221117ind Andrew Potter

When Jamestown artist Andrew Potter suddenly found himself with a blank schedule due to the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, he decided to take advantage of his newfound time off to record a variety of tracks that would ultimately lead to the release of his new album “I Haunt My Own House.”

With any artistic endeavor, there’s a creative journey that’s being taken. This journey rarely runs in a straight and narrow way; there are often wide turns, zig zags and obstacles to overcome. The journey of Jamestown based musician Andrew Potter is an intriguing one due to what he incorporates with a very organic approach. Numerous styles such as folk, country, jazz and blues get intertwined with all sorts of stories being told through his poetic lyrics. This is evident in his new album “I Haunt My Own House” which was released November 3.

The album is a few decades in the making and it’s a product of collaboration with his longtime friend and fellow artist Wheeler Cole. Jack Gauthier over at Lakewest Recording in West Greenwich handled the engineering and mixing while John Mailloux did the mastering at Bongo Beach Productions in Westport, Massachusetts and both Potter and Cole took on the production and arranging duties.

“Right after our new songs were written, COVID hit, and it canceled all my gigs, so I decided to take the project into the studio and record with a bunch of players,” Potter says about the making of this album. “I laid down all my solo tracks first with guitar, vocals and a little mandolin. I then brought in a rhythm section featuring Joe Potenza on bass and John Cote on drums. I was pleased with the results and I ventured to add more players to round out my sound. I had met most of the other musicians at gigs and one by one I found roles for them based on their work and my songs.”

“It kept working, so I kept going,” he adds. “It was a coup getting Duke Robillard on board, whom I had not met, but I felt his work would be a perfect match for my blues number ‘Lunchbox’. I had the same kind of matchups with Steve DeConti, Mark Cutler, Keith Munslow, Pam Murray, Joe Parillo, Marty Ballou and Torrin Ryan. I refer to the title track as an ode to warding off regret. Some of the songs reflect a certain ominousness and existentialism that I feel about the world and our country today. Some of the music was written over the last 45 years and turned into songs with the collaboration of Mr. Cole.”

Musically there’s an acoustic foundation that’s consistent throughout the album. As mentioned earlier, what makes this record a true listening experience is the variety of styles that are weaved together. Some songs have a jump blues vibe while others have jazzy chords along with poignancy from the words being sung. The amount of collaboration happening within the tracks brings forth a variety of different elements to the senses as well. That’s what I like about this album and I think anyone who plugs in and presses play will feel a similar way.

Along with the title track and “Lunchbox”, there are plenty of other songs that shine within. With a tone that’s a mix of upbeat and tongue-in-cheek, “You Might As Well Dance” has DeConti’s mandolin massively making its presence felt. There’s something about “An Unconventional Life” that sounds like it’s straight from the ‘20s and it’s probably Murray’s excellence on the trombone. “Tip Toe Tango” echoes hints of bluegrass but at a slow tempo, which makes for a fairly serene listening experience. Ballou joins up with Potter on bass for “The Ace Of Diamonds” for a bluesy number while creating a stellar musical dynamic.

The art of songwriting is done pristinely within the album and anyone who appreciates it is sure to enjoy listening to Potter’s latest release. There’s a certain authenticity within the songs,which is a rarity these days, and its quality deserves praise. If you’re the type who likes to stream and download rather than hold on to a physical CD, log on to andrewpotter.bandcamp.com to check out the new album. To keep tabs on what Potter has going on in the future, log on to his website at andrewpottermusic.com.

Rob Duguay is a Rhode Island-based music writer. Send him email at rob.c.duguay@gmail.com.

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