Andrew & Casey

Andrew CalhounAndrew Calhoun

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"Andrew Calhoun is a powerful songsmith, a quiet and sly performer, and fine traditional singer as well... fascinating and unpredictable."
-Phil Shapiro, Bound for Glory

Andrew Calhoun's music is innovative and rooted in tradition. In forty years as a performer he has evolved an increasingly varied repertoire including original songs, Irish and American folk songs, Scottish ballads, African-American spirituals, hymns, historical background, comic songs and poems and songs by writers such as Dave Carter, Mary Oliver and Robert Frost.

At age seven, Andrew memorized W. B. Yeats' "Song of Wandering Aengus," thus earning a nickel from his mother. He got his first guitar in 1967 at the age of ten, and began writing songs at twelve. By the late seventies, he was performing in the Chicago folk scene. Six months of janitorial work at the DAVEA Center in Addison, IL, funded a trip to Europe in 1977 leading him to hear Martin Carthy at the Cambridge Folk Festival in England, and Carthy along with Leonard Cohen have remained guiding musical inspirations. He has since toured internationally, performing at folk clubs and festivals, pubs and house concerts. In 1992, Calhoun founded Waterbug Records, an artists' cooperative folk label which has grown to 115 titles, bringing some of the brightest singer-songwriters and folk musicians to an international audience. His own recordings have been released on Hogeye, Flying Fish and Waterbug Records. Recent projects include a comedy book, The Trilogy Trilogy, and his twelfth recording, Living Room, a collection of original songs. Recently he has worked with Andrew Calhoun and Campground; the band Zozo; and in a duo and trio with daughter Casey Calhoun. In October 2012, Andrew was given the Lantern Bearer Award for twenty-five years of service to the folk arts in the Midwest by the Folk Alliance Regional Midwest.


"A wonderful songwriter and funny, warm performer." - The Daily Iowan

"Calhoun is a master at story songs, finely crafted works that swiftly and economically capture a moment or express an emotion. Like the best novelists, he is able to assume different personas and see the world through other people's eyes." - June Sawyers, Chicago Tribune

"He's blessed with a resonant baritone, crystalline fingerpicking, and a writer's ear." - The Oregonian

"Calhoun ...has made himself a welcome presence in local songwriter circles since relocating here from Chicago, where he founded and ran the Waterbug indie folk label. Bring your listening hat for his literate songs, some sober and some silly..." - Jeff Rosenberg, Willamette Week

"His songs are majestic in their imagery and endlessly challenging in their themes." - James Tarbox, St. Paul Pioneer Press-Dispatch

"...he goes an awfully long way toward overturning the prevalent image of folksingers trying to live in a past that never was." - Renaldo Migaldi, Chicago Reader

"...unbelievably powerful imagery." - Merlin David, Performing Songwriter

"Andrew's writing reminds me of impressionistic painting – an image here and there, a splash of color, light and shadow. His songs defy analysis; the impact of word and sound alone is enough to move me deeply. Andrew's music bypasses the mind and goes straight to the soul." - Lui Collins

"The greatest songwriter of his generation, mentionable in the same breath with Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, and Martin Carthy." - John McLaughlin, WESS

"He is a creative force in the songwriter movement, a dynamite guitarist, and a traditional song interpreter of great skill. His introductions to songs can keep you doubled up with laughter, his songs run the gamut of human experience and emotion." - Phil Cooper

"Andrew Calhoun tells the truth. To my knowledge, there is no better songwriter alive." - Dave Carter

"Andrew Calhoun's persistent pursuit of faith and beauty in the face of everything is the driving theme in his work. A demanding poet among lyricists, Calhoun delivers to standards that many songwriters barely know exist. Calhoun rejects pat answers, and the characters in his songs often follow a heroic journey of loneliness, misunderstanding, and harsh judgments that come with the territory for nearly anyone who has wanted more from life than can be found in the mill of consumerism that labors so hard to define and patrol the borders of "mainstream" American culture.

"Calhoun's music is a great companion for anyone who has ever ventured off the well-paved road to forge their own path in life. If you ever find yourself choosing art over commerce, conscience over conformity, or inner wealth over the kind that you can show off, you will know this man when you meet him. He will welcome you home."
- Brad Warren