Watch current interviews with music and entertainment icons and influencers of the baby boomer generation as well as rising stars in music.

Posted October, 2010

AT8True story:  Back in April of this year, as I have done for most of the last six years, I attended the Dallas International Guitar Festival.  It’s three days of wheeling and dealing on guitars and gear as well as seeing some incredibly talented guitarist showing their stuff on a six string.

This year was a little different.  A dear friend of mine from Arkansas came down to the show, bringing his teenage son with him for some quality father/son time.  On the last day of the festival, we were standing in the main all of Dallas Market Hall, having a conversation about who-knows-what when we found ourselves stopping in mid-sentence, listening to the most incredible music that either of us had heard in an incredibly long time.

We looked at each other and said almost simultaneously, “Who is that and where s it coming from?”  Almost cartoon-like, it felt as though we were levitating off the floor and drifting to the back hall area of the main hall.  We floated to the entrance and stopped to look at the artist roster. It was there that the incredible music we heard was the incomparable Andy Timmons, closing his set with Cry For You. The three of us boys became instant Timmons fans and I knew that I had to chat with this man.

After a brief chat after his set, we played e-mail tag for a few months until we could line up a date and time to meet up.  Yeah, meet up because Mr. Timmons lives in the Dallas area as do I. There was no way (if I could help it) that I was going to let the interview be by phone.

We met at an area seafood restaurant that was conveniently located for both of us and proceeded to chat like we had known each other forever. I noticed right away that Andy’s demeanor is consistent with friend and fan alike.  I’ve observed him show the same graciousness towards admiring fans (including this dopey writer) as he did toward the likes of fellow rockers like Ted Nugent.

After we made some small talk while ordering our lunch, I mentioned that I saw Andy chat with Nugent at the festival.  I was pleasantly surprised at the story Timmons shared about the story behind how he came to know the Motor City Mad Man.

“ I’ve had a lot of good experiences with Ted.  I was a big fan. Some of the first tunes I learned were from that first (self titled) Nugent record. Stranglehold, Storm Troopin’ and Just What The Doctor Ordered, those were the songs I played in my first band. So, he figured largely in my guitar education.

“Then years later I got a chance to do a gig with him. There was a guy, Gary Sitton, out in Abilene, Texas, - he’s a roofing contractor and he’s a big guitar fan and he had been bringing Ted out to big concert events because they were big hunting buddies as well. But he was also bringing guys in like Chris Duarte.

A buddy of Gary’s had seen me play. I used to play every Wednesday night at a club called the Blue Cat Blues with my band, The Pawn Kings, which was a pseudo blues band. We called ourselves a blues band but we did everything from Hendrix, to my original stuff, to old blues tunes, some Booker T. – that kind of thing. We had a great Hammond B3 organ player by the name of Tommy Young.

“Long story-short, this guy calls his buddy, Gary, and says, ‘Hey, there’s this guy in Dallas that you’ve got to bring to Abilene.’ So, he got in contact and brought me out for a show. He let me know that during that show, he was going to video tape it and send it to Ted. I thought, ‘Okay, that’s kinda cool” because Ted’s a big hero of mine.

“So, just joking around, I go into Stranglehold. We had never rehearsed it but the guys, they were in so we played the tune. I guess we did a pretty good job of it. He (Sitton) sent the tape to Ted and he’s like, ‘Yeah, I’ve heard a thousand guys try to play Stranglehold and nobody plays it right. You tell Andy if he can play that song right, he’s got a date.’

“So, long story short, Gary sends him to tape and he (Ted) said, ‘Tell Andy we’ve got a date!’ That was kind of a cool nod from Ted. Then, maybe a year later that same guy put together a big guitar festival and it had Ted, Chris Duarte and my band. We got to play together and jammed with them at the end of the night. So that was kind of cool.

“He came back to Texas later that year, playing with Bad Company – kind of a co-headline – I went out there. He’s going into a song and he says, “I want to do a blues tune because Texas has got so many great blues guitar players – Billy Gibbons, Stevie Ray and Andy Timmons.” I about fell over! I was kind of embarrassed. I’m not in that league. But it was really cool. He’s a really sweet guy.

