aka Captain AWOL
Andrew's time in Nashville afforded him the opportunity to work with some of the best players and writers in the industry. His first CD, 1998's Anything Can Happen, featured rock/country session players like Luis Espaillat (bass), Kory Knipp (drums), Dan Serafini (keys/organ), Erik Halbig (guitar), Steven Byrom (keys/organ), and Abby Burke (vocals). His follow up untitled recordings in 2000 included work from Grammy nominated drummer/producer/engineer Mark Niemiec, bassist Jim Lightman, guitarist Alan Powell, and continued support from Serafini, Espaillat and others, which can be found on his EP Andrew Walen: 1998-2000.
His current release, Talk to Me, features Niemiec and Espaillat, as well as keyboardist Chris Tuttle, guitarist Nathan Meckel, and backing vocals courtesy of Minnie Murphy and Ronnie Kimball. Andrew and Mark co-produced the EP with vocal arrangement and production from Serafini. Recorded at Watershed Studios near Nashville, this three song EP demonstrates a maturing song craft and vocal style for Andrew.
"Talk to Me," the title track, was inspired by his clients struggling with depression, anxiety, and self-harm. In addition, it's written for those he's loved and lost to depression and suicide.
"Every Time" had a circuitous route to this recording. Originally penned with Niemiec as a dance-pop single for an artist they hoped to work with in 2000, the song languished until 2015 when they decided to record new music together. Wanting to reflect a darker and edgier side of life, Andrew rewrote the lyric from the perspective of a man who is so obsessed with his lover he can't bare to see her leave him. The subtle metaphor of a murder/suicide story is masked by the sexuality of the track. Listen close to the lyrics.
"Wonderland" was a co-write with hit songwriters Arnie Roman and Tanya Leah, who also happen to be family members. Originally written as a country song to pitch to Rascal Flatts in 2004, the song also sat for over a decade before Andrew reconfigured it to be a darker, more pop-edged number. Easily the most crafted of the songs due to the incredible lyrical power of Roman and Leah, it's been a live hit when Andrew performs it.