Andrew Bryant (Water Valley, MS)
For over a fifteen years, Andrew Bryant has been writing songs, making records and touring across the United States with the best of them. Whether alone with his guitar, or by releasing his fury behind a drum kit with his band Water Liars, Andrew has lived a life committed to song.
At the age of fourteen, Andrew began playing drums in his church band in Mississippi. And it was there, in front of a small audience of thirty or so people three times a week, that he learned the power of song.
He first cut his teeth outside of the church playing in the Memphis punk scene in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, recording his on songs in his bedroom and arranging them into lo-fi albums and EP’s and selling handmade copies at his shows. Touring nationally soon followed, often alone or with a friend in a small car, crisscrossing the U.S. with only his songs, singing for anyone who would listen. And he hasn’t stopped doing that to this day.
Andrew labored for years playing like this, in small clubs, basements, any place that would have him. Along the way he built a small cult following, but not much more. And after years of labor with little to show for it, he began to heavily consider abandoning his passion for music and moving on to something else. But no matter how much he searched, he just couldn’t find anything else worth his time.
Thankfully, Andrew’s friend Justin Peter Kinkel-Schuster contacted the discouraged artist one day and asked him to record some songs that he’d been working on. Justin drove to Mississippi and they got to work in Andrew’s makeshift bedroom studio. What ensued was the beginning of the band Water Liars. Bryant and Kinkel-Schuster immediately felt an artistic connection, and the result of this first session was their debut album ‘Phantom Limb’. They decided, against all odds, to tour as much as possible behind the album. They gave it all they had, hoping their hard work might pay off. Soon after, they signed with Fat Possum imprint Big Legal Mess records and released two more critically acclaimed albums, ‘Wyoming’ and ‘Water Liars’‘, and toured non-stop for 4 years sharing the stage with the likes of Angel Olsen, Drive By Truckers, Jason Isbell, Mountain Goats, and many others along the way.
In 2015, Water Liars decided to take a break and Andrew naturally returned to his first love: writing songs and recording them in his bedroom in Mississippi. The result was his his first solo album in 6 years, titled ‘This Is The Life’. BitterSoutherner named it their #3 album of the of 2015 and said of it, “While James McMurtry can write a movie in 10 verses, it seems Bryant
has the ability to do it in three. His songs are tight vignettes of life’s pieces and episodes.”
The influence of his time spent in Water Liars has expanded Andrew’s musical landscape and it shows. His days on the road with Water Liars, and alone, seem to have ushered in a new era of sounds that showcase his recording and musical abilities in a more profound way, which is evident in his most recent album, ‘Ain’t It Like The Cosmos’.
For Bryant, Cosmos is the result of all that has come before it: music, love, work, fatherhood, the road, bands, clubs, hotels, basements, bars, divorce, isolation, sadness, reflection. Written in the years spent on and off the road behind ‘This Is The Life’, and recorded at Dial Back Sound in Water Valley, MS--the same studio where Water Liars recorded two albums--Cosmos highlights Bryant at the top of his game.
No depression said of the album, “Cosmos is a thoughtful study of humanity, peeling back the artificial layers we’re conditioned to build up in order to hide the vulnerability of just trying to function and survive. Life’s tough, Bryant seems to say, but we have to find the good.”
The fiction writer William Boyle said of Andrew’s upcoming new album, “Nobody right now does reflection and interiority better than Andrew Bryant. He’s always stopping to look. Starting again and recalibrating. Asking questions. The songs on Ain’t It Like the Cosmos provide complex observations about work, fatherhood, love, and longing. What does it even mean to be a father and a husband and a son? What’s it mean to be from a place? To truly live in a place? To feel trapped in a place? To feel freed by work and music and love? The album is rooted in sensory details. This intimacy gives us access to Bryant’s memories and fears.”
‘Ain’t It Like The Cosmos’ will be available March 9 via Last Chance Records. Andrew will be touring both solo and with a band for the remainder of 2018.
Andrew Ryan & The Travelers (St. Louis)
630pm - doors
7pm - show