“I saw him at the guitar show, too. That was a great show because for him to be back with Derek St. Holmes and Rob Grange.  That’s the first time they’ve played together in 34 years! I don’t know if you realize that. The huge fan that I am, and was, it was pretty magical to hear that voice and that guitar – it was really great.”

“It was clear to me Derek Saint Holmes had rehearsed because there was a drummer that Ted hadn’t played with. That was the first time that drummer had ever played that music with Ted. The bass player and the guitar player – that was like an old fit. They were from the original band.  That drummer did a phenomenal job.  You can tell, having been in that position many times, you could tell how he was really watching everybody, he had done his homework. It was clear that Derek had probably rehearsed with him, cluing him in on things.

“Ted was free-forming. He didn’t have a plan about what songs were going to happen – kind of making it up as he went. It was actually Derek who would say, ‘Hey, how about, Hey Baby?’ And Ted’s like, ‘Yeah, let’s do that one! The record version.” That was there rehearsal.  It was a thrill. I thought it was great!”

With our conversation pretty much unstructured, I mentioned in passing about my recent meeting with Dallas radio legend and XM Satellite Radio pioneer, Redbeard, and that we chatted about Andy for a bit.  A grateful, humble smile crosses Timmons’ face as he responds.

“ Such a good guy. He’s been such a good supporter of me and my career since day one. I will never forget the day that he called me up. I just released my first CD called ear X-tacy. I had run into him at a show in Deep Ellum – it had to be in 1995 – I was playing in another band called Tin Man that he had come to check out. There was still a lot of label buzz about this band. We had done some recording so I said, ‘By the way, Redbeard, I’ve got my new record I just put out. If you get a chance check it out.’

“ I get a call from him the next week from his office on a Tuesday morning. His was in the office with some other record promoter and he said, ‘Hey, Andy, I just wanted to let you know I’m adding your song, Carpe Diem, from ear X-tacy to our regular rotation on Q102.’ 

“This is an independent, local artist with no promotional budget whatsoever and I just happened to hand it to the guy and he liked it! He said, ‘You know what? This sounds as good as Joe Satriani’s stuff to me. I like this a lot.’ He played it a lot! It helped us have a great foundation built here in the area.”

When I comment that he would likely not have that kind of break in radio today, Andy concurs enthusiastically.

“Nearly impossible! Back then, it wasn’t much more possible, though. But the programmers did have a lot more leeway. Each market could have a ‘personality’, so to speak, which is nearly impossible now. But I’ll never forget that. I’ll be forever thankful that he took it in his heart and enjoyed at face value. ‘This is what it is. I like this.’ He’s such a good dude. I’m so glad our paths have crossed.”

For a man who has such immense talent, my research on Andy indicated that he has not followed the usual path that musicians of his rare bread typically pursue.  I asked him how he would describe how he has managed his career and what is it that he wants to accomplish.  The ease in which he offers up his answer and the expression on his face as he explained his career philosophy, indicated that his words reflected his heart and the core of his being.

AT6“For me, it’s about having balance of family and career. That becomes the most difficult thing – especially since the birth of my son six years ago. I’ve really made an effort not to be gone too much. As a musician my entire life, I was always concerned about what was going to happen when I have a child someday. So much of your career as an artist is traveling, touring, promoting so that was always in the back of my mind: what if?

“Obviously, since Alex (his son) has come along, the decisions I make are based on how this will affect my family. Will I be gone for too long?  I generally try not to be gone for more than two weeks at a time. Most of the situations that I’m working in, most of the people are aware of that and understand that.  I’ll go tour Europe and I’ll keep under two weeks. I’ll just probably go twice a year instead of doing it all at once. It’s actually financially beneficial to do it all at once. There are less flights, but, again, maybe someday Alex will be able to go with me on some of these trips. That would be fun, too.

