LONG a fixture in Savannah’s music scene, singer-guitarist Andrew Gill and I met a few years ago at Jerry’s Lounge, the Southside dive where I sing karaoke every week.
He blew the bar away and I wondered, “Who is that guy?” Could that be the same musician who amazed me at the Isle of Hope Music Festival?
When he returned a few weeks later, I asked him. The answer was yes. And the stage was set for a podcast interview and performance.
Now, for local music lovers, the fact that I didn’t know him, at that time, as Andrew Gill “formerly of Wormsloew” should tell you how much I know, or knew, “the scene.”
Wormsloew, a local jam-rock-alternative powerhouse for years, opened for Eddie Money, Widespread Panic, Marshall Tucker Band and others. They were hot. Until they were not.
“It’s hard to keep a band together,” Gill says. “I think that’s the hardest thing in music.” He gets wistful about those times. He was in late teens, early 20’s then. Who wouldn’t?
“It opened so many doors,” he says of being managed by MBM Entertainment, the guys behind the band Jupiter Coyote. “We got to do so many things, travel the country.”
He still plays with Wormsloew’s Joe Wilson. But these days, his new musical life includes playing solo, duo or with old school country band Junkyard Angel.
“I was very busy last year so I’m just kind of taking some time off,” he says of his current schedule. “There’s a record in the works, an EP coming. I just got to wrap that up, too.”
I saw him recently at Tubby’s Thunderbolt, where he was playing the brunch set with Jim Marshall. He’ll play a pre-St. Patrick’s Day gig with Junkyard Angel at Driftaway Cafe.
Warehouse, Jazz’d, Wild Wing. A gigging musician since age 15, he’s played just about every bar here. But it’s River Street’s former Live Wire that he loved the most.
“I really enjoyed that run,” he says. “A place where musicians would go to hang out and perform. On any given night when you’re performing, there’s 10-15 musicians in there.”
His voice is rich and emotive, his stage presence easy and his songwriting lyrical and deep. Where do his ideas come from? “Most of my stuff comes to me driving,” Gill says.
“I can’t even write it down, so I just use voice notes.” The product of that work, when he’s by himself, comes across as a breezy country.
He writes about doors opening and closing, hanging on, letting go and falling in love.
He cites Y2K artists Shawn Mullins and Edwin McCain among his influences. “Most of the songs I play are at least 10 years old,” he says. “It still feels like 2001 to me.”
I’d say his solo stuff is tender. Perhaps that’s just the nature of being onstage by yourself, playing original songs with a guitar. But when he’s with others, he can rock it and jam it. He can cover it in silly tourist roses or put it wherever that bad boy needs to be to keep a foothold in music, a grind of a business.
“It becomes a job at some point,” he says.
“But it’s still the best job that you can have.” Credit the Savannah native, a self-described “river rat,” for staying creative and finding new fans after being “formerly.”
Being “formerly” myself, I know it’s not easy. But like he says... still the best.