For ex-everybodyfield Andrews, everything is still OK

by Ryan Snyder

For ex-everybodyfield Andrews, everything is still OK

No one ever said that the life of a new working mother is an easy one. Amidst all the inopportune diaper-changing and on-demand feedings, there has to be time for songwriting, tour scheduling, band meetings and just a few moments to simply get better at your instrument. Well, this might not be the life of every working mother. This is Jill Andrews, one-half of the now-defunct folk darlings the everybodyfields as she carves out a solo career on her own merit.

So much has changed for her in the past year alone that the blustery success of the everybodyfields must seem like a lifetime ago. Along with the band breaking up, she got married and gave birth to a baby boy, Mico, in roughly the same stretch. When compared to her old band’s days opening for the Avett Brothers, putting out critically-acclaimed albums and being on every music blog’s list as the sleeper act to catch at the next major music festival, this is tantamount to a brand new beginning for Andrews. Though she played the periodic solo gig in the past, it was everybodyfields co-founder Quinn who encouraged her to take up the guitar in the beginning and who was there collaborating much of the way.

“It does feel like I’m starting over and I’m okay with that,” said Andrews. “I’m really grounded and I know I have a whole lot of work head of me.”

Like all great musical break-ups, the everybodyfields ended with a certain degree of tumult. As Andrews and Quinn’s personal relationship wore down, so too did the momentum of the band itself. Their creative partnership, however, went out like a supernova, producing one of the most tragically beautiful albums in years with 2007’s Nothing is OK. This particular ending was more Uncle Tupelo than it was Pogues, however, as both Andrews and Quinn have shown great promise in their individual careers. While Sam Quinn Japan Ten carries on the same forlorn immediacy that defined the everybodyfields toward their end, Andrews’ first musical offering is empathetic, pointed and giving, with those close to her at the very center. One song in particular off of her forthcoming solo EP Off Topic, entitled “A Way Out,” was written to help one of her friends overcome a drug addiction.

“I’m always kind of the encourager in these songs and that’s me in reality as well,” said Andrews. “I’m a person who’s very, very aware of others feelings all the time. I can’t get away from it even if I try.”

No radical changes are afoot for Andrews in her new career, however, and she says that her solo work is just a natural progression of her voice in the everybodyfields. The new band is a five-piece combo built for the array of more rocking tunes that Andrews hinted at in a recent phone interview, but also for her classic country-folk sound. She also brought along keyboardist Josh Oliver from the everybodyfields for the new project, but that’s not to say that she intends to maintain the same frantic schedule that she once did. Gone are the days of hitting the road for weeks at a time and doing 250 shows a year, at least for now. Her tour schedule involves short, regionalized jaunts, as it’s no longer her and her bandmates packed into a tour van, but her husband and baby Mico as well. For the sake of her new entourage, she intends to keep it close for a while.

“In the past I kind of toured haphazardly. I was touring for income and I don’t want to do that anymore,” said Andrews. “You need time at home to have a life with your friends and family and also you need time to write and play your instrument well.”

Jill Andrews will perform with her new band at the Garage on Thursday.

I’m a person who’s very, very aware of others feelings all the time. I can’t get away from it even if I try