“But, for now, it’s like I don’t want to wake up 15 years from now and say, ‘Man, I wish I had been there for my son. That’s the most important thing. You’re faced with decisions: ‘Okay, this might be financially beneficial.’ I’ve turned down a couple of major tours. I can’t really mention what they were, I just had to make that decision. ‘Okay, that might be good for my career or for money purposes but I just can’t because of the family. I just don’t feel right about it.’

“I’m really blessed that the way I’m handling it is really working. I’m still getting out there. The internet has been an amazing thing because the world is at your door step. People, more and more, have been finding out about me without a huge label or budget. It’s happening all on the merit of the music. That’s the most gratifying thing.

“Yeah, to be famous is one thing. I never started playing music to be famous. It never entered my mind. I just love music so much. I love guitar so much. I just wanted to do it. I did it out of that passion out of the genuine love of it. Obviously, I realized that I had to start making a living doing this, if it’s all I’m going to do. And it is all I’ve ever done. ‘I’ve got to figure out what I’m going to do.’

“I figured out pretty quickly that making it in a rock band is like winning the lottery. It’s such a long shot. I was in a really great band back in Indiana. I moved from Scottsdale, Arizona, to Evansville, Indiana, when I was five. So, I grew up from five to 18 or 19 and then moved to Miami for college. But I figured out once while reading Guitar Player magazine that there are guys like Larry Carlton and Tommy Tedesco making a living as a studio musician playing other styles and playing on other peoples records. I thought, ‘Man! That seems like the key for me.’

“But I also realized at that point – I was self taught - I started when I was 5 years old. I thought, ‘These guys know how to read music. They can play any style. So I actually sought out a local guitar teacher in Evansville. I was hearing about this guy. His name was Ron Pritchett. He was known to be a great jazz guitar player but he was the best guitar teacher in that whole tri-state area. So, it took me about a week to get the nerve to call him. I was so shy about it. I thought, ‘Wow! This is the guy.’ But I finally called him up. It took a couple of months to get a slot. He started me off on lesson one. Notes on the treble string. I was fifteen or sixteen and was already playing pretty well, playing since 8th grade in cover bands.”

“By ear is definitely the best way. For a musician, it’s our most valuable asset. It’s great to be able to read music but once you internalize it through your ears, you learn it differently. I think it stores in the brain differently. So, when it comes time to make your own music, you’ve got a healthy intuition. It helps you tune in to what’s happening around you musically – not just focusing on your part but really knowing when to play and not to play and what to play in relation to what’s happening musically.

“So, that was the epiphany. I need to learn about all styles of music. I was fortunate in that I just loved anything on the guitar. I wanted to know how to do it. I’d hear a country tune – Wow! The jazz stuff drove me crazy. How do these guys know what notes to play on all these crazy chords? Ron saw that I had the ability. He’d give me these simple lessons and, then, at the end of the lesson, he’d start playing Barney Kessel, Joe Pass, Oscar Peterson – the jazz pianist. So, he started broadening my ears with that and give me the chord changes to a standard like Satin Doll and Misty. He had written a chord book so I’d take the chord book and so I would find the chord that I would learn to play all these voicings. I would play for him the next week. I would play my little reading exercise and then I would back him up while he was playing these tunes.

“That set me on the course. My thirst for knowledge increased tremendously. So, two years of that. I continued to do that my first two years of college. I went to school in Evansville, Indiana. I kept Mom happy by staying in school. The local university – the University of Evansville, offered a classical guitar program. I said, ‘Well, I know nothing about classical guitar but, great! It’s a guitar – I’m going to learn!’ I started going to the library and checking out Segovia and Julian Bream records. I just wanted to get it in my ear.

“So, I got a nylon string guitar. My audition to get in, I had a Les Paul. It was a cream colored, maple neck Electra Les Paul copy. I didn’t know any classical so I learned a bastardized version of Mood For A Day by Steve Howe on a Yes record. It kinda sounded classical.” Timmons says with a laugh. “So I’m playing it on this electric guitar. They let me in on merit because they could see that I could play but ‘okay, we have a lot of work to do!’

