3.5 stars out of 5
While Andy Sydow holds true to the sound of his Midwestern upbringing, it’s evident that his heart comes from the South. Sydow’s 2013 self-titled album peppers in a good deal of Americana, bluegrass and folk, though consistently returns to the deep attraction of New Orleans jazz piano and the Southern blues. Even “Mountain Town,” a façade of banjo- and mandolin-driven folk rock, subtly incorporates a jazz clarinet and the greatly satisfying staccato bursts of sousaphone. There is nothing subtle, however, a song later (“Whiskey Blues”) Sydow demonstrates his inclinations toward Fats and Dr. John on piano, followed by Armando Lopez on tenor sax. It isn’t until “Find Me Baby” that Lopez illustrates his incredible potential during an extraordinary saxophone-led jam to finish the song, surely taking a page from the live shows of Galactic or JJ Grey and Mofro. The Southern-influenced style that Sydow and his live band of extremely talented musicians bring to the table of Denver’s ever-growing music scene is something worth checking out.