21st Century Troubadour by Andy White Is An ‘On The Road’ For Musicians

Book Review
Title: 21st Century Troubadour
Author: Andy White
Publisher: Lagan Press
Released: 2009
Pages: 320
ISBN-10: 1904652727
ISBN-13: 978-1904652724
Stars: 5.0

Freewheeling, mordant, rumbustious, 21st Century Troubadour is a travelogue into the imaginative heartlands of rock and roll.  It’s the journal of a slightly twisted love affair with life, art, music, the musical life and all the combinations thereof.

Its author Andy White, is a complex, Belfast-born, Cambridge educated man who travels the globe as a 21st century troubadour.  Hauling an acoustic guitar, a laptop and a 70lb. Bag – there are Rules of the Bag – with his life in it; this brilliant poet/musician spends half of each year away from his beloveds and their house on the hill in Melbourne.  He has worked with such music legends as Van Morrison, Peter Gabriel, Sinead O’Connor and Tim Finn (though he doesn’t talk much about this in the book) and was once the director of the World of Music, Arts and Dance (WOMAD) festival in the UK.  White earns a living playing his exquisite, intelligent and heartfelt songs mostly in Europe, America and Australia but has given up trying to answer the question, “where’s my home?”  Andy’s a citizen of the world, comfortable in his skin, confident of his gift, and has seen and done more in his 49 years than most of us could ever imagine.  I confess that I fell a wee bit in love with him after reading this book.

His publisher at Lagan Press wanted a journal, an On The Road, and White delivered in spades.  21st Century Troubadour is most certainly On The Road for musicians and music fans, and even more accessible to this generation than Kerouac’s masterpiece.  It’s a collection of thoughtfully written snapshots of Andy’s life as a touring musician between the years 2000 and 2008; an engaging, funny and poignant chronicle that cries out for a sequel.  In the meantime, fans like me can stay in the loop by following his blog.

As a life long music fanatic who has read countless volumes of music biographies and autobiographies, I can honestly say that no book with a musician as its central character has ever moved me more than this.  It probably helps that I’m close in age to White, have met him, and can totally identify with all of his pop and cultural references, but regardless, I had so much fun reading the prose of 21st Century Troubadour that I re-read it and savored every moment of his myriad of adventures.

Andy has an earnest, spirited, yet realistic view of the world and the people he meets in it and seems to take something meaningful away from every encounter.  21st Century Troubadour began as a tour/diary blog through which he shared his concert experiences and it evolved into a descriptive account of the places he’s been to and the assortment of remarkable characters he’s met along the way.  As he affirms at the very beginning of the book, “there is no narrative on a 21st Century Troubadour’s tour.  There is no plot, and only a few recurring characters.  Nothing is certain except that nothing is certain.”

Reading this journal, you’ll discover just how unglamorous most of a touring musician’s life is as he chocks up millions of air miles, waits in airport departure lounges, maintains a steady diet of sandwiches and KitKat bars, sleeps in hotel rooms – if he’s lucky, as he’s slept in some pretty strange places – and prays that the gigs he’s booked via email haven’t been cancelled before he gets to his destination (places like Soweto, Berlin, Glasgow, Alaska & Tokyo to name just a few) and that they’ll be financially lucrative once he’s there.  “There are lists, poems, and advice on such topics as how to check in large amounts of bags on budget airlines without paying excess baggage fees, and what to do when you’re mistaken as one of U2.”  I understand he’s also been taken for a member of Sting’s band as well.  All is he wants to know is which member of the band is he supposed to be?  His list called ‘56 Reasons Why The German Concert Will Be Empty Tonight’ and section on ‘The Hugh Grant Pack’ are particularly funny!  At the back of the book there are also two interviews with Andy that offer even more insight into this fascinating character.

It can be a rough road sometimes but Andy wouldn’t have it any other way. His hilarious tales of a troubadour’s Hell and Nirvana will make you smile, laugh, and nod your head in acknowledgement of his pleasure and pain.  21st Century Troubadour is a must read for anyone who dreams of being a touring musician, is one, knows one, or simply loves music.