“So, I was still in my rock and roll band – The Taylor Bay Band. I was playing three or four nights a week gigging. I was still taking my jazz lessons. I’m in music school taking classical guitar. So, this really set me up for the future, basically, by being able to do so many different things.

“My third and fourth year of college, I transferred to the University of Miami. I was really more into modern music. The classical was great experience but I had been hearing about the University of Miami because Steve Morse and the Dregs had played there. Pat Matheny had been there. So, this was the place I needed to be. I couldn’t afford to go down there and audition so I made a cassette tape. I got the help of a local buddy of mine on keyboards. It was a cheap demo. I sent it down there and got in.

“So, the two years there were, by far, the two biggest years of musical growth because of the level of players that were there. I was definitely a rock player. I was learning about jazz but there were guys there that were every bit as good as Jim Hall or Larry Carlton. These guys were amazing players. It was kind of sink or swim. Luckily, I was encouraged and not discouraged. Some people get in that position and go, ‘Oh, man!’ and slink back home with their tail between their legs. It just inspired me. That was the beauty of it because we just inspired each other. Everybody had their strong points. It was never competitive and that was what was so amazing because later in life I’ve been in situations where it can be very competitive. But it was a very open bunch of guys who were all equally talented but just in different ways. I got as much from that as I did the faculty and curriculum. It was so valuable.”

With the conversation coming back around full circle, I asked Andy just exactly how does he support his family.

“It’s not that I don’t tour. I do. I’ll be out for the next two weeks for Mesa Boogie doing a clinic tour.  I select when I go and how long I go. I go back to Japan in February for a couple of weeks. I got Olivia Newton-John who has some show in Japan also in November.”

“So, between that and recording work here locally – I produce things for people. I record on other peoples’ sessions. I can record at my home and send it out. Of course, there’s sales of my merchandise that kind of keeps the whole business rolling. It could be better but, at the same time, it keeps getting better. I’m pretty amazed at how the music keeps getting out there and generating more fans.”

Andy then shared with me some insight into an incredible album that he has coming out in the near future.  I won’t tell you about it now but I’ll give you a hint: Think “Beatles”.  That’s all I’m going to say.

With all out chat about the Beatles, it led me to share with Timmons my belief that any new music that is worth listening to has, as its foundation, the sound of the 60’s and 70’s. I wasn’t at all surprised by his response.

“I’m the same way. There are occasionally some modern, recent songs that I connect with – not that many – but I continually go back and always get inspiration and great vibe from that era of music. Absolutely!

Referring again to his upcoming album that I’m not going to tell you about, “I’m excited to see what the potential and possibilities are. So, in that case, maybe I go out and tour a little bit more. We’ll see. Again, I just want to balance it in the right way.”

“Simultaneously, I was working on those Beatles arrangements but I was also working on a lot of new material for the next Andy Timmons Band original recordings.  That material’s being worked on, too. So, I’ve got the Beatles thing out first and then, sometime later, maybe in 2011, release the next record - get the momentum going.”

I asked if that album was going to be a live album.

“We did a live DVD. When we released the Resolution CD, we played at the Granada the day that it came out. We played the whole record start to finish.  We recorded the show in video and we eventually put it out as a live DVD. That’s only available on my website right now. There’s no other distribution – just”

You can’t talk about great guitarist in the state of Texas without mentioning the late Stevie Ray Vaughan, who died 20 years ago. I shared with him my story about attending Vaughan’s funeral.

“I was there, too!  I remember it being a really hot day. Me and my friend, Sylvia, went, all dressed in black. It was such an emotional thing.  When Nile Rodgers delivered his speech and played that track, oh man!” Finishing his thoughts about Vaughan, Andy stares off as he says, “It’s hard to believe.  It seems like forever but, then again, it doesn’t.”

Turning the conversation to album sales, I asked if what I heard about sales going well was true. He replies with obvious and well deserved pride.

