Americana Musician Andy Sydow Headlines His Favorite Denver Venue | Westword

Americana Musician Andy Sydow Headlines His Favorite Denver Venue

Americana musician Andy Sydow headlines the Bluebird Theater on June 2 to celebrate his new EP, "Little Crown."
Americana musician Andy Sydow.
Americana musician Andy Sydow. Courtesy of Andy Sydow
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When Americana musician Andy Sydow was ten, blues guitarist Buddy Guy handed him his Sweet Tea guitar pick and beckoned the young guitarist on stage. Sydow played Guy's polka-dotted Stratocaster, and even though his guitar skills weren't quite up to the challenge — "I realized years later he must have been in an open tuning, because I actually sounded great," he says — he still marks it as one of the defining moments of his musical life.

Sydow began writing music in high school and majored in jazz piano at the University of Colorado Denver. In college, he joined band after band and released his first album, Andy Sydow, shortly after graduating in 2013. Since then, his sound has completely evolved, morphing into an intricate blend of funk and folk with rock infusions and storied lyrics that draw inspiration from such greats as Bob Dylan and Jackie Greene.

If he
could advise his younger, 2013 self, Sydow would say: "You should try to sound exactly like your influences. Through going down so many deep rabbit holes of artists that I found and loved, and my own life experiences, all those things put together I feel like has recently helped me find my own sound that really is Andy. ... I can't say that it's totally rock or totally folk or totally country — it's just a melting pot of things I love."

In 2019, after releasing four albums, Sydow experimented with producing his own music. "I made a couple of EPs that I produced myself, and then people just started asking me [to produce their music]," he says. One of his first clients was The Voice's Lauren Frihauf, who took piano lessons with Sydow several years ago.

But his latest EP, Little Crown, which released May 26, isn't one of Sydow's self-produced projects. He worked with Denver's Color Red Music, a label he says has a vintage sound. "You're recording in a basement studio live, it's analog...and then they put it into Pro Tools and you overdub vocals and stuff," he says. "But because of that, there's this cool vintage undertone under the whole EP that I absolutely love."

Last summer Sydow and his band (Olivia Shaw on fiddle and vocals, Connor Terrones on bass and vocals, Alec Wenzel on guitar and vocals, and Calvin Davis on drums) brought the four songs they felt most confident about into the studio: "Keep on Driving," "Little Crown," "Cause for Concern" and "I'm Running Away."

"'I'm Running Away' is a fictional story about a playwright who has a day job in Florida and dreams of running to Hollywood and making it as a writer, but he never actually goes," Sydow explains. "I didn't realize it at the time, but there's a little bit of a theme running through some of the tracks."

That theme, of hitting the road and accepting change and growth, echoes the insecurities that Sydow has struggled with. He and his wife are facing an impending move to Nashville, and the life shift has impacted his work.

"When I listen to [the songs] back to back, it feels like a road trip, and hope for something," he says. "Feeling like a fresh start or just wanting to get away for a minute. I think there is a feeling of hope and progress with life and whatever you're hoping to get out of it, and also a sense of appreciation for where you're at."

Sydow is looking forward to exploring a new music community in Nashville. But first, he's wrapping up his time in the Mile High City with a couple more shows, including his celebratory Little Crown headliner debut at his favorite venue, the Bluebird Theater, on Friday, June 2.

Sydow first went to the Bluebird Theater he was in high school to see Jackie Greene. "I watched him walk out on stage, and I remember what he was wearing and some of the songs he played, and I just stood up front and took in this whole thing," he says. "I remember thinking, 'Man, what if I got to play here someday? What if that was me?'"

The Andy Sydow Band, 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 2, Bluebird Theater, 3317 East Colfax Avenue; tickets are $20.
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