Andy McKee filled the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall with magical music last night. He walked onto the stage, introduced himself to the full house, picked up his guitar, and took the entire audience on a journey to somewhere mystical. For two hours there was only Andy McKee, relaxed and humorous, with his guitar and his talent in fingerstyle.
He opened with an original, Art of Motion, which was exactly that…the Art of Motion on a guitar. He covered Everybody Wants to Rule the World and the audience heard his guitar “sing” the lyrics. When Andy McKee started the cover of Toto’s Africa, you could hear and feel the drums coursing through you, backed by the sound of the tribes’ singing coming from his strings.
Watching Andy play, you see him close his eyes and immerse himself totally to the music he creates, swaying with the rhythm and creating facial expressions that convey his feelings, as he did when playing Rylynn, written in honor of a friend’s deceased daughter, Andy McKee has a softer, warmer, melodic side as well as exhibited during The Reason, written after the birth of his second son, which showcased an almost lullaby in the middle section surrounded by the activity of a toddler before and after.
For My Father was soft, lilting, light and somehow haunting and emotional.
Andy McKee then introduced the audience to the harp guitar, which is really two guitars joined together, a fretted six string guitar and a non-fretted six string bass guitar. The incredible Away and Into the Ocean are both originals written by Andy McKee and played on the harp guitar. If you close your eyes while he performs those two selections, you would believe there was an entire orchestra playing.
My personal favorite of the evening was Hunter’s Moon, a percussive explosion of finger work that reminded me of the classical flamenco guitarist, Carlos Montoya, as did Andy’s cover of Tight Trite Night (Don Ross).
Andy closed his set with Ebon Coast to a standing ovation from the totally enamored audience, whose non-stop applause brought him back to play Drifting as an encore.
Andy McKee is a consummate performer, talented in playing his chosen instrument, composing wonderful music, and in entertaining the audience with his humor and stories of his musical journey (such as playing with Prince in Australia for a summer). If you have not yet discovered Andy McKee, master guitarist, please take the time to listen to his music.