“It is! There’s a lot being distributed illegally, too.  That’s the blessing and the curse of the internet. There’s no doubt about it – it’s done so much for players out there that don’t have a label behind them. Even though I’m with Favored Nations – Steve Vai’s label – there’s not a lot of promotional budget. But will gravitate towards it or stumble across it accidentally in regards to another artist that they like that spurs them on. There are certainly a lot of people that know how to download it illegally if they want to get it. That’s an unfortunate byproduct. There are still a lot people that know the value of actually supporting the artists. Those people are still out there that have a conscience and know the value of that. If the artist can’t afford to spend the time and money to make these recordings, there won’t be any more music of the quality that they’re hoping to see.”

Our subject of discussion naturally segued into the state of the music business.  I asked if there was much in the way of label support for artist.

“It was that way at one point. If there was a major label artist, even though it was their money being spent – they might not have been totally aware of that – but, yeah, there was bigger budgets but there was a lot of excess all through the industry and it finally collapsed upon itself. That’s what’s happening now. It’s a much more grass roots approach and everybody is really responsible for every penny and that’s a good thing.”

When I shared with Andy some of the insights of rock icon, Tommy James, he chimes in that, “It’s obviously fascinating to me. I’d be curious to see what kind of ideas they come up with. But there’s this feeling that the cat’s out of the bag. It’s just running rampant and is out of control. But, again, there will be less quality if people don’t really realize that they need to support those artists. But  I think that there a lot of artists that support that – the free downloading – ‘maybe people will listen to it and then come to the show and maybe buy a t-shirt.  Once you get to a certain level with people coming out, yeah.  When I tour, we do pretty well. I won’t be retiring next year by any stretch but it’s great.

Where are Timmons’ hottest fan spots are, he indicated that they Asia and parts of Europe, especially Italy.  I asked Andy if that was, in part, due to his work with Danger Danger.

 “My foot was in the door in Asia because of Danger Danger. But the following I have now is purely on the merit of what I’ve done post those days. But in Europe, it’s most definitely more on the musician side that I do. I’m constantly blown away by how many people still really like that band (Danger Danger) and still revere that music. They were a great bunch of guys and I think that what we eventually did was really great.”

Timmons continued to share his reflections on his experience with Danger, Danger.

 “There was some problems with the label. Epic admitted, ‘We kind of messed up on your record. We learned what not to do with you.’ They really said that!  Firehouse was also on the same label and they broke really big right after that. ‘We learned what not to do with you with Firehouse.’ Thanks, y’all.

“But, honestly, those days, Randy, that really geared me towards how I was going to run my career from those days, on. One thing I always point out as being when the light bulb went off in my head: We were up at Epic records and we were having a meeting with some of the A&R people and the vice president of the label. They’re promising, ‘We’re going to promote you guys and get you on the road!’ Blah, blah, blah.

“Meanwile, somebody comes in – one of the secretaries – to ask this question of this person that is having the meeting with us. ‘Oh, I wanted to ask you about this particular band.’ I won’t mention the band’s name. “I wanted to ask you about . . .” and he (the vice president) says, ‘Don’t worry about those guys.’

“I knew right then that that bands career came to a screeching halt because this one person said, ‘You know? Don’t worry about this band.’ Again, a naïve kid growing up in Indiana that just wanted to play music and be treated fairly because I was a good person, I’m in the middle of this going, ‘What am I in the middle of here?’

“We recorded our third record for Epic that was going to be called Cockroach. This was around the time Seattle and Rap were taking over. We finished the record and turned it in to the label. They were ecstatic – loved it.   But, then, the styles were changing. They’re like, ‘We’re going to put it off.’ Finally, we were told, ‘We’re not going to release the album.’

“So, we had this third record and we realized that it’s not going to come out. At that point, it’s considered that you’ve been dropped by the label. We’re like, ‘Okay, we can continue on and see if we can get the rights to the masters back so that we can release it on our own.’

“Well, they came up with some astronomical figure – hundreds of thousands of dollars – because that’s how much debt the band was in. The musician was so far down the totem pole, it’s just mind numbing. Anyway, long story short, they made it impossible for the band to get the masters back at that time.

