"Right Where She Wants To Be: Durham Fiddler Andersens
New CD Garners National Attention"
Foster's Daily Democrat Showcase Magazine January 30, 2003 By John Nash
The bow gracefully slides back and forth along the taut strings of Joyce Andersens fiddle, creating a sound half haunting and half majestic, grabbing the listeners ears to take them on a four-plus minute ride of an intense blues music experience.The fact that the songs title is "Im Ready" and it appears as track No. 6 on her aptly titled new compact disc "Right Where I Should Be" is not lost on Andersen. At this point in her life, the one-time Durham resident, who now calls the oceanside town of York, Maine, home, is ready and right where she should be both professionally and personally.
"Im feeling it. Im feeling right where I should be," Andersen said. "In my life, Im settling down, but Im also moving forward. Im coming from a strong point of knowing where I am."
Andersen is slated to host a CD release concert for "Right
Where I Should Be" on Sunday at the Unitarian Church in Portsmouth. The
CD, which is garnering some national attention from public radio disc jockeys,
is Andersens second solo release, following up her "The Girl I Left
Behind" CD that she released in the fall of 2000.The concert, slated to
begin at 7 p.m., will showcase Andersens ability as a solo artist after
a career spent either playing as part of a band or as a side performer to others
on the stage."Ive been known as a side gal. Ive been known
to play with all these other people," Andersen said. "Its my
first big hometown show. Ive sang there before and its a beautiful
room, a very uplifting room. I feel this is my musical coming out party."
In a sense it is.While music has been a part of her life for as long as she can remember she ditched piano lessons at a young age to take violin lessons when she was 9 years old from Louise Wear of Durham the Joyce Andersen that will take the stage in Portsmouth is a far cry from the classically trained violinist of her youth.After graduating from the University of Vermont, majoring in psychology in 1990, Andersen returned to the Seacoast, spending many Friday nights taking part in Irish music sessions at The Press Room in Portsmouth. She learned some fiddle tunes, and met and became inspired by Harvey Reid, a nationally known folk guitarist, autoharp player and songwriter from the region.
"It was like being reborn," she said. "I just started
realizing the world had been hiding all this amazing music from me."
As she continued to grow musically, Andersen was also growing as a person, straying again from her childhood region to spend nearly a year busking in Europe. She returned to the states and enrolled at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, studying the fiddle.She moved to Nashville after her time at Berklee and did some touring with bands before moving to New York a move that would become a big step in her growing as a solo musician.
"Thats when I started singing and writing my own songs," Andersen said. "I was compelled to do it. When I got a guitar, it made me want to write songs. I had always liked singing, but I was never that confident. I took some lessons and my teacher helped me out of my own way. She helped me find a voice that was already there."
In addition to her writing and singing, she also played Carnegie
Hall with the McKrells and appeared on "Late Night with Conan OBrien"
when she played with Marshall Crenshaw. After a few years spent in and around
New York City, and some time playing in Sweden as a member of the fiddling group
Childs Play, Andersen returned to her roots and returned to the Seacoast,
where she had grown up in Durham with parents Ken and Barbara Andersen and two
brothers, Peter and David.
The move sparked the latest creative push in Andersens life."Coming
home has been very empowering for me as an artist," she said. "I started
playing again with Harvey Reid. Hes been very encouraging with my work
as a solo artist. It was a huge step for me, but I like being away from the
industry towns. Its big and distracting and you can get kind of lost."
Andersens relationship has also turned from professional to personal with
Reid, who is now her fiancé.
"Weve just connected," she said.They make beautiful
music together and she can make beautiful music alone.Shes playing all
over the East Coast and just returned from a West Coast swing, a three-shows-in-three-nights
quickie in California.
For Joyce Andersen, at this point in her life, shell take it all. After all, as her latest CD suggests, she really is right where she wants to be.