Andy and Renee provide a much needed connection with live music to their audiences, whether in an intimate House Concert or at a large festival. Their music never fails to move you..your feet, your heart, or, most often, both.
Artist: Andy Hill & Renee Safier
Title: Fuse32 (Andy Hill & Renee Safier)
You might like if you enjoy: Fleetwood Mac
Tell me more: Fixtures on the Southern California music scene, Andy Hill & Renee Safier, have just issued their 16th audio CD title, Fuse32. The talented duo's wide-ranging sonic spirit extends from uptempo classic rock-styled material to affecting ballads. It is the diversity of material, their wonderful voices (whether solo and or when harmonizing together) and their ability to tap into compelling songwriting traditions that make the album such a great listen. The riff rocker "Jack (Get Me Out of the Hole)," electronic-draped "It's Fine," Bob Dylan-worthy "Blood On The Tracks," the country tearjerker "I Fall Apart" (showcasing Safier's lovely soprano), opulent "Great Big Light" and ambitious roots rocker "Fuse32" are among the excellent songs on the album. Information: andyandrenee.com. Robert Kinsler
"Anytime that Andy Hill and Renee Safier make music together, it sounds great – whether it’s on one of their originals, or in one of a thousand Bob Dylan songs they do so beautifully in their annual Dylan festivals. This collection of songs are ones they have done live for years, according to their liner notes, but never recorded. “We have had a difficult time,” they wrote, “finding the courage to include them on collections in the past. We thought it best to make you suffer through them all at once.” So we get some very funny songs, including “Free Bird,” which isn’t that “Free Bird” but is a tribute of sorts to that song, remarkably. Songs written by Andy alone and also by Andy and Renee together, even when they’re joking, the thing is, it sounds great. Like when Dylan and The Band made up funny songs in the basement just to have fun and to make music, there is an infectious joy in these tracks like those ones – and also great musicianship throughout. This is produced by Andy and Renee with their good friend, the great Marty Rifkin, who plays astounding pedal steel – but also a lot of bass here – and with fine drumming by the always great John Hoke. So there’s not really a lot of suffering required when listening to this – this is a lot of fun – like a great show, with wonderful duets throughout. “A Habit That’s Goin’ Around” is especially delicious, with great rhymes that would have made Sammy Cahn proud: “He’s a slippery snake/an anaconda/On the make he’s fond of the double entendre…” You can tell all the involved had a lot of fun making this, and that fun comes across in each of these tracks. If you’re in the mood for a party with some fun and funny people – and one hell of a great band – put on KELP!." Paul Zolo, American Songwriter
Andy Hill and Renée Safier have made a name for themselves as masters of the Bob Dylan cover. The are the founding pair of Dylanfest in El Segundo, a full day of 50 or more musicians playing the beloved folk singer’s catalog. Those who know Dylan’s music well know that the artist can be as funny as he is prolific; for every “Blowin’ in the Wind” there is a “Talking Bear Mountain Picnic Massacre Blues.”
Andy and Renée, as they label themselves musically, share Dylan’s mix of gravity and levity. The two are very serious musicians with an impressive body of original work and a band, Hard Rain, that includes Marty Rifkin, who has played with Bruce Springsteen and Elton John. But they have a silly side, too, and it is on full display on their newest album, “Kelp!”
The album name and cover art parodies the Beatles’ iconic “Help!” with Hill and Safier in the roles of John, Paul, George and Ringo positioned in flag semaphore. The title track opens the album and it begins with a rocking minute and 20 seconds of nothing but electric guitar before drums kick in creating a sound reminiscent of George Thorogood. When Hill’s raspy rock voice enters the song, the opening lines are about as unexpected as any could be: She’s teasing her hair at the mirror/ She winks at herself once or twice/ Her reflection gets so much attention/ I’m a trout at the market on ice, followed by the chorus I’m nothing but a big piece of kelp on the beach.
