ole boys “Drinkin’ Friends” or the stumbled upon perfection of “One of Those Sometimes,” the grooves are loose, but the beats propulsive. Drawing on Nashville’s finest players – guitarists Rob McNally and Danny Rader, bassist Glen Worf, banjo/mandolin/guitarist Ilya Toshinsky, Charlie Judge on keys, and fiddler Larry Franklin – Way Out works a joyous vein. The staccato “Overserved” recalls the humorous side of George Strait, while the throbbing backbeat “Whiskysippi” suggests the free-spirited love child of Jason Aldean and Little Big Town.
“Over the last 10 years, being that blue collar guy who’s gone out and played for the people, you make your career one person and one handshake at a time. That’s not just a fan, but someone who believes in you, in the songs -- and that matters.
“When we went in, I wanted to make a simple record, something that serves as a backdrop for their lives, that reflects the rest of how they live, how they feel and how they see things. The stuff that’s maybe not getting on the radio, but still lifts them up, makes them feel like someone sees them.”
That caring is ingrained in the 34-year old with a speaking voice as firm and friendly as a solid handshake. That caring also makes the closing “Georgia’s My Home” a moving homage to where Velo was born, raised, and became a man.
“I’m a big dreamer, and the University of Georgia, well, I’m the biggest Bulldog fan...Every college has that song they play: win, lose, or draw. To have that song be that, that would be the world to me. That was everything I was trying to write ‘Georgia’s My Home’ to be, and I think we got there.”
No brag, just the humility of a native son with deep pride for where he comes from. That dignity and love also imbues his love songs with a maturity not heard in contemporary country music. Whether the frisky better-late-than-never “Where Have You Been All Night,” t” the random all-night connection “Goodnight Tonight” or the sexy Conway Twitty denial of “Half Truths and Other Lies,” the old school double-entendres and word play suggest a man who understands women, wanting and the way romance and love transform people.
“At the end of the day, I’m just trying to be a good man, to do what’s right and build something to last. I was raised in church, raised by my parents, my friends’ parents and the people around us. You see the things that matter, and that stays with you.
“Some artists have molded to the sounds of the moment, which is fine. But when I look at the older artists, I see they could choose trends, or forge their own path. The ones I love, the ones who’ve made a mark, they’ve all forged their own path – and sometimes it takes longer, but you know it’s built to last.”
Velo grows quiet as he says this, weighing not just the music but a responsibility he feels to the genre. For someone who says Clay Walker’s “I Can’t Sleep” has “always been an emotional dagger to me,” and holds Kenny Chesney’s The Road & The Radio up as an example of a great album, Way Out was built to mark lives in the same way.
“The thing everyone takes note of is the flashy stuff, and I know that,” the sandy-haired songwriter concedes. “But those things never last. That’s why I don’t think there’s a better time to be an independent artist. There are so many ways to get the music to the people, to reach them...But this independent way, I can make the music I believe in the way I want to. To me, that’s what my fans and these songs deserve: hard work and integrity.”
Like everything about the man, Way Out comes down to the basics. Keep your integrity. Howl at the moon. Have fun with your friends. Do it for love. But ultimately, as these 13 songs suggest, find your lane – your perfect country music lane – and get living.
Acts Andy has supported: Brantley Gilbert, Florida Georgia Line, Brad Paisley, Keith Urban, Jason Aldean, Alabama, Kid Rock, Toby Keith, Kip Moore, Cody Johnson, Chase Rice, Randy Rogers Band, Casey Donahew, Foreigner, Granger Smith, Craig Morgan, Corey Smith, Jamey Johnson, Blackberry Smoke, Aaron Lewis, Love & Theft, Ashley McBryde among others.
Country Living Magazine:
CMT Premiere - "Half-Truths & Other Lies"