Andy Griggs has seen plenty of changes in the country scene since he first debuted, back when kings like Waylon and Johnny still walked among us and "idols" were just little gold statues. Turning heads with his unmistakably soulful and Southern-as-molasses sound, he quickly topped the charts with hits like "You Wont Ever Be Lonely" and "Ill Go Crazy." And he weathered some down times, too, when things just didnt quite connect. But while the music business and its infinite changes continued to swirl around him through the years, one thing never changed: his belief in the power of a phenomenal song. And on his brand new Montage Music Group album, he has assembled a collection of what he believes are some of the absolute, best songs of his career.
"I believe in gut feeling. I dont believe in over-thinking things," explains Andy, about his unwavering approach to making music. "If it hits your heart and soul, then its a winner. And Ive always approached it the same way. You pick a direction and a style, and whether youre writing the song or someone down the street is, its always about the song. Does the song fit you in your heart and soul? Are you willing to marry that song for the rest of your life? Ill never forget; thats one of the things Waylon always said to me. He said, Son, when you record a song, you better get ready to sing it for the rest of your life, and if youre not ready to do that, what are you doing wasting your time and everyone elses recording it?"
From the sound of his debut project on his new label, Montage Music Group, Andy was more than willing and ready to make that trip down the musical aisle one more time. And why not? Hits like "Shes More," and "You Wont Ever Be Lonely" have cemented his reputation as a true song interpreter and won him fans far and wide. To him, its those loyal fans and the time he gets to spend onstage with them that matter more than anything else he does.
"Even before I landed the new record deal with Montage, we never missed a beat as far as getting out on the road and continuing to play the small towns and big cities, picking our guitar strings and smiling for the fans," says Andy. "I guess I can say thats what I love most about music: being out in front of the crowds singing for them. If thats not your biggest reward as a singer, I think youre in the wrong business!"
Arriving in Nashville with guitar in hand in 1994, Andy quickly made a name for himself on the country scene. Signing with RCA, he recorded his debut album You Wont Ever Be Lonely and racked up two top 10 hits with the title tune "Ill Go Crazy." Soon after, his single "Shes More" became his third consecutive top 10. The album also included a duet with one of his heroes, Waylon Jennings, called, "Shine on Me," as well as a scorching rendition of Rodney Crowells "Aint Livin Long Like This." You Wont Ever Be Lonely was certified Gold in 2000.
Andy followed his debut success with two more solid efforts Freedom and This I Gotta See before electing to change things up in 2005. Starting from scratch after a decade recording for RCA Nashville proved to be both liberating and a little bit scary for Andy. However, he knew he had one specific goal in mind that was not negotiable: creative freedom. Knowing how rare and valuable that can be in an artists career, he was willing to wait for it, no matter how long it took. Fortunately, fate stepped in and offered Andy what hed always been craving.
"I wanted to sign with someone who was going to let me record the music I wanted to make. Ive always felt Ive been there about 70 percent, and gotten 70- percent accomplished, but not quite a hundred, musically. I think its the nature of the business. With a large label there are a whole lot more strings attached with everything you do. Making the change to Montage gave me the freedom to have more control over my music."