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Adam Andrews - Road To Ambo
ROAD TO AMBO
Adam Andrews creates solo piano music that focuses on bringing healing and inspiration to his listeners. He says his debut album, Road to Ambo, was inspired by “my family’s journey to adopt our son from Ambo in Ethiopia; the love I have for my family; and my dreams of justice and relief for those who are suffering.”
Before making original solo piano instrumental music his priority, Andrews was a member of folk-pop group Cede which released four albums, actively toured North America (and as far away as Bulgaria), and performed regularly in front of audiences of 5,000-to-7,000 people.
More information on Adam Andrews is available at his website adamandrewsmusic(dotcom. His CD and digital download tracks from that recording are available at online sales sites such as CDbaby, Amazon, iTunes and many others.
“I think everyone has suffered at one time or another,” states Andrews, “which is why healing and inspiration are so important, and why I focus on making those feelings and goals a part of my music. Not only do we want to heal our physical and psychic wounds, but we all need to find better ways to live. We need inspiration to seek out healing, to find new paths, to create a better lifestyle and to find meaningful relationships. I hope my music will not only sooth and heal, but offer encouragement to the listener to make positive changes, to grow mentally and spiritually, and become stronger.”
The album title, Road to Ambo, and the tune with the same name, reflect the ordeal Andrews and his family went through to adopt Kellen, an orphan in Africa. “It was hard on us and on Kellen too,” says Andrews, “because our son was grieving one family before being with another, and as my family waited we had to endure lengthy approval processes, paperwork trails, and extensive travel before bringing our son home.”
According to Andrews, “Some of the music on this album was written during a dark time in my life, and the songs became a place of refuge and peace for me. The other half of the album was composed as my heart healed, my soul felt gladness and joy, and I found myself in a much more positive place.”
The tune “Unknown Hero” honors Andrews’ favorite kind of hero, “those who give selflessly without any hope of return or even acknowledgement. Their kindness can change other lives forever.” The slow and thoughtful “Hope and Joy” had its genesis when Andrews sat watching his daughters, nicknamed Miss Hope and Miss Joy, playing on the floor and laughing (“I felt a sense of peace in who they were becoming.”). “We Are Brothers” is reflective of Andrews’ love for a close family member struggling with mental illness.
“You Were There” is a love song for Andrews’ wife, Rachel (“I had to let her know how much I appreciate her love and support all these years.”). “Faces We See” promotes compassion for everyone “whether it is an orphan in Africa, a widow, the homeless guy on the street, a person crying in the market, anyone in need.” “Smoky Hill” is an analogy for depression blanketing our view of life “until the smoke clears and through perseverance we can see the beauty of the world again.” “Upside Down Church” is “a reflection on needs not being met by the church, but optimism that it can change and right itself.”
Andrews says, “The title for ‘New Normal’ came from my wife and I using that catch-phrase to describe our lives whenever we go through a harsh strain of bad luck and realize it is going to take extra effort to pull through.” Andrews describes “The Well Within” as “that place inside your heart that you draw from when you need courage and strength, which I needed to step out and make this album.” The album closes with the light and buoyant tune “Breathe” with both hands playing counter-melodies. “Breathing exercises are one of the keys to meditation, prayer and relaxation, and paying attention to my breath and learning to live in the moment are some of the tools I have used over the years in coping with anxiety and depression.”
Andrews, who now lives in Colorado Springs, grew up in Denver, Colorado, with a mother who studied music in college and often sang to him when he was a small child. At age seven he began taking classical piano lessons from two progressive teachers that encouraged students to compose their own pieces for recital performances; included jazz, boogie-woogie and improvisation in the curriculum; and even jammed with their students. Adam studied Vivaldi, Scarlatti, Chopin, Beethoven and Tchaikovsky. Adam memorized Joseph Haydn’s “Concerto in C-Major” at age ten and the following year did the same with Haydn’s “Concerto in D-Major” which he performed in the high school auditorium in front of a large crowd.
During high school his interest in classical music waned as he became involved in playing sports and listening to rock’n’roll (U2, Tom Petty, Def Leppard, Nirvana, Joe Satriani). Andrews graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration, but soon began to play the piano more actively again. He founded the band Cede with a singer and two acoustic guitarists and later they added a bass player and drummer. At first they played contemporary Christian worship music, but soon began composing their own material. Their popularity performing for youth groups led to them being hired for a lengthy tour of parent-teen conferences in large churches, auditoriums and arenas all over the country plus trips to Canada. In five years the band recorded and released four successful folk-pop Christian-music albums of original material -- The Roots, Surrender, To You and Carried Away. Andrews composed approximately a fourth of the band’s material, and on the last album he wrote and performed two solo piano tunes. The group performed at conferences headlined by Michael W. Smith; played in a Denver sports arena on the same bill with Steven Curtis Chapman and Delirious; opened other shows for Waterdeep and Cindy Morgan; and handled the music for a praise-and-worship service where they performed with Mitch McVicker. Cede also performed in front of a large audience at the Alamo Dome stadium in Texas, and in Bulgaria where they were televised nationally.
After leaving Cede, Andrews continued composing and occasionally performing for church services, worship groups and conferences. He also established a successful career as a Senior Director at a major non-profit ministry where he contributed to the launch of an orphan care ministry and helped shape international ministries to families. For years many people asked if Andrews would ever record a solo piano album. One of the catalysts was his parents giving him the family piano he had grown up playing. With the piano accessible in his own home, Andrews found himself composing lots of new material that found its way onto his debut solo album. Andrews says he has been influenced musically in recent years by pop groups such as U2, Mumford & Sons and Needtobreathe as well as new age solo pianists such as Jim Brickman, Ludovico Einaudi and others.
“I have had problems, stressful times and mental anxiety in my life just like anyone else,” Andrews explains. “But I have always found playing piano music to be very therapeutic for me. When other people heard me play and said they also found the music to be soothing, healing, relaxing or inspirational, I realized I need to share it more fully with others. These tunes represent some of my stories, but I feel sure the emotions behind the music are universal and can be felt and appreciated by everyone.”