11 Questions to a Nashville Musician: Andy Peake

Andy PeakeThis 11 Questions is a return visit for Nashville drummer/percussionist Andy Peake. He last visited us as a member of the band Big Shoes, but now Andy has written a batch of songs and got together with some of his Music City pals to record his debut solo LP as a singer-songwriter. Biglittle Records will release “Mood Swings” this coming Friday, August 20.

Now not that Andy can’t sing ‘em, but after hearing his originals, I sure can see his wish of getting some songs covered by other artists coming true. If it was my thing to do, I’d be hustling both “Hip Replacement” and the title track, “Mood Swings,” up and down Music Row. Andy’s record is a fun listen and will remind you of the great 60s Roots and Blues bands. Be sure to check out his cover of Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released” on which John Cowan provides a guest vocal in a take that pays homage to the version by The Band.

Thanks to Andy for sharing this great record for me to tell you about. Oh, and by the way, this time out he mentions his daughter Maggie who has a new EP out under the name Emlyn. Last time round he told us about his son Drew’s band, Sonic Libido. The Peake’s are a musical family, and Dad has sure set the bar high with “Mood Swings.”

Where are you from originally, when did you move to Nashville and why?

I was born at Warner-Robins AFB, GA but moved several times until I wound up in a small town north of Kansas City, called Maryville, MO. I spent my high school years there and attended Northwest Missouri State University. After that, a year in Gainesville, FL (at the time of Tom Petty’s Mudcrutch band) and then I landed in Colorado during the 70s and early 80s. In 1987 I got a call to come to Nashville and play drums for Pop and Country artist, Nicolette Larson. Realizing all the professional opportunities, I sealed the deal and I’ve been here ever since.

What are the first and the last records you bought, and where did you buy them? Were they CD, vinyl or digital?

My first record purchase was “North to Alaska” by Johnny Horton, a song that accompanied a popular John Wayne movie of the same name. My most recent purchase was a download of an EP by artist, Emlyn, who just happens to be my daughter, real name Maggie Peake. She is a successful songwriter and rising star in world of pop music, living in West Hollywood.

First and last live concerts that you’ve seen?

The first concert I can remember was The Yardbirds in Tulsa, Both Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck were in the band at that time and Jeff Beck’s guitar amp was twice as big (and loud) as the PA. My most recent live concert was either Walter Trout or Tower of Power. I can’t remember for sure. There’s some Rock and Funk for you!

Whose star should be added to the Music City Walk of Fame?

Off the top of my head, I’d have to say, coming from my R&B flavored tastes, Jimmy Hall and Delbert McClinton would be at the top of my list.

Where do you go in Nashville for coffee and pizza?

The staff at Starbucks in Green Hills at Graybar and Hillsboro rocks! I personally love the pizza from Sicilian Pizza downtown and Lebanon Road. Great pizza and they stay open till 4am! Great for after gigs.

What’s your favorite record to ever come out of Nashville?

I love One of the Fortunate Few by Delbert McClinton, produced by Gary Nicholson. In addition to my drumming live for Delbert during that time, I love the songs, the production, and the drumming on the actual album (by Jim Keltner.)

Where’s the best place to eat late night after a show?

My favorite is definitely home although I mentioned above Sicilian Pizza being open till 4am. The Hermitage Cafe will always be the location where musical careers were created and/or destroyed after 1 am.

The Bluebird calls and asks you to host an “In the Round.” Pick three local songwriters to join you.

I’d probably shoot for John Hiatt, Gary Nicholson, and Tom Hambridge at this point in my life. Lots of great modern/classic Blues and Rhythm & Blues coming from those guys, plus I can’t help but think the sympatico between them would be great.

What are your favorite music venues to play in town?

The Ryman is understandably a remarkable room. I got to play drums in the original cast Always…Patsy Cline band three times, twice in the 1990s and once in 2003 (I think.) Repeated appearances in a really entertaining presentation. The staff was amazing and the vibe even more. 3rd and Lindsley is still a great room, set up well, great production values and a crowd that always is there for the music, not the bachelorette party. I used to love playing the Bluebird back in the 90’s with Gary Burr. The 5 Spot is cool, and Bourbon Street Blues is the best of the downtown venues IMHO.

Name a musician who you’d like to see move here.

Most of them already have. Michael McDonald, Steve Winwood, Keith Carlock. How about Donald Fagan? Yeah!

Finally, what’s in your musical future?

I am so excited about prepping myself to get out front of a band and perform the material off my new album. As a successful sideman for many years, I am ready to fall off the cliff to lead a band and hope that I glide to a landing. The reception for this album has already exceeded my expectations and I am loving the ride. Getting my songs cut by major artists, getting my music on a movie soundtrack, getting enough recognition as a songwriter to write with great writers, and just continue to stretch musically, and to surprise people who have known me primarily as a solid drummer. That’s some of my goals. Thanks for asking!

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