In the album’s description on Andy and Renée’s website, the duo explains that this collection of songs have been fan favorites over the years at live performances but “we have had a difficult time finding the courage (some would say ‘had better judgement than’) to include them on collections in the past. We thought it best to make you suffer through them all at once.” Thus the nine-song joke album “Kelp!”
“A Habit That’s Goin’ Around” is a jazzy, finger-snappin’ piano tune with Safier’s sultry, smoky voice lamenting the puns of a comedian. In an affected Southern twang, Safier delivers a hilarious tale of a bar musician’s frustration at requests for Leonard Skynyrd songs in “Free Bird.” So finally Andy yells out in his Canadian drawl/ Now I know what you want but it’ll cost y’all…So they filled up that jar and our beer mugs, too/ And that tension kind of puckered like a bubblin’ stew.
“Kelp!” delivers nine original songs as expert in sound as they are ridiculous in conception. Musicians this talented that don’t take themselves too seriously are a refreshing find. As the liner notes reveal, some of the songs “were written under the influence of Gentleman Jack, and you may find that they sound better that way as well.” Sober or otherwise, “Kelp!” is a pleasure of a listen, and not just a guilty one. (Easy Reader)
Music is Love CSNY Tribute CD
"I think my personal favorite on this one was a version of a song I’ve always liked called “Thrasher,” from Neil’s Rust Never Sleeps Album. I was surprised to see it on a tribute CD since it has some odd connotations that only the true fans know about, but it was incredibly cool, performed by Andy Hill and Renee Safier with a little rockabilly flair and a 12 string guitar just as on the original." Steve Levine, The Shrewsbury Lantern
Many Miles To Go
“I came to you like a parachute/And landed all around your world,” sings Renee Safier on the lovely “Kids These Days,” written by Andy Hill. Produced by Hill & Safier with the great Marty Rifkin, this is an album of tremendous power and passion. Both Andy & Renee are strong songwriters, but with styles vastly different, so marrying their songs brings a great range to their music. Even when he writes one, he sometimes has Renee sing it, as on the wonderful “Kids,” a sad and beautiful reflection of life’s brisk passage. Multi-instrumentalist Rifkin brings the great pedal-steel he’s played with Springsteen to these tracks, as well as beautiful layers of lap steel, slide, dobro and bass. But Andy Hill is no slouch in the instrumental world, playing inspired piano, organ, and acoustic and electric guitars. The album comprises all their originals, except one exceptional exception, Robbie Robertson’s glorious “It Makes No Difference,” which they deliver together with much purity and passion, and fidelity to the Band’s great earthy vocal sound and even Garth Hudson’s big church organ (played by Hill) and celebratory sax (by Nelson Rangell). John Hoke delivers crisp drums on most songs, though Tim Fillman is on “It Makes No Difference.” “The Fallen Man” is a remarkable contemplation of suicide and mortality set to a great Peter Gabriel-like groove layered lovingly by Hill’s heartfelt keyboard work. Long beloved for their great annual tributes to the songs and spirit of Bob Dylan, Andy & Renee remind us that to connect with a genius as intimately as they have with Bob requires a lot of emotional depth, which glows in all these tracks. If you’ve enjoyed their shows over the years but haven’t had the chance to absorb their own songs, here’s your chance. This is a beautiful collection of songs by musicians who knows a lot about what makes songs great. – Paul Zollo bluerailroad.com
"Midnight Tea is a unique piece of modern Americana with few equals, nor is it likely any will arise soon."
A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange by Mark Tucker
A River Is Gone
"…It's an excellently written album as Andy Hill is rapidly becoming a songwriter to watch… Another wonderful effort... Renee has never sounded better vocally. Highly recommended!"
It Takes A Lot To Laugh
"...Safier's voice oft drips with an aching sensitivity filtered through delicate beauty and a fragility that would break and disappear in less capable hands...Hill's cuts drenched in prairie sod, the workingman's lament, and a salt-of-the-earth sprechestimme..So what about Marty Rifkin? Jesus, but this guy knows the depths of his art and instruments dead cold, nailing colorative and side-lead aspe's highly reminiscent of Red Rhodes. He cuts in witheringly arresting lines, fills, and incidentals. His dobro playing is heavenly and that pedal steel...