Paint The Town PINK! For The Cure, Sat. Apr. 2nd

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Gananoque “Paints the Town PINK” for Breast Cancer Awareness and Research

Gananoque, Ontario, March 15, 2011 – Organizers and musicians are gearing up to Paint the Town of Gananoque PINK! on Saturday, April 2nd. Jeff Girling, owner of the Stonewater Pub, hosted the first incarnation of the fundraiser in 2010, and it was such a rousing success, he decided that this year they would expand the event to include neighboring venues: Muskie Jakes (Gananoque Inn) and the Firehall Theatre at the 1000 Islands Playhouse.

“Paint the Town PINK! 2011” includes an expanded line-up of exceptional female singer-songwriters who are generously donating their time and talents to the cause. The afternoon will kick-off at noon with an open jam at the Stonewater Pub, led by Jenica Rayne and Lynne Hanson. Local musicians will perform at the Stonewater and Muskie Jakes through the afternoon. The festivities will then shift to the Firehall Theatre, where artists Katherine Wheatley, Jeanine Noyes, Glenna Green and Laura Bird will be performing in a Songwriters’ Circle. They will be followed by Juno-Nominated artist Roxanne Potvin from Montreal. Potvin has just completed her latest album “Play” which is scheduled for release in April.

Organizers are also pleased to have the ever-popular Georgette Fry and her acclaimed choir Shout Sister appearing later in the evening. The day will wrap up with the “Ultimate Girl Group” party made up of the women artists from throughout the day, performing songs from some of their favourite female singers and songwriters, all on-stage with the house band.

Wristbands are $5.00/ea and will be available in advance from March 24 – April 2 at the Stonewater Pub and The Gananoque Inn. On the day of the event, wristbands can also be purchased at the Firehall Theatre. There will also be a silent auction and draws for prizes.

Last year’s fundraiser, a special women-only acoustic open mic event called “Toast and Jam” hosted by the Stonewater pub, raised over $3000 for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation – Ontario Region. This year, event organizers have increased their goal to $5000. The money raised by this year’s “Paint the Town PINK!” event will fund breast cancer research and community health initiatives in Ontario.

About the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation

As the leading national Volunteer-based organization dedicated to a future without breast cancer, the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation works collaboratively to fund, support and advocate for relevant and innovative breast cancer research; meaningful education and awareness programs; early diagnosis and effective treatment; and a positive quality of life for those living with breast cancer. For more information about the Foundation’s work in Ontario, visit www.cbcf.org/ontario.

About “About Paint the Town PINK!”

“Paint the Town PINK!” is an annual event that brings together musicians and residents of Gananoque, Ontario and the surrounding areas to come out and have fun while showing their support for breast cancer research. All proceeds from this event are being donated directly to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation – Ontario Region.

For more information, please contact:

Jeff Girling, Event Chair
613-382-2542 or kgirling@cogeco.ca

Vanessa Burnett, Assistant Coordinator, Media Relations
613-583-2065 or kevinhead_bookings@bell.net

SCHEDULE OF PERFORMANCES:

Stonewater Pub & Irish Eatery, 490 Stone Street South at Water Street, Gananoque
Noon – 2:00 pm Women-Only Open Mic hosted by Jenica Rayne
2:15 – 2:45 pm Troubadour
3:00 – 3:45 pm Sheila Burtch
4:00 – 4:45 pm Anna Robertson
5:00 – 5:45 pm Jenica Rayne and Lynne Hanson
8:00 – 11:00 pm Troubadour

Muskie Jakes@The Gananoque Inn, 550 Stone Street South, Gananoque
Noon – 12:45 pm Billissimo
1:00 – 1:45 pm Di and the D-Tones
2:00 – 2:45 pm Erica Bradley
3:00 – 3:45 pm Michelle Girouard
4:00 – 4:45 pm Michelle Kaz

Firehall Theatre, 1000 Islands Playhouse, 185 South Street, Gananoque
5:00 – 7:00 pm Songwriter’s Circle featuring Katherine Wheatley, Jeanine Noyes, Glenna Green and Laura Bird
7:00 – 8:00 pm Special Guest Artist: Roxanne Potvin
8:00 – 9:00 pm Georgette Fry and Shout Sister
9:00 – 11:00 pm “Ultimate Girl Band!!”

Some Artist Merch will be available – Cash Sales only