In 2018, Andy Sydow was playing with his band at the Zoo Bar in Lincoln, Nebraska, when his drummer's kit malfunctioned. Snarky Puppy happened to be playing at the Lincoln Center that night, and after the show, the bandmates popped by the Zoo Bar to unwind. Several members of Snarky Puppy jumped on stage to attempt to fix the drum kit, with no luck. They started playing the drums to help keep the song going. This memory is one that Sydow will remember fondly, he says, and he looks forward to creating more memories on future tours.
In recent weeks, Sydow has been on the road, around the country, on his Dirty 30 Baseball tour, promoting his new EP, Time Stands Between, and celebrating his thirtieth birthday. He's an accomplished multi-instrumentalist whose lyrics are driven by poetic realism. Over the years, he's opened for Chuck Prophet, Brett Dennen and Anders Osborne.
His three-track EP — which includes some of his favorite songs he's written — blends Americana and folk rock. Each track symbolizes the “bases of life.”
“'Alibi' I first wrote several years ago,” Sydow explains. “I opened for Tab Benoit one night at the Gothic Theatre, and it was sold out. And then the next night I was playing at a steakhouse. I've always had these weekly gigs playing piano.... I was playing at this steakhouse, and just nobody was listening. Nobody wanted to hear anything. They wanted me to turn down the music. And it was like a crazy ego check, being in my early twenties.”
The result was the track “Alibi,” what he describes as "first base" on the new EP. The soulful song speaks to some of the musician's struggles in 2015. The track placed as a finalist this year at the Kerrville Grassy Hill Festival. The song was also a finalist in the International Songwriting Competition in 2020, as well as at the Durango Songwriters Expo.
Second base on the EP, “Just Want You to Notice Me Again,” is a tune about craving attention from somebody who was no longer giving him attention. The track was a semi-finalist in the 2020 International Songwriting Competition.
“When It Ends,” at third base, has been a work in progress for five years and was another award winner at the Kerrville Grassy Hill New Folk Songwriting Competition Festival. The track speaks about death and how one should make the most out of life, as well as the insignificance of it.
“I have that happen a lot of times with songs, where I start them and play them live a bunch of times but it just doesn't quite fit," Sydow explains, "so I'll put it away and rework it. I finally finished [“When it Ends”] about a year ago."
Touring primarily with his band, he'll wrap up his Dirty 30 Baseball tour in Denver at Dazzle on September 22. Unlike on previous tours, Sydow has been performing solo, something he has looked forward to throughout his musical career.
“This is my first time going out solo,” Sydow remarks. “I don't have to worry about anyone else but myself. When you go on tour with the band and you have a day off, two guys might want to go to the coffee shop, one guy wants to go drink beer, one guy wants to lay around in the van. I don't have that on this trip; I just get to do whatever I want.”
When he was a child, Sydow’s father would take both him and his brother around the country to see baseball games. The three of them would pile into their truck and hit the road for a couple of weeks, touring the nation and visiting a number of stadiums.
“I've always loved baseball and going to games,” Sydow says. “It's almost like a romantic thing from my childhood. It's something I did as a kid. I've seen a game at all Major League Baseball parks.”
With a total of seventeen shows and six baseball games, Sydow wanted to celebrate his thirtieth birthday in a fresh way. Especially since he was not going to get to be around his family, he figured it would be fitting to celebrate this way.
“So this will be my first time back on the road since everything shut down,” Sydow says. “I gig around Denver all the time, but this is going to be the first time back actually touring, and I couldn't be more excited for what’s to come.”