A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange by Mark Tucker
5 out of 5 stars Impressive.
You'll have to go on-line (www.andyandrenee.com) to pick this one up, but if you're admirer of the songwriting skills of Bob Dylan (i.e., if you're alive and not deaf), then this tribute from the SoCal folkies Andy Hill and Renee Safier is worth the effort. Drawing on a wide chronological range of the Dylan songbook, Hill and Safier, accompanied by Marty Rifkin on bass, guitar and various slide variations, offer 14 straightforward interpretations. Their selection of material is impeccable and impressive, frequently departing from the obvious in order to include the excellent. Their ten years as a performing duo, and five previous albums largely devoted to Hill's songwriting, contribute to a fine intuitive sense of arrangement, with their voices weaving and blending in just the right ways in all the right spots. The duo has been throwing Bob Dylan birthday parties for as long as they've been singing together, inviting all comers to arrive in costume and join in the music. They may have trouble getting the sing-a-long going next year, because any guest who has heard this disc is likely to want to just sit back and hear more excellent interpretations from this talented pair. Reviewer: Shaun Dale
"…Tributes like this can often sound forced or strained, like the artists are reaching for something they can't attain. Hill and Safier are extremely comfortable with these songs, and so the pieces roll off like old friends. Which, of course, they are."
5 out of 5 stars Best Dylan tribute album I've heard in a long time.
I was really happy to find this CD. [After purchasing a few others that were disappointing from other artists.] Each year around the anniversary of Dylan's birthday I take my Dylan CDs including Dylan cover songs to a local public radio station and play them. It's an early program [6 to 8AM] but I enjoy doing it. This is one CD I hope to play at least 3 songs from this year. Reviewer: Steve Sevek [producer of CD: Thinking About Bob Dylan][May 20, 2006 - WJFF in Jeffersonville, NY]
Commentary on Andy & Renee's version of "Emotionally Yours": http://www.informzoo.com/main/cat/21/393
5 out of 5 stars They got it right! ... A must have CD
Rarely have I heard two quality musicians with such beautiful voices. Of all the Bob Dylan Tributes, this one ranks on top. It's relatively easy to play Bob, but to play Bob WELL, that's another story! They got it right, It's a must have CD. Don' t hesitate, you'll listen to it, over and over. Reviewer: Claude Julien
5 out of 5 stars A Must Have!
Ever notice some major acts will once in a while put out an album of favorite songs of other folks. Cover tunes they are called and its a quick and cheap way to throw some product out there while the artist records some new songs. Some are fun (Huey Lewis) and some are a terrible mistake (i.e. Shawn Colvin's Cover Girl). But once in a great while you strike gold and get an album that actually improves on the original and this effort by L.A. based duo Andy and Renee is solid gold. They have been big Bob Dylan fans and decided to put out a CD with some of Bob's classic tunes and its a beauty. For one thing, you can hear (finally) what the hell Dylan has been mumbling about and second of all, Renee Safier brings out the very essence of what is being said. The music is spare but it only helps showcase the very talented Hill/Safier harmonies. This album has 14 Dylan songs, including "Simple Twist of Fate","A Hard Rain's A Gonna Fall". This is a must have..... Reviewer: Michael Sullivan
Fourteenth Of February
"…absolutely stunning vocal work."
"…twelve vocally rich tracks of varying styles… stunning album… warm, powerful and sensitive"
They All Laughed
"…Safier has a vocal gift from heaven, with her sensual smooth (yet delightfully rough at times) tone and artistic line direction in her performances… her own sultry.. sexy.. voice - the type of voice that could not only melt a heart, but perhaps the entire polar ice cap… the ample instrumental talents of Bob Malone, who's comping and touch on the pearlies is a compliment to Renee's interpretations…"