“There was the second part of my education. I never want to be in the position where I don’t own my own work. Why would anybody want to put themselves in that position?  Musicians since the 40’s and 50’s will sign anything. ‘I just want to create my art. I just want to get my music out there. Who cares?’  The Beatles fell victim to it, too. They signed horrible deals because Brian Epstein didn’t know any better. I am never going to be in that position again.

“So, I came back to Texas. I had been recording the tracks that ended up on ear X-tacy for several years already. I said, ‘I’m just going to press some copies’ which is where Redbeard comes into play. I didn’t send it to any labels. I was pretty jaded at that point. I just didn’t care about that end of it anymore. Also, I had been in a band that had been chasing the tail of the industry. “We need someone like ‘this’ because that’s a hit’ or ‘we need someone like that’. I didn’t want any of that. I just wanted to make the music that was in my heart because I wasn’t doing that at that time.

“I was having a good time. Don’t get me wrong. I was enjoying being that team player.  We played some great shows. We opened for KISS on a couple of tours. We did a whole tour with Alice during his Trash tour in the 1990. All legends and idols that I learned from. No regrets in that way. Anytime I made a decision in the music business based on money or business, it’s always been the wrong decision. If I don’t follow my heart, something’s not right. Everything since those days has been very much about that. I’ve got to really follow that voice so things tend to go really well.”

One of the things that voice helped Timmons decide was aligning himself with Steve Vai’s record label, Favored Nations Entertainment. I expressed my thoughts as to how huge that was.  In a voice that reveals the sense of wonderment of it all, he tells the story of what led up to joining Favored Nations.

“He’s been another huge supporter. For him to want me on his record label?  I didn’t approach him, he came to me.  G3 was coming to town and they played in Fort Worth – John Petrucci, Satriani and Vai. He (Steve Vai) invited me out and I go out there and play. That night Steve said, ‘I’m forming this label and here’s how I’m going to run it. What do you think?’

We further discussed the genius of Steve Vai. It was then that Andy says this about the guitar legend: “He’s really one of the sharpest people I’ve ever met. He’s a really down to earth guy but both sides of the brain are firing heavily”, he says with a laugh. “He’s got a great balance going on. He was the first guy that, as a label, made sense to me. He split things equally with the artists after all of the budgets grosses and stuff. A publicist would be hired and they take out some ads here and there. Not a huge budget but, again, you’re sharing the load and the responsibility.

Despite having played with an impressive list of artists, I asked Andy who he hasn’t worked or jammed with that he would like to.

Before I could even finish the question, Andy enthusiastically injects, “Paul McCartney! No hesitation. No thought process. Ding!  Either he or Ringo would be a dream come true. To do anything at all with them.  Otherwise, Pat Metheny is a guy that I’m a huge admirer of. I have played a couple of times with Eric Johnson. I’d like to play some more with him. Mike Stern is another guy I’ve known over the years. We’ve played together a few times but it would be nice to collaborate with him on something.  Gosh! (Larry) Carlton, Robben Ford, there are so many great players. But, of course, Paul and Ringo would be at the top of the list, hands down!”

What would be your dream gig?                                                                                

“Paul would be it. What’s ironic is the guitarist in his band, Brian Ray, from a distance, the first time I saw Paul with his band in the early 2000’s, we were watching the show and I looked at my wife and said, ‘Does that look kind of like me up there?’ and she said, ‘Yeah, it does!’ Which kind of hurt a little bit because I wished that I was up there!  Ha! Ha!

“I’ve got to meet those guys. Not Paul but Brian and the other guitar player, Rusty (Anderson). Really, really great guys. In case somebody gets sick, I’m it. Call me!”  he says with a chuckle.

Wrapping up our discussion about the Fab Four, I asked Timmons if he ever had the chance to meet Ringo Starr.  Just like a kid meeting his favorite super hero, Andy shares a his story of when he met the famous drummer.

