ANDY WOOD - “Caught Between The Truth and a Lie” Interview

ANDY WOOD is known for being the lead guitarist for Scott Stapp (founding frontman of CREED), and for winning first place in the Guitarmagedon competition when he was 22 years old. In 2014, he published one of the best guitar albums of the year. His 24-track (acoustic/electric) double album entitled “Caught Between The Truth and a Lie” is a mind-blowing Tour de Force, which shows ANDY WOOD not only as an outstanding guitarist, but also as an accomplished composer. GuitarMania wanted to learn more about the recording process for the new album, his influences, and what it takes to succeed as a professional musician.


US American guitarist ANDY WOOD released one of our favourite albums of last year: “Caught Between The Truth and a Lie” is an inspired mix of different musical styles, ranging from fierce instrumental compositions, to virtuoso mandolin music, and mind-blowing bluegrass licks.

Andy, thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. Can you please tell us about the cover and the album’s title?



It's just a random train yard my graphics guy found. Actually, the wood around the edge is a knot hole in a tree to represent "the truth" the train station is inverted with a galaxy on the floor to represent an alternate universe inverted which echoes "a lie" because one doesn't see too many crazy gravitationally impaired train yards when they look into tree knot holes.



 The CD boasts 24 tracks. How long did it take you to write and record the songs for the record?



This project took about a year to complete with writing and recording taking place between tours and gigs.



 Who is singing on “Time” or “Dust and Ashes”?


 Time features vocalist Keith Wallen, dust and ashes features Dave Kennedy.

 
What other musicians were involved in the creation of the record?


So many great players involved with this project, Travis Toy, Brian Arrowood, Scott Vestal, Chris Robbins, Lester Estelle, Clint Mullican, Julieus Blue, Andy Campbell, Daniel Kimbro.

 
Why did you decide to split the album into an “acoustic” CD, and a “plugged” version?

 
The album was split into halves due to the sheer volume of tunes, I also thought an acoustic side and an electric side would make the album more cohesive than from jumping back and forth between songs.

 

 We particularly liked your adaption of LED ZEPPELIN’s „Fool in the Rain“. Can you please tell us about how you got the idea for this particular arrangement?

 
The “Fool In The Rain” cover was spawned from wanting to pay tribute to my favorite rock band, the mighty Led Zeppelin. I thought it might be cooler and less obvious to take that song and re arrange it for an acoustic instrumental version, versus an instrumentally identical cover of the tune.

 


 

You are an accomplished rock guitarist, while at the same time being an amazing bluegrass player. Can you please tell us about your influences, and how you developed your chops?

 
I grew up playing bluegrass and still consider myself as mandolinist first, guitarist second. My influences included Bela Fleck, Sam Bush, Tony Rice, Eric Johnson, Brent Mason, Guthrie Govan, John Pertucci, Steve Morse, Albert Lee, and the list goes on and on haha!

 

When you were 22 years old, you won the Guitarmagedon competition. How did you prepare yourself for this event? How important was winning the competition for your career as a musician?

 

Well winning competitions aren't, and never have been "important" in the traditional sense, what is important is at those events meeting other great players with different backgrounds and growing as a community and learning from each other. I didn't do anything special to prepare, just practice a lot.

 

Do you think such a competition is a good means to assess the artistic potential of an artist?

Absolutely not.

 
What made you pick up a guitar in the first place, and how old were you?

 
Brent Mason’s solo on the Mark O’Connor tune "Pick It Apart" that solo made me want to play electric guitar. I was roughly 16/17 at the time.

 

Check out Andrew Fore's photography at www.andrewfore.com



How did you develop your chops? Did you have a teacher that had a particularly important influence on your style, and your development as a musician?


I grew up playing music under the tutelage of my grandfather, Paul Birchfield, I didn't put an emphasis on learning"chops". I just developed a better technique by learning songs that demanded that technique. Like most other musicians, I just tried to sound like my heroes and steal what I could by rewinding the recordings and trying to ear it out.

 
What are your three favorite records of all time?

 

That's an impossible question!! Haha I'll try. LED ZEPPELIN's “Physical Graffiti”, VAN HALEN’s “1984”, and Mark O’ Connor and the new Nashville cats.

 

What would you say is the most important skill one should learn/know/practice/etc. when playing the guitar?



Just enjoy it, love it, and pour all you got into it every time you play!

 
Let us briefly turn to your equipment. Can you please talk about the guitars and amps that you play?

 

Guitars are pretty much always Suhr's, they are an American boutique company. My main being a custom built prototype 24 fret Tele style guitar. Amps include, Diezel KSR, vintage Fenders and Marshall's and the Fractal Axe FX.

 

We would be interested to hear your views on the state of the music scene in the United States? How easy/difficult is it at the moment to make a living as a professional musician and session artist? What are the skills people are looking for?

 
As far as making money in the music biz? Right now it's borderline impossible!! With people stealing music it's crippled career musicians, people just expect free music and that's sad. As far as skills in the session field, it really boils down to having great ears and being able to take direction and follow instructions, after all the producer and artist know exactly what they want to hear, your job is to execute it.

 

If you were to give one piece of advice to young aspiring musicians, what advice would that be?


Go play live! Play with other musicians, not just tracks. Interacting with other live players is the core of creating something magical!

 

Thank you very much for your time. We hope to seeing you on European stages soon, and wish you all the best for your future!

Thank you!!

 

Check out Andrew Fore's photography at www.andrewfore.com


For our review of “Caught Between The Truth and a Lie” (in German language) please refer here

 



Fore more information about ANDY WOOD please refer to:

TWITTER: @Awoodshreds

WEBSITE: AndyWoodMusic.com

YOUTUBE: http://youtu.be/6ai4VJUMyeA?list=UULa-1xUQNaNmQA4dcGs3XBA