“I finally got to meet him one of the last times he was in Dallas. That was a tough one to arrange. I knew people in the band and on the crew. I understand it because of me working with Olivia, everybody is always trying to get to her and you’re kind of a line of defense. You don’t want to bug this person that you work with and love dearly. So, I also know better than to bug someone in order to meet someone.  I won’t go into the whole story as to how it happened. It was a very brief meeting but it was fantastic. I’ve got a great picture of it!”

I wondered if Andy had a project that he would like to do but was hesitant because of questionable marketability?

“I think that there will be a variety of different kinds of things from me in the future. I would love to do a jazz album. I would like to do some mellower music. I won’t use the term ‘easy listening’ but I think that by the nature of the electric guitar and the way that I play it, there are a lot of high intensity moments on my records. And that’s not necessarily the cup of tea of some of the average listeners or people who are into less notes. But, I think that there’s a huge amount of room to grow as far as the guitar as an expressive instrument. Jeff Beck’s new record is, by far, his best record, in my opinion. It’s kind of like – he’s got to the place where I want to be. He’s 20 or 30 years ahead of me. He’s playing much simpler but every note is so gorgeous and has so much impact behind it. That’s where I want to be.”

“There might be some acoustic moments. Not necessarily quieter but certain ways that it’s delivered and a certain beauty to the whole thing. There are actually things along those lines on my other record of original material coming out. Growing up as an artist in the 80’s, there was so much emphasis on the electric guitar player to be fast.  There was Yngwie (Malmsteen), then Eddie (Van Halen) and then (Joe) Satriani came along. It was fun – the athletic, acrobatic ability. But I’ve always tried to utilize it in a way that it made musical sense – as a device and not as a side show or circus act. There may be those moments in my tunes but, hopefully, they’re balanced by some great melody and a time of passionate direction behind the notes. But I could see it going a lot further in the opposite direction and less about that type of ability. I always liken it to painting a picture. If you play fast all the time, it’s like having a red painting, it’s going to be boring. I like painting with a lot of different colors. I’m taking things much further in that direction. A much simpler approach. I think it would be great – really great.

“This is a horrible analogy but Kenny G’s music connected for a reason. It was a very simple approach. It was hated by a lot of people, as well. But I think there could be music made that would straddle the balance beam of the musician side of it and what the general listening audience would be into and still impact emotionally on both sides of the fence.”

I asked if his The Prayer/The Answer was an example of what he was talking about.

“The intro to that song is certainly in the direction I’m talking about. Some of it has some substance and spirituality.”

I asked Timmons what he listens to when he’s not working.

“It’s the sixties and seventies.  In my car I have XM so I either have Deep Tracks, which Red Beard used to be a part of. Oh my god! The Tom Petty Show and The Bob Dylan Show!  Have you heard those? Ah!  They’re so entertaining! They play the coolest stuff and their witty asides in between the tunes are great! Tom’s demeanor is just so cool and laid back. There was one day where Bob Dylan – he has themes. So the theme that day was ‘I’m Walkin’. Every song that day had to have walking in the title or was about walking. So, at the very end, he recites my favorite poem of all time, The Road Less Travelled by Robert Frost.  He’s reciting this poem with music in the background.  I’m driving down the road and I’m tearing up! It was the coolest thing I had ever heard. It had such power to hear a guy like that recite those words. It was magical.”

After our lunch, I was thinking about the whole conversation that we had.  Yes, I am in awe of Andy Timmons’ talent.  Yes, I would love to meet some of the people that he crosses paths with.  Yes, I’m looking forward to many more years of music from this man.

However, what impressed me more than anything else is that Andy Timmons puts his family first.  If more of us were to do exactly that, the world would be a much better place to live.  And, that, my friends, is truly magical.

You can keep up with all the Andy Timmons happenings by checking out his website, www.  While you’re there, avail yourself to Andy’s incredible work.  Or, if you don’t want to wait, click on the images to the right and order them now. Believe me when I say that they will provide you with countless hours of